The perfect vacation spot should be a kind of “launching pad.” Yes, you should have all the amenities you need within striking distance of your hotel room. However, you should also be able to trek out to points unknown for exploration. When it comes to the changing leaves season, Burlington, Vermont is a great launching pad. There are only 42,000 plus residents in this town so you’ll never feel overwhelmed. More people will buy the next iPhone in the first few hours of sales than live in Vermont. Although you can head out from Burlington for fall adventures, you’ll also find a lot do in town. Here’s what you can’t miss:

Byway Is The Right Way

You know you’re embracing the small-town vibe when the highways are called byways. In Vermont, byways are how you’ll get from one spot to the next but they’re also the best way to see the changing leaves. In fact, there is a statewide byway program that highlights the best routes. From Burlington, you’ll want to head north to the Lake Champlain Byway. You’ll get the amazing fall leaves, you’ll get the lake and you’ll get some amazing new screensaver wallpaper for your computer. BTW, when you see a country store with a sign for “hot apple cider” pull over. You’ll want to drink lots of this.

Church Street Market

It always helps to find the “heart” of your vacation homebase. In Burlington, that would be the Church Street Marketplace. This three-block section of Church Street that has been designated as a pedestrian friendly zone. You’ll find used bookstores, local art galleries, coffee bars and pubs. In other words, you can spend a whole day here, have your three meals and not be bored at all.

Queen City Ghostwalk

If you’re going to be in Burlington for the fall, you’ll have the chance to get in the Halloween spirit on this special tour that was voted as one of the best attractions in Vermont. This walking tour will take you through the waterfront, local cemeteries, the University of Vermont and all the other hot spots for ghosts and ghouls in town. Just make sure you keep the lights on back at the hotel room. You never know what spirit you might pick up along the way.

Ben & Jerry’s Factory

Just a short hop from downtown Burlington is the “holy grail” of ice cream factories: Ben & Jerry’s. The best time to see the place is during the week when they are making the creamy goods. You simply can’t miss the daily “adding of the add-in ingredients.” Plus, lots and lots of free samples. How can you stay away?

Of course, if you’re going to Vermont, you can’t come home without a bottle (or six) of Vermont Maple Syrup. Yes, they’ll be selling this by the pallet load at the airport but you’ll want to pick yours up from the local merchants. Go to Burlington for the leaves, stay for the ice cream and syrup.