The Best of Burlington, Shelburne and the Champlain Islands
Experience Burlington’s walkability and history, enjoying visits to arts centers, city farmland and the new waterfront. Admire Americana in Shelburne and explore the Champlain Islands.
Rating (4.67)
Program No. 22385RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Check-In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Burlington, VT
Hilton Burlington

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the main lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a delicious meal including salad, an entrée, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s sleep for the day ahead.

Local History, Downtown Walk, UVM Campus, Salvation Farm
Burlington, VT
Hilton Burlington

Activity note: Walking approx. 3 miles total for the day; about 1.5 miles in downtown Burlington; approx. 1 mile on UVM campus; about 1/2 mile roundtrip from dinner; paved sidewalks, uneven ground and some steeper hills.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers a selection of hot and cold items including cereals, fruit, breads and pastries, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll be joined at the hotel by a local historian for a presentation on the history of the city of Burlington, which was founded in 1763, developed in 1783, and is the largest city in Vermont today. Next, we’ll take a walking field trip with our historian to explore Burlington’s Downtown District by walking up the oldest street in Burlington to reach historic Battery Park with views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. Our expert will identify places of historical and spiritual significance to the area’s Native American community, and discuss the many battles that occurred just off the coast by sharing stories from the War of 1812 and beyond. From the park, we’ll walk east until we reach the head of Church Street as we learn the story of this pedestrian walk.

Lunch: At a local restaurant offering salads and sandwiches, we’ll enjoy our pre-selected plated meal choices with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Arriving on foot at the UVM campus, our local expert will lead us on a walking field trip exploration pointing out the oldest buildings and telling us their history. Continuing, we’ll visit the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts that began as an “entertainment palace” in 1930 presenting vaudeville and movies. It is now the region's leading performance center and arts education organization. Take part in an exploration led by a member of the staff.

Dinner: Arriving on foot to a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll then be joined at the hotel by the executive director of a local non-profit who will give a presentation on agricultural sustainability and the local food movement in Vermont. Salvation Farms, based in Waterbury, is a not-for-profit organization seeking to build food independence for all through the innovative management of Vermont’s agricultural surplus. Vermont is a hotbed for sustainable agriculture, farm to plate initiatives, and buy local campaigns, yet millions of pounds of high quality edible crops never leave the farm. This occurs in the very communities where food shelves and meals programs struggle to provide nutrition for those in need. In this lecture, we’ll learn what is being done to engage communities, reduce costs, and turn perceived problems into bountiful opportunities.

Intervale, Sightseeing in the Champlain Islands
Burlington, VT
Hilton Burlington

Activity note: Driving approximately 93 miles roundtrip; about 2.5 hours, with stops for field trips. Walking approx. 2 miles total throughout the day; some uneven surfaces, hills, wooded dirt paths and lots.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Hopping aboard motorcoach, we’ll make our way to the northern part of Burlington for a field trip at the nonprofit Intervale Center. Promoters of healthy communities through sustainable growing practices, fair producer to consumer relationships, nutritious food, and stewardship of valuable farmland, the Intervale Center focuses on empowering people to learn about these subjects through support. Through an onsite expert-led exploration by staff members, we’ll learn about the organization’s history and mission, and see its facilities including the food hub, conservation nursery, farmer complex, greenhouses, and farm activity. Afterwards, we’ll head farther north into the Champlain Islands – known by locals as the Grand Isles – for our next stop at Saint Anne's Shrine on Isle La Motte, the northern most Champlain Island. Once the site of a colonial settlement, the shrine is located at a point on the northwest tip of the island, surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain. With our Group Leader, we’ll have a closer look at the shrine and the Stations of the Cross. We’ll then continue to the North Hero House for lunch. A historic inn and restaurant located on North Hero Island, it has been welcoming visitors since it opened in 1891.

