Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Burlington on a Budget

     Although I have only lived in close proximity to Burlington for the past 4 years, it has really become home to me. I have probably said it before, but my mom hates it when I refer to college as home. But its the truth, both Saint Michael's and the surrounding area really do feel like home to me. It is no secret that Burlington is a great place. It has been voted one of the best college towns in the country and its food has been gaining great reviews over the past couple of years. Unlike its counterparts of Los Angeles, Manhattan and Boston, Burlington is a place to live and explore without breaking the bank. Trust me, I know. I'm a college kid after all. So, if you are a college kid living here or are just looking for some great places to explore, here are my top choices for things to eat and places to see in Burlington on a budget.

     Let's start the morning right. Everyone knows that the best way to start the day is with a great breakfast. What's better than some good food? Good food that won't break the bank. Assuming that you were a little slow moving in the morning, I would suggest Handy's Lunch. Handy's is a super old school place with only counter seating, so it approximately only seats 25-30 people. This often means that there can be a wait, but I mean, the longer the line the better the food, right? The people that work there are great. Earl, one of the owners, is really friendly and will do everything he can to make you feel nice and welcome. The food is great and it is really inexpensive considering how full you feel after. It is definitely one of my go to spots for breakfast!

     After breakfast you are probably going to have to walk off all of the calories that you just consumed. One of my favorite places to do that is at Lake Champlain Waterfront. Perks of this? It's absolutely free to walk around and the view is fabulous. You can always see people riding bikes, cute dogs and who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of our lake monster, Champ. One of the cool places to visit at the waterfront is the ECHO Center. The ECHO Center is a non-profit organization that hopes to educate people about the ecology and history of Lake Champlain. It is an awesome place to visit for people of all ages. Tickets are fairly inexpensive as far as museums and aquariums go, and they often have ticket deals. Here you have the opportunity to watch them feed animals, meet some baby animals and learn about all of the things that go into making Lake Champlain great!


     Wow, all that walking must have started to make you a little hungry. Just a short walk away from the Echo Center is Church Street Marketplace. It is arguably one of my favorite spots in all of Burlington. Here, you have the choice of dozens of restaurants, shops and bars to choose from. For lunch, my favorite place would have to be the Red Onion. If you want to enjoy the best sandwich of your life, then look no further. My favorite sandwich to get is the Red Onion. I mean, if they name their restaurant after it, it has to be good.  This sandwich has turkey, bacon, red onion (duh) and garlic mayo on your choice of fresh made bread. Delicious, right? A typically sandwich will cost you about $10 here, but it is more than enough for 2 people to split. Also, try one of their cookies. They are one of my favorites and I really don't like cookies that much.
     After lunch, I would say that it would be in your best interest to just take the time to walk around Church Street Marketplace. As I said earlier, it is a long pedestrian street where there are tons of shops, restaurants and bars to visit. In my opinion it is honestly one of the best places to window shop. It's a great place on a budget because you don't actually have to buy anything. But, if you were so inclined to spend a little money, you could to to places like Tradewinds, Earth Bound and Homeport, which are some of my favorites.
    After all that (window) shopping you are probably hungry again, right? I thought so. One of my favorite places is American Flatbread. I promise you will love this place the minute you walk in the door. Only a quick walk from Church Street, the rustic inside and the no cell phone sign really makes you feel at ease. On busy nights, like Friday's an Saturday's, there will normally be a wait. My suggestion is during the wait you should step up to the bar and try one of the local brews that they have on tap. Almost all of the ingredients used are local, free-range and organic, which makes eating pizza healthy, right? Any pizza you get here is good, but my personal favorite would be the buffalo chicken with blue cheese pizza. I like it because it has super thin crust and the sauce is super flavorful.

     Finally, its time for dessert. Take your full belly and walk back up to Church Street and then one block past it to My Little Cupcake. This place is hands down my favorite place for something edible near Church Street. I cannot remember how my friends and I stumbled upon it but I am really happy we did. We make it our tradition now. Every time we go to Church Street we have to stop at My Little Cupcake to get a quick snack. They have both mini and regular sized cupcakes, along with cake pops, gluten free and vegan cupcakes. There is something for everyone! My personal favorites are the salted caramel and the red velvet. One of the cool things that they do for the 21+ crowd is every Friday night they have a pairing night, where you get 3 types of alcoholic beverages and 3 desserts for a flat price. They also have one of my favorite drool worthy accounts on Instagram!
    After all that I'm assuming that you are totally stuffed and exhausted. It must be time to head home to get some sleep! See, doing things during the day can be really fun and inexpensive.

    Winter months, especially January, is a time when many people start thinking about budgeting money. One of the places that I have recently discovered to help me do this is Personal Capital. They have awesome free financial tools that people what don't really know where to start can check out.


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