FRONT AND CENTER
Anyone who’s strolled the boardwalk at Burlington’s Waterfront Park knows the secret thrill of scoring a much-coveted swingy bench. But the stretch of prime lakeshore real estate has a lot more going for it than seating with a stellar view. As a major stop along the bike path, the park is a sporting hot spot for cycling, running, rollerblading and more. Its verdant fields make way for such annual community blowouts as the Vermont Brewers Festival and the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival tents, while its waves have floated everything from dragon boats to giant pumpkins. Scoop shops and restaurants are a short walk away, cruise boats go out on Champlain and return, and — did we mention the view? It’s no wonder picnickers, weekend athletes and dog walkers seem permanently installed from the first warm day of spring until the fall frost.