What comes to mind when you hear Burlington, Vermont? Ben & Jerry’s, Lake Champlain, Phish, Bernie Sanders, perhaps a Coat Factory? Recently I was fortunate enough to visit along with a dozen representatives from Ithaca, New York. We found some surprising parallels between our two places.
Four blocks of downtown Burlington’s Church Street are closed to vehicular traffic. The church at the northern end of the pedestrian mall provides a memorable terminating vista. It also served as a landmark that helped me navigate the city.
We were fortunate to visit on the first warm day of spring which drew out crowds of locals and visitors. While most retailers and restaurants were local businesses, about one-quarter of the spaces were occupied by national chain stores according to our host.