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
DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington Vermont

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel. Includes salad, Entrée and dessert, with beverages including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Choices pre-selected prior to arrival at the program.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. 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, or simply relax, and get a good night’s sleep for the day ahead.

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

Activity note: Today will be the most physically active day of the program. Walking up to 1.5 miles on our morning filed trip and up to 1 mile at UVM over uneven ground and some steeper hills. Walk to dinner is approximately 1/4 of a mile each way up a slight hill from the hotel.

Breakfast: At the hotel, our breakfast buffet offers a selection of hot dishes, cereal, fruit, breads and pastries, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local historian for a presentation on the history of the city of Burlington. Founded in 1763, developed in 1783, it is today the largest city in Vermont. Next we’ll take a walking field trip with our historian to explore Burlington’s Downtown District. We'll walk about a mile and a half total on this field trip over city streets, uneven ground and some hills. We'll begin 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, sharing stories from the War of 1812 and beyond. From the park, east until we reach the head of Church Street. Learn the story of this pedestrian walk, and hear about the political life of Senator Bernie Sanders and his rise to national acclaim. Finally, we will visit the shop where Ben & Jerry’s started their amazing ice cream business before we arrive back at the hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant offering salads and sandwiches. Choices pre-selected prior to arrival at the program.

Afternoon: This afternoon will start with a visit to the UVM campus where our expert guide will lead us on a walking tour pointing out the oldest buildings and telling us their history. Next 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. Our field trip will involve walking approximately a mile over uneven and often hilly terrain.

Dinner: We'll walk to a local restaurant about a quarter mile away from our hotel.

Evening: We’ll be joined 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. 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
DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington Vermont

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, some uneven surfaces, hills. Todays walk will include wooded paths, unpaved dirt surfaces, wooded lots.

Breakfast: At the hotel, our breakfast buffet offers a selection of hot dishes, cereal, fruit, breads and pastries, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: This morning we will hop on our bus for a field trip several miles away in the northern part of Burlington to the nonprofit Intervale Center, dedicated to improving farm viability, promoting sustainable land use, and engaging the community in a food system that honors producers, values good food, and enhances quality of life. Intervale is also the steward of 350 acres of bottomland along the Winooski River. On an expert-led exploration by staff members, learn about the organization’s history and mission, followed an exploration of its facilities to view the food hub, conservation nursery, farmer complex, greenhouses, and farm activity. We’ll then head north into the Champlain Islands – known by locals as the Grand Isles. Our next stop will be 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, Lake Champlain a forest of trees on 13 acres.

Lunch: A buffet lunch will be served at the North Hero House located on North Hero Island. This historic Inn and restaurant has been welcoming visitors since it's opening in 1891

Afternoon: Following lunch we board the bus for 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. Next stop is the Snow Farm Vineyard, Vermont's first Vineyard and Winery. The vineyard was established in 1992 in an effort to preserve Vermont's agricultural land in the face of development. Here we will be led on a tour of the vineyard and learn the history of this beautiful locale. Following our tour the bus will take us back to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own this evening. Ask your Group Leader for recommendations on where to dine on Historic Church Street.

Evening: Free Time to explore or just relax.

City Market, ECHO Lake Aquarium, Lake History
Burlington, VT
DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington Vermont

Activity note: Today's field trips will require walking up to 2 miles along the waterfront, over uneven terrain, stairs and involve some hills. We'll be walking through city streets as well as along paths.

Breakfast: At the hotel, our breakfast buffet offers a selection of hot dishes, cereal, fruit, breads and pastries, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: This morning we begin with a four-block walk up to the City Market Onion River Co-op for a staff-led exploration. A community-owned food cooperative, City Market is the largest food co-op in the state, dedicated to supporting the local economy and strengthening the local food system by providing conventional, organic, and local products at fair prices. Our local guide who will take us on a walking tour to Perkins Pier, location of Burlington’s first wharf, to begin a walking journey led by an expert who has been involved in waterfront advocacy for more than three decades. This walk will go over the history of the various uses of the waterfront over the centuries, ending with the metamorphosis of the waterfront from industrial wasteland to the beautiful Waterfront Park and Burlington Bike Path we all enjoy today late in the 20th century.

Lunch: At a local waterfront restaurant. Will include a box lunch with sandwich, cookie and non-alcoholic beverage. Choices pre-selected prior to arrival at the program.

Afternoon: Next, 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 and short film, we’ll engage in a discussion about its relationship with the city of Burlington and Lake Champlain. Return to the hotel at your own leisure

Dinner: Dinner will be served aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen. Sit back and 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. He will be pointing out the various sites discussed during this afternoon's lecture/presentation. He will also be on hand to answer any questions and discuss the history of the sites on the lake.

Shelburne Farms and the Shelburne Museum
Burlington, VT
DoubleTree by Hilton Burlington Vermont

Activity note: Walking on uneven and unpaved ground, standing during presentations. Shelburne farms will include walks on some hills and unpaved surfaces. Shelburne Museum includes walking but shuttles are available at select locations.

Breakfast: At the hotel, our breakfast buffet offers a selection of hot dishes, cereal, fruit, breads and pastries, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Today we travel seven miles south to the town of Shelburne, just south of Burlington. Shelburne Farms is the first stop. A nonprofit organization whose campus consists of a 1,400-acre working farm and forest, Shelburne Farms is dedicated to educating for a sustainable future, using their working landscape as a campus for learning and collaboration. We will start with a lecture on Shelburne Farms’ programming with a focus on sustainability programs of Vermont FEED — Food Education Every Day — 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 house and formal gardens. Originally the 19th-century country home of Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, the house 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 Museum Café, use provided meal vouchers to select from the menu of soups, salads, sandwiches.

Afternoon: Next, we will travel to the Shelburne Museum, whose impressive collection of Americana includes 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. You will then have time for personal independent exploration. We’ll then drive back to the hotel with time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: Dinner will be a pre selected Farewell Dinner served at the hotel in a private room. It will include salad, entree, dessert, coffee and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Free evening following dinner. Prepare for departure.

Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
Burlington, VT

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 PM

Breakfast: At the hotel, our breakfast buffet offers a selection of hot dishes, cereal, fruit, breads and pastries, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Wrap-up Session: This morning we have a final lecture at the hotel focusing on the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP), 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. The lecture will finish by mid-morning. This will conclude our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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