Downtown Burlington, VT in 90 minutes

When jetBlue announced their $10 fare sale for yesterday and today I figured out that there was one destination on the list I could make a day trip out of: Burlington, VT. It was a new airport for me as well as a state I’d never visited. Plus, the timing on the flights would let me get in and out with enough time to do a few things on the ground and still get a decent night’s sleep at either end of the trip.

I lined up a decent itinerary and shared it with some friends. I was laughed at. A lot. Fine; I reworked the itinerary and found some new options. The Ben & Jerry’s tour was out – too short and focused on kids rather than the actual manufacturing process – and a visit to the Vermont Pub & Brewery was in. Cabot cheese was on the list, too. Still a pretty full day up in Vermont.

One of my favorite views – on the AirTrain at JFK

Then I got on the plane and ran into a whole bunch of other folks also taking advantage of the $10 10th birthday fares. There was a couple who came down to New York City for dinner last night, a business man who made some surprise visits to customers and a large group of guys on their way to a day of skiing. As we started discussing itineraries my plans changed again. VBP was sneered at for mediocre beer (in retrospect I agree) and the Cabot tour was scratched as too far out of town. Plus, there’s another event in NYC tonight at 6pm that I wanted to be home for.

Lots of liveries on display at JFK T5 this morning

So the new itinerary was simple: skip the rental car and just take a cab downtown. Wander along the lakefront until the bars open for lunch. Drink beer and eat pub grub. Return to the airport two and a half hours after leaving and head home. And that’s exactly what I did.

Lake Champlain from the Burlington waterfront

The waterfront area is quite beautiful and the work they’ve done on the boardwalk and ferry terminal is impressive. Downtown Burlington is quaint and quiet, except for the “Free Tibet” rally being held at City Hall. Overall, the experience fit exactly what I expected of a sleepy New England town. From the 75 year old cab driver who was 5mph below the limit the whole ride to the quiet green in front of city hall to the over-zealous TSA agents hoping that I was their “Big Catch.” It shows signs of a life that starts when the college kids wake up and are done with classes in the evening but none of those places were open at noon.

On the plane I was warned off of Vermont Pub & Brewery as just not being that great. Unfortunately, it was all that was open at 11:30am on a Wednesday, so it got my business. I had a flight of six beers, only two of which I actually enjoyed. Still, it was better than a poke in the eye. Plus, it was 40 degrees and not a cloud in the sky so I was able to enjoy my beer outside. That was a special treat.

After beer it was off to find lunch – a quick gyro at Alhi Baba’s – and back to the airport. On the standby list, through security and to the gate just in time for my standby to clear and to hear final call for passengers. Perfect timing.

I’m sure that I missed plenty in Burlington today. Gravy fries at Nectar’s, for example. I’ll have to go back and spend a day or two rather than an hour or two. It seems worth it.

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Crazy $10 birthday sale from jetBlue

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Must.Retire.Soon. So I can do spur-of-the-moment trips 🙂

    Okay, maybe not quite retire, just become independently wealthy. Or something like that.

  2. Sorry to hear the beer wasn’t very good. I recall my flight of beer being decent early last year. Then again, I also like Lambics.

  3. I’m neither independently wealthy nor retired but I’ve managed to make the crazy travel habit work. I attribute it to a phenomenal lucky streak with my independent consulting gig.

    As for the beer, maybe it was an off day or something though the locals on the plane also tried to warn me off of the place. Apparently the last few brew-masters they’ve had have been less than stellar. There is still one beer I didn’t get to try that came highly recommended: Switchback. I’m hoping to get a sample next time I’m in town.

  4. Oh! I wish you had asked me! I live near Burlington and could have given you a great itinerary. Next time!

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