What To Do On Homecoming Weekend?
The fans are put away, the walks to class are less sweaty, and you’ve traded out your Henderson’s iced Maple Madness for a hot one. This can only mean one thing — fall is here and Homecoming Weekend is upon us! The UVM Foundation & Alumni Association has an extensive schedule of things you and your folks can participate in (just be sure to see what you have to pre-register for, and maybe consider purchasing a wristband!). With so many things to do in BTV in so little time, it can be overwhelming to plan the perfect weekend with your family and friends. Here are some fun-filled VT activities for everyone to enjoy:
SUNSET WATCH: Vermont is known for its sunsets, and anyone who visits needs to know this! Head down to the Burlington waterfront and take a seat on one of the big swinging chairs along the main walkway. Sit back, relax and enjoy the bursting sky over Lake Champlain- a view that only Burly offers. The sun sets around 6:45 so get there around 6:00 to get the full effect. And, most importantly, bring your camera!
RAINY DAY ACTIVITY: Noticing a little rain coming our way? No problem. Take your family over to the Fleming Museum on UVM’s Central Campus between the hours of 12 pm and 4 pm and be ready to experience cultural art from all different centuries and parts of the world. $5 for adults, $10 for families, $3 for students and seniors, and FREE for children under 6 and UVM students!
DINNER – Burlington has so many amazing restaurants. Here are some options for every budget:
$$: Skinny Pancake is conveniently located right next to the waterfront. Eat outside and watch the world wander by or get cozy at a booth inside. Stick around for local rock band, Steady Betty, at 9 p.m. or spend some quality time bonding over Apples to Apples, Jenga or any of the other fun games they have available.
$$$: A quick stroll up the hill and you’re at A Single Pebble on Bank Street. This restaurant was named “Best Chinese Restaurant” by Seven Day’s Annual Reader’s Pick. When this spot offers family-style servings of incredible dishes like Lemon Sesame Shrimp, Buddha’s Sesame Beef, and Beijing Street Noodles, it’s hard to go wrong. But remember to make a reservation in advance – they get booked up!
Itinerary #1: BEST OF BURLINGTON
BRUNCH: One of the best parts about waking up in Burlington is being surrounded by so many amazing brunch options. You can choose from go-tos like Penny Cluse Café on Cherry Street, Mirabelle’s on Main, and Magnolia Bistro in the center of town and August First Bakery just down the hill. But here’s a spot that may not yet be on your radar- The Swingin’ Pinwheel. This little western-style, family-owned spot at 11 Center Street is known for its stuffed popovers and waffles including ingredients like apple compote, prosciutto, mango and almost any cheese imaginable. Did we mention they have a bakery with sweet treats? It’s a small space, so it’s a good idea to pop in about 30-45 minutes before you want to be seated, put your name down, have a stroll through Church Street, and head back just in time!
After brunch it may be time for a little fresh air to help you stay awake. We have some ideas…
FARMER’S MARKET: So you can’t REALLY experience Burlington until you experience The Farmer’s Market. Will it be crowded? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. The crowds of people and tents are hard to miss, but head down to City Hall Park in the center of town to check out vendors like Adam’s Berry Farm, Green Mountain Granola and Marsha Drake Jewelry. Bottom line: this is the spot to experience the goldmines that are Vermont businesses.
WALKING: There are great walking trails right in town. We recommend Oakledge Park because it offers a beautiful view of Lake Champlain and a short but sweet walk/bike path along the water. If you have kids in your crew, Oakledge has a playground as well as tennis, volleyball and basketball courts. You can even lay some blankets out on the grass or sand along Blanchard Beach. Beautiful, fun, simple. Want something less obvious? Red Rocks Park, the Intervale or Centennial Woods at UVM are also good options right in town.
SPECTATING: Hey – show the family some UVM spirit! Take your folks to the UVM Men’s Soccer game v.s. Hartford at Virtue Field at 2:00 p.m.
RAINY DAY ACTIVITIES:
Feeling artsy? Check out the 8th Annual Alumni Art Exhibition Opening Reception in the Livak Fireplace Lounge on the 4th floor of the Davis Center between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m! Check out artwork from student art curators alongside alumni artists! Light refreshments and desserts will be available.
Finally… Dinner time!
$: Stone Soup. A favorite of UVM Bored, this cozy little spot just off Church Street is a great option for vegans and vegetarians. The menu switches daily, but you will be sure to find some tasty sandwiches, soups, and a plethora of dishes from the hot bar. We also recommend their homemade tea!
$$: El Cortijo: A fun way to enjoy mexican food with your family. A sister restaurant to The Guild and Farmhouse Tavern, El Cortijo offers all the mexican classics with a slightly modern flair. Ever tried ceviche? Now is your chance!
$$$: Bleu: As featured in the New York Times “36 hours in Burlington” Bleu Northeast Seafood is a “sustainable, regionally sourced seafood restaurant on the shores of Lake Champlain”. Offering dishes like Grilled Swordfish Ratatouille, The Lake Champlain Perch Sandwich, and the traditional lobster roll, this restaurant comes highly recommended by trusted chefs and foodies alike.
