This is a college town (home of the University of Vermont) that is the progressive nerve center of the state. The downtown still retains its charm — largely due to its impressive, sociable pedestrian mall — and the city benefits from having a number of greenway trails running through it.
At one point along one trail, we meet two elderly women who are out for their daily walk. When I tell them how much opposition to a proposed greenway trail we were facing in Gainesville, they tell us to go back down there and tell people how much older people, like them, enjoy going for a safe and pleasant walk on the greenway each day.
It is the largest city in Vermont, site of the oldest newspaper, and the oldest university in the state, and burial place of Ethan Allen. His family founded the University of Vermont in 1791. Allen was described as an “able, self-taught, self-made man with an arrogant swagger.”
The city was settled in 1773 and incorporated in 1865. The city was the scene of an unsuccessful British naval attack during the War of 1812. Philosopher John Dewey was a native of the city. Ben & Jerry’s politically correct ice cream is based nearby.