Lunch: At the North Hero House, we’ll enjoy a tasty buffet lunch with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Boarding the motorcoach, we’ll then transfer to Grand Isle where we will visit the Hyde Log Cabin, Vermont’s oldest log cabin, built in 1783 and held by the same family for 150 years. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the cabin is an historic treasure, and we will be given an expert-led exploration of the house. Our next stop will be the Snow Farm Vineyard, Vermont's first vineyard and winery, established in 1992 in an effort to preserve Vermont's agricultural land in the face of development. The vineyard owners will lead us on an exploration of the vineyard and provide commentary on the history of this beautiful locale. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

City Market, ECHO Lake Aquarium, Lake History
Burlington, VT
Hilton Burlington

Activity note: Walking approx. 2 miles total throughout the day; along the waterfront, uneven terrain, stairs, some hills, city streets, unpaved paths. Getting on/off ship; about 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out on foot from the hotel, we’ll walk to the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, located on the waterfront. This award-winning LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified facility was founded in 2003. ECHO stands for Ecology, Culture, History, and Opportunities for stewardship. Interactive exhibits and science education programs feature more than 70 species of fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles. After an introductory presentation given by aquarium staff and a short film, we’ll engage in a behind-the-scenes exploration of the animals and exhibits. Afterwards, there will then be some time for independent exploration for you to see what interests you most at the aquarium.

Lunch: At a local waterfront restaurant, we’ll have our pre-selected boxed lunches featuring a sandwich, cookie and a non-alcoholic beverage. Choices made prior to start of program.

Afternoon: Continuing our walk, our local expert will lead us to Perkins Pier, the location of Burlington’s first wharf, to begin the second leg of our walking journey, during which we’ll learn about the history of the waterfront and the various purposes it has served over the centuries. We’ll end with a discussion of the metamorphosis of the waterfront from industrial wasteland to the beautiful Waterfront Park and Burlington Bike Path we all enjoy today. Returning to the hotel we will be joined by our local expert for a presentation on the History of Lake Champlain and the numerous shipwrecks found in the lake.

Dinner: Aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen, we’ll have buffet meals, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery as the shoreline passes by.

Evening: During our cruise on Lake Champlain, our knowledgeable local historian will once again be joining us to point out the various sites discussed during this afternoon's presentation, answer any questions, and discuss the history of the sites on the lake. At the conclusion of our study cruise, we will return to the hotel on foot.

Shelburne Farms & Shelburne Museum
Burlington, VT
Hilton Burlington

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 17 miles roundtrip; less than 1 hour. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; on our feet up to 5 hours total; uneven ground, some hills, periods of standing during presentations; shuttles available at museum from select locations.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Traveling south via motorcoach to the town of Shelburne, we’ll visit Shelburne Farms, a nonprofit organization whose campus consists of a 1,400-acre working farm and forest. Dedicated to educating for a sustainable future, they use their working landscape as a campus for learning and collaboration. We will start with a lecture given by farm staff on Shelburne Farms’ programming with a focus on sustainability programs of Vermont FEED — Food Education Every Day — which is dedicated to promoting the resurgence of local farms and increasing equitable access to fresh, healthy food for all children through education and outreach. This will be followed by a docent-led exploration of the buildings and formal gardens. The onsite house was originally the 19th-century country home of Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb until it was restored and adapted for use as an inn 1987 to support the nonprofit educational organization. As part of this National Historic Landmark property on the shores of Lake Champlain, the inn retains its historic character.

Lunch: At the Shelburne Farm Cart, we’ll enjoy a tasty meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll travel to the Shelburne Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Americana including Impressionist paintings, folk art, quilts and textiles, decorative arts, furniture, American paintings, and a dazzling array of 17th to 20th century artifacts. One of the museum’s highlights is the restored steamboat “Ticonderoga” as it existed in 1923. Led by a docent, we’ll learn about the boat’s operation, mechanics, historical and social context. Once the group activity concludes, feel free to look around during some time for personal independent exploration.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy pre-selected plated meals for our farewell dinner, including salad, an entree, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: Returning to the hotel via motorcoach, the remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, Program Concludes
Burlington, VT

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Joined by a member of the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP), our final lecture of the program will take place at the hotel and focus on the VRRP, which was founded in 1980 as a local field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. VRRP provides resources for those fleeing persecution by promoting self-sufficiency and forging partnerships with members of the Vermont community, while also defending human rights. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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