A number of chain motels are along Route 7 (Shelburne Rd.) in South Burlington, about a 5- to 10-minute drive from downtown. While they lack any trace of New England charm, they're modern, clean, and reliable.
Among the better choices are these three, which are clustered together: Holiday Inn Express, 1712 Shelburne Rd. (tel. 800/465-4329 or 802/860-1112; www.hojo.com); Smart Suites, 1700 Shelburne Rd. (tel. 877/862-1986); and Howard Johnson, 1720 Shelburne Rd. (tel. 800/874-1554 or 802/860-6000).
On and around Route 2 near I-89 (west of downtown, near the airport) are several other chain hotels, including the Holiday Inn, 1068 Williston Rd. (tel. 800/799-6363 or 802/863-6363; www.holiday-inn.com); and Best Western Windjammer Inn, 1076 Williston Rd. (tel. 800/371-1125 or 802/863-1125). My choice for a low-end overnight is the clean, simple Swiss Host Motel and Village, 1272 Williston Rd. (tel. 802/862-5734), which has the excellent good fortune of being across from Al's.
No Business Like Snow Business -- If you're a lover of science or nature, one of the more interesting day trips from Burlington is to the little hamlet of Jericho, about a 15- to 20-minute drive northeast on Route 15. Once there, find the Old Red Mill craft shop and museum (tel. 802/899-3225; www.snowflakebentley.com).
This museum showcases America's finest repository of snowflake photographs, courtesy of one Wilson Bentley, the local farmer and amateur naturalist who lived here from 1885 until 1931, devising the world's first camera designed to capture images of snowflakes. He photographed some 5,000 snowflakes in his lifetime, publishing articles in National Geographic and first advancing the idea that no two of them are identical. The story of Bentley's determined pursuit of his studies is as entrancing as the photographs lining the walls, which reveal the amazing variety of crystalline structures created in snowstorms -- many of them breathtakingly beautiful.
The museum is open daily April to December, and from Wednesday to Saturday the rest of the year. There's no admission charge.
For a complete listing of Frommer's-reviewed accommodations, visit our online hotels index.
For a complete listing of what to see and do in Burlington, VT, visit the online attractions index at Frommers.com.
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