Introduction to Burlington, Vermont
The city of Burlington, Vermont's largest city, rests on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. It is situated about 40 miles northwest of the state capital of Montpelier, about 70 miles north of Rutland, and 95 miles southeast of the city of Montreal in Canada's Quebec province. Major highways serving the city include Interstate 89, U.S. Route 7, and Vermont State Highway 15.
Despite popular belief that the city was named for the Earl of Burlington, it is more likely that the city's name is linked to the Burling family of New York City, a prominent and wealthy 19th century family whose members were original grantees of eleven Vermont towns. At the time of its incorporation as a city in 1864, the original town of Burlington was split into two parts: the northwestern portion of the town became the City of Burlington (Vermont's first incorporated city) and the more rural portion of the original town was established as a new town named South Burlington.
Burlington is home to the University of Vermont (UVM). With a richly deserved reputation as a college town, the city is also home to Burlington College, Champlain College, and a Community College of Vermont campus. Ice cream aficionados will recognize Burlington as the birthplace of the legendary Ben & Jerry's, which was founded in 1978 in a renovated Burlington gas station. The company's headquarters are now located in nearby South Burlington.
Burlington is known for its lively arts culture. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is the oldest state-supported orchestra in the United States. Visual arts are highlighted at public galleries such as the Pine Street Art Works and the Firehouse Gallery. The Shelburne Museum spans 45 acres and features 37 buildings showcasing New England's proud pre-industrial traditions, such as the historic Lake Champlain Lighthouse, an old-fashioned covered bridge, furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, and the remains of an old jail cell. Annual Burlington events include First Night, a large and varied celebration which begins during the afternoon of New Year's Eve and culminates with a midnight fireworks display. Outdoor recreation enthusiasts can enjoy Burlington's Bike Path, a 6.5 mile paved trail sitting mostly on a former railbed close to the lakeshore and extending from one end of the city to the other. The trail passes through the revitalized Waterfront, and through the city's beach, campground and residential areas, before it connects to a similar path through South Burlington. The hope is to eventually have a continuous trail to the Canadian border.
There are no major league professional sports teams in Vermont. Burlington, however, has a couple of minor-league pro teams. The Vermont Lake Monsters (formerly the Vermont Expos) of the New York-Penn League are a class single-A baseball club affiliated with Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals. The team plays on the campus of UVM at Centennial Field. Burlington is also home to a newly-formed professional basketball franchise, the Vermont Frost Heaves of the American Basketball Association. The team is beginning its inaugural season in the fall of 2006 and will be splitting its home games between Burlington's Memorial Auditorium and the Auditorium in Barre, Vermont.
Collegiate sports can be found at the University of Vermont, whose Catamounts participate in the NCAA's Division I America East Conference. The school's primary spectator sports are basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and hockey. The UVM ski teams, however, have had a tradition of success, laying claim to a long run of national championships.