Repeat after me: Change is good.
If you happen to be an incoming college student — which, if you're reading this, you likely are — change will be a dominant theme in your life for the next few years. For most of you, college is the first time you're living away from home. That's a big change. No longer will your parents feed, clothe and love you. OK, they'll probably still love you. But you're on your own for laundry.
A number of you are not only leaving the nest, you're landing in an entirely new city — and for some, a new state or country. That's another big change. BTV — that's shorthand for Burlington; see "WTF, Vermont?" here — is a quirky place. Even if you grew up here, navigating the area as a newly independent adult is a challenge. But like changes, challenges are good, too.
What's Good is here to help you find your way. Year after year, the staff of Seven Days — Vermont's alternative weekly newspaper