Itinerary #2: BEAT THE CROWDS (Shelburne/Charlotte)
HIKING: If you’re looking for a hike with low difficulty but some great views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, take your family to Mount Philo in Charlotte, Vermont! This 168-acre state park is a scenic 20-minute drive from Burlington (head down Spear St.) and provides a hiking trail with about a 30-minute walk to the top. Soak in the view of the surrounding area without making people hate you for putting them through Mt. Kilimanjaro terrain.
APPLE PICKING: Giving you the scenic experience of Shelburne Orchard along with some amazingly fresh produce, this activity is HIGHLY recommended at some point in the weekend. This family-run farm grows over 30 varieties of apples, peaches, pears, table grapes, pumpkins, plums and sour cherries and has tons of apples just waiting to be picked! Ride the tractor, swing on the tire swing, pick bushels of apples, and enjoy some cider donuts.
RAINY DAY ACTIVITIES:
Check out The Shelburne Museum! Explore everything from American paintings to quilts, costumes and accessories. Bring the whole family! Kids are welcome! The Shelburne Museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory is always a family favorite, and is known as one of the most popular Vermont activities! Call ahead of time to book a tour which lasts about 30 minutes and get a complete behind-the-scenes look at what goes on to make those bears.
How about dinner?
$: Folino’s Pizza: This wood-fired pizza restaurant opened its doors in 2012 and has seen incredible success! Enjoy their special method of crust-making and choose from pizzas like “the yellow submarine” and “buffalo chicken, ranch and 3 cheese”.
$$ Cucina Antica: Any mediterranean food lovers in the family? Take them here! This Italian-Mediterranean combination offers a menu that can satisfy any palette. Did we mention they offer all fresh VT pasta, sausage, chicken and cheese products from Shelburne Farms?
$$$: The Bearded Frog: This restaurant offers burgers and salads; experiencing the beautiful town of Shelburne is just a bonus! Pro Tip – make a reservation!
RAINY DAY ACTIVITY:
Hear the sweetest voices UVM has to offer! From 8-10pm all four of UVM’s A Cappella groups (The Cat’s Meow, The Top Cats, The Hit Paws, and Zest ) will come together to perform short set lists for alumni, family, and friends! $10 Adult; $5 Student. All proceeds go to the groups that are performing.
Sneakers Bistro: Located in Winooski, about a 5-minute drive outside of Burlington, Sneakers is the ultimate breakfast experience. “It’s definitely a hidden gem in the greater Burlington area. The menu is killer but when I caught a glimpse of the specials there was no looking back”, says Olivia Hurley’17 and a lover of Burlington cuisine. I mean, the menu includes Kahlua-battered French toast and Quinoa waffles. Need we say more? This place gets a little crowded, but that’s no problem! Download the NoWait App app on your phone. Just submit your name and number of people in your party, and you’ll have no problem snagging a spot when you arrive!
Rustic Roots: If you’re looking for a little escape from Burlington to avoid the crowds, head back to Shelburne for this awesome breakfast experience. This craft eatery has a menu that’s to die for and offers a warm, cozy atmosphere – perfect for a Sunday morning! Sit down for a cup of coffee and eggs benedict, and enjoy the fresh and local ingredients they use. This place is pretty tiny, so call in advance!
Or head off the beaten path to Myer’s Bagels on Pine St. for an amazing breakfast sammie. We recommend the Ivan: avocado, fried egg, cheese (optional – add bacon), sriracha on a delicious bagel.
SCHOOL SPIRIT ACTIVITY:
Give the weekend one last “Hoorah!” by cheering on the UVM Women’s Soccer Team as they face off against UMBC – 12PM to 2PM at Virtue Field.
RAINY DAY ACTIVITIES:
From 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, check out the 16th annual Diversity & Equity JAZZ Brunch held in the Silver Maple Ballroom on the 4th floor of the Davis Center. Experience a “feast” of great food and conversation and even better jazz music alongside The Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Mosaic Center for Students of Color, Center for Cultural Pluralism, LGBTQA Center, and more. This event is FREE for UVM students and children 10 and under; $14 per adult. Please pre-register at www.uvm.edu/hrdma. Space is limited, so please register early. For additional information, please e-mail [email protected]
Visit the Fleming Museum for your last chance to see this awesome featured exhibition: The Impossible Ideal: Victorian Fashion and Femininity Through nineteenth-century women’ clothing and excerpts from women’ magazines of the era, this exhibition will explore the aspirational messaging that embodied the many contradictions of Victorian women’ lives, and, eventually, the growing call for more diverse definitions of women’ roles and identities.
And of course, this is just a short glimpse of all that Burlington has to offer. Maybe the family will just have to come back to dig a little deeper! …or maybe not….See ya at Thanksgiving, folks!