Finding scenic small-town America within a couple hours of Montreal is easy. Finding quality restaurants and nightlife, solid live music and a quirky laid-back vibe? Not so straightforward. For that, you’ve got to head to Burlington, Vermont. Technically a city — Vermont’s largest, at that — Burlington feels unmistakably like an escape from city life.
The Courtyard Marriott Hotel is probably the city’s finest hotel. There’s a pool, hot tub and fitness room, but we preferred the dark wood-paneled bar, complete with brown leather sofas, a roaring fire and, sometimes, live jazz. 25 Cherry St., 802-864-4700.
Trattoria Delia is one of several Burlington restaurants run by graduates of the Montpelier Culinary Institute. Expect rustic elegance (cave walls, a fireplace, traditional Italiana) and refined dining (homemade gnocci with wild boar and porcini mushrooms, veal scallopine with prosciutto di parma). Bonus: you won’t break the bank. 152 St. Paul St., 802-864-5253.
Sample local cocktails (margaritas?) at The Green Room, a no-frills bar/restaurant/lounge whose DJs make it the place to be in VT on weekend nights. 86 St. Paul St. #2, 802-651-9669.
Great finds abound at Burlington Records, whose two floors are crammed with old and new vinyl, classic rock magazines and vintage clothes. 170 Bank St., 802-881-0303
Henry’s Diner, a straight-outta-the-movies old-school American eatery, does diner classics — like the bacon and cheddar burger — as well as what may be the state’s finest gyro. 155 Bank St., 802-862-9010
Image courtesy of WickedVT.