Burlington, Vermont is a beautiful and unique destination for a road trip from Montreal, Quebec. Known for its picturesque views of the Green Mountains, delicious local food and drink, and vibrant arts and culture scene, Burlington offers an exciting and memorable experience for all travellers. Whether you’re looking to explore the great outdoors of the surrounding region, sample delicious local cuisine, or simply take in the charming atmosphere of this charming New England town, a road trip to Burlington is sure to be a fun experience. I have been countless times and it remains one of my favourite road trips to do from Montreal!
Follow this itinerary for a memorable road trip to Burlington
First stop: Breakfast at The Café HOT.
We’re starting the road trip with an absolute banger: The Café HOT. I was recommended by several people to visit this place, and each time I visited Burlington it was either too late or I was there on the wrong day. I’m so happy I was finally able to try it last fall. Without a doubt, everything they make is super tasty and very unique. One thing is sure, you HAVE to order The Raven and make it a breakfast sandwich, trust me, it doesn’t disappoint! According to my partner Jérémie, this was one of the best breakfast sandwiches, in terms of taste and texture, he had ever eaten. Also, don’t forget to arrive early to grab all their fabulous doughnuts flavours.
Have a cultural moment at Burlington City Arts @ The BCA Center
Now this place is a true gem for art lovers. All year long Burlington City Arts @ The BCA Center showcase a wide array of artists, to local and emerging to international and acclaimed. The centre is also home to many art classes, in their dedicated studio space. They always have two main exhibitions running at the same time are replaced with new artists every few months.
Great shopping options downtown Burlington
There are three shops where I always go back to do a little shopping when I’m downtown Burlington. First one is SLATE, a home goods store that has a plenty of carefully handpicked items for your kitchen and decor. Second stop is Common Deer, where you’ll find a great selection of gifts and home decor made in Vermont. Their selection of cards is simply so beautiful and mostly made by local artists. Then, if you’re into wine, I suggest you make a stop at Burlington Wine Shop, where you’ll find the best rang,e of local natural wines. Don’t sleep on Iapetus wines, I’ve tried a bunch and it hits the spot every time.
Grab lunch at Al’s French Frys
Al’s French Frys is a classic roadside diner in South Burlington, serving French fries, burgers and more. The interior has this untouched retro look and feel that has probably been there since it opened in the 1940s. My usual order consists of a Philly Cheese sandwich and a cup of their frys with gravy. If I’m feeling fancy, I will usually add the fried shrimps on top of that. It’s now part of my routine when I go down to Burlington.
Afternoon pick-me-up options in Burlington
First option is Little Gordo Creemee Stand, a hole-in-the-wall spot serving handmade ice treats with a twist. They offer flavours that I haven’t seen elsewhere like banana pudding and spicy chocolate. Besides their ice cream offering, they have a whole range other treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. Another great option for an afternoon pick-me-up is Onyx Tonics, a specialty coffee shop serving a rotation of beans from great local and national coffee roasters, like Tandem Coffee Roasters.
Grab snacks for the road at Trader Joe’s
One of the main reasons I like to go back to Burlington is definitely because it’s the closest Trader Joe’s (and no, I don’t consider the Ontario chain Farm Boy as “the Canadian Trader Joe’s). For those who don’t know, Trader Joe’s is a popular American grocery store chain that offers a wide variety of products such as fresh produce, frozen foods, bakery items, dairy products, and more. However, the store really shines for its private label products, which are sold under the Trader Joe’s brand name, and are often made with high-quality ingredients at a lower cost than other brands. The store is also known for its fun and quirky atmosphere. So, on your next road trip to Burlington, make sure to grab a tote bag and grab a few snacks for the road back home at Trader Joe’s.
You have extra time? Visit Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
This stop at Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard is totally optional, and a bit outside of Burlington, but it’s a quirky and unusual activity to do. At this location, you’ll find all the retired flavours created by famous ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, founded and headquartered in Burlington.
Take the ferry from Burlington to Plattsburgh, NY to go back to Montreal
End your road trip in beauty by crossing Lake Champlain from Burlington, Vermont to Plattsburgh, New York. It’s a scenic and convenient way to travel between the two cities. The ferry ride takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, and provides beautiful views of Lake Champlain and the surrounding mountains. The ferry has both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a snack bar and restrooms. Passengers can bring their own vehicles or take the ferry as a foot passenger. It’s a great way to enjoy the lake and makes for a perfect day trip or weekend getaway.