Sunday, May 31, 2015

Burlington Streets Challenge - Appreciating Old Houses & Classy Single Story Homes

Another installment in the series to ride every public road within Burlington's city limits in 2015.

I am captivated by this home in the newer  part of Burlington. I love the windows, the roof line, older bungalow appearance, wooden bridge, trellis, porch—you name it, this property is immaculately well kept. 
As with most of my outings I focus on observing houses. At the turn of the 20th century, Burlington's downtown core and main arteries were filled with brick multi-story homes and office buildings. Victorian style was also popular. Some are meticulously maintained today, while others have been retrofitted into apartments. In the early 1900s a few Craftsman style homes popped up—a personal favorite—and I'm pleased to discover there are more of these gems than I had originally thought! Because they do not lend themselves to being carved up to serve the rental population, these dwellings are preserved for single family occupancy.

As I continue with the challenge, several observations have become clear:
  • Though the city is only 10 miles North to South and 1.5 miles at its widest, I rely heavily on bike paths for travel. It is an effort to strictly use roads and thus completing the challenge will be harder than I anticipated. But, that's why it's called a challenge.
  • I've discovered errors in the bike map (documentation device): from missing roads altogether, to misspelling street names. There is ample map space to include more street names yet they were left out.
  • There is no rationale behind whether a roadway is listed as "road", "street", "avenue", "lane", "terrace". "court", or "parkway". Go figure.
  • I'm tickled to locate hidden links between streets: well-trodden pathways between neighborhoods, gravel-lined public rights-of-way, and sidewalks. Remembering where these are located will make future family rides a lot more fun.
  • I notice and appreciate single story homes as much as their counterparts. (More on that subject below.)
  • When I put my mind to it, I can complete several roads in one outing. For example, in one hour I can often ride 15 streets; my best foray to date topped at 23!

Perched on a busy location, this wooden structure was once a neighborhood store, then home to Burlington College, and now a portion is utilized by Cookies for Good, an arm of  Committee on Temporary Shelter who plans to renovate the building for more occupancy.

Set on one of the largest open tracts within the city limits, this large structure was an orphanage run by the Catholic Diocese, which sold the property recently to  expanding Burlington College. With large debts the college is forced to sell a large parcel to a developer, which is currently under scrutiny by city government and concerned citizens. I, and
many others, often travel on a lovely dirt trail across the grounds to link with the waterfront trail.
A brick Victorian home on busy North Avenue has undergone several changes over the years. Originally it was a private home, then rented to businesses (I went to a doctor's office in this building years ago), and now it's rental housing. As with many older homes, because our housing market is tight, renting is a lucrative business. Multistory rental properties must have exterior escape routes, as displayed on the left side of this Victorian.

A colorful and lovely home in the Old North End. To the right is a free-standing pop-up library, aptly named Lovely Lorelei's Little Lending Library.
As much as I love Burlington's style of older houses, this challenge has opened my eyes to the merits of one-story homes. There was a time when I thought all one-story homes were ugly—I grew up in a cookie cutter ranch house—but with the increasing difficulties of maintaining our own multi-story house (think clipping overhanging branches, cleaning gutters, windows, etc., which require an extension ladder) I've discovered numerous attractive Burlington housing options. If we stay in the city over the long haul and want to transition into a smaller, easier to maintain home, it's nice to know I won't have to trade simplicity for character.

An example of a one-story home with large eaves, a style that's practical if you don't have gutters. With simple landscaping, this home could be quite attractive.

This home exudes character: front porch, pretty windows, garage.
I've noticed that Burlington's street names are fairly generic. Some derive from early regional farms and a few are called after early citizens, but most are ubiquitous. It's not surprising, considering that developers often provide road names. And then there is "Burlington" (whose naming origins are in dispute,) is about as common a name as one can get; there are 21 U.S. villages, towns, or cities with this place name.

Completed Streets
  1. Pearl Street
  2. Northshore Drive
  3. Simms Street
  4. Edsen Street
  5. Wing Street
  6. Dewey Drive 
  7. Battery Street
  8. North Street
  9. Bright Street
  10. Decatur Street
  11. Cloarec Street
  12. Spring Street
  13. LaFountain Street
  14. Front Street
  15. Sherman Street
  16. Peru Street
  17. Grant Street
  18. Loomis Street
  19. Barley Street
  20. Curtis Avenue
  21. Appletree Point Lane
  22. Staniford Farms
  23. Holt Street
  24. Fairmont Street
  25. South Street
  26. University Road
  27. Chestnut Street
  28. Crescent Terrace
  29. Woodcrest Lane
  30. Mountain View Court
  31. Crescent Road
  32. Pleasant Avenue
  33. Starr Farm Road
  34. Farrington Parkway
  35. Gosse Court
  36. Ethan Allen Parkway
  37. Willow Street
  38. Wildwood Drive
  39. Fern Street
  40. Ivy Lane
  41. Dodds Court
  42. Stanbury Road
  43. Edinberough Drive
  44. Muirfield Road
  45. Westminster Drive
  46. Nottingham Lane
  47. Appletree Point Road
  48. Alexis Drive
  49. Sterling Place
  50. Crescent Beach Drive
  51. Surf Road
  52. Ridgewood Road
  53. Shore Road
  54. Holly Lane
  55. Glenwood Road
  56. Laurel Court
  57. Heineberg Road
  58. Marshall Drive
  59. Arlington Court
  60. Moore Drive
  61. Moore Court
  62. Cumberland Road
  63. Ethan Allen Homestead Road
  64. Oak Street
  65. Manhattan Drive
  66. Luck Street
  67. St. Louis Street
  68. Germaine Street
  69. Colonial Square
  70. Wilson Street


  1. This is so much fun to read. I am envious of those on the east coast who have so many more turn-of-the century homes to see. We have our own here, but they are (for the most part) centered in one part of the city. I think in another life I must've been an architect because it's difficult for me to not take notice of different styles of homes.

    I think there are definitely options for single-story homes with character. I cannot speak for Burlington, but I know here we have many older homes that exude charm. Plus, I really am starting to believe charm can be built into a home. The house we bought at the end of last year was definitely not what I had in mind, but we've been able to find ways to give it that character I'd hoped to find already in a house.

    Glad to see you continuing this pilgrimage across your city, and to see that you're finding undiscovered paths as well. :O)

    1. All this wouldn't have been possible without your idea, in the first place, so thank you for this wonderful impetus to explore my city. So far, I'm having a blast. My husband travels with me on many outings so this mission is taking us out of our comfort zone, plus it's like a bike date. I was tickled to discover that yellow house with the lending library.


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