Welcome to my place ... Vermont
‘The four seasons are so distinct here. Fall is rightfully famous’
Cecilia Redmond and her husband James Byrne with their son Ronan in Vermont
Cecilia Redmond and her husband James Byrne are both from Wexford and moved to Vermont after spending six years in London. James is a professor at St Michael’s College and Cecilia is an interior designer with her own business. Their son Ronan, 12, was born in Vermont. He considers himself Irish-American with the emphasis on the Irish, his mother says.
What do you like about living in Vermont?
The four seasons are so distinct here. Fall is rightfully famous - you’ve never seen such colours and all the vineyards and apple orchards hold harvest festivals where you can enjoy the fruits of the season. In winter, it is a snowy wonderland. We get lots of snow each season and skiing and skating are hugely popular. I’m not a good skier, but I love to snow-shoe with my dog on the trails around the city. We get a hot New England summer, which means fun on Lake Champlain. The city has beaches and bike paths along the shoreline and hiking in the nearby Green Mountains is a favourite day out. I do miss the spring in Ireland, as it lasts so much longer than here - we don’t see daffodils until May and then we get tipped straight into summer in June.
Where is the first place you bring people to when they visit Burlington?
It all depends on the season. In summer, to the waterfront on Lake Champlain, it is buzzing with cyclists and walkers on the bike path. There are boats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to rent at the Community Boathouse and waterside restaurants and brew-pubs to refresh you after your exertions. In Fall, a foliage drive over Smuggler’s Notch into the Green Mountains is always memorable, stopping off at a vineyard or brew-pub for some local beverages . In winter, the mountains are a real destination, but the food scene in Burlington is very vibrant so a cosy dinner on Church Street is a less strenuous option. In spring it’s lovely to go for a walk on Shelburne Farms to see the new lambs and taste their award-winning cheese or check out a local Sugarhouse to taste some of the new season Maple syrup over pancakes or shaved ice.
The top three things to do there, that don’t cost money in Burlington, are:
Walk or run the eight-mile bike path along the shore of Lake Champlain.
Snowshoeing the public trails in winter or hiking the State Forests in any seasonis to be recommended.
People-watch on Church Street and try out free samples at the Farmer’s Market.
Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of Burlington?
The Farmhouse Tap & Grill; located just off the pedestrianised Church Street in the centre of town, it took over the location of the last surviving MacDonalds in Burlington. They serve Vermont meat, cheese, vegetables and an impressive array of local beers, wines and spirits. For dessert, head across the street to the original home of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream for a double scoop.
Where is the best place to get a sense of Burlington’s role in history?
Battery Park, high on a bluff overlooking the lake was the location of the military post that guarded the lake during The Revolutionary War. It’s now a lovely city park with an outdoor stage .
What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Burlington?
A large jug of Maple Syrup, it’s the true taste of Vermont and I use it in baking and salad dressings as well as the traditional pour over pancakes. Also, Vermont cheese makers and brewers are winning awards internationally, but customs might not be so keen on those in your suitcase...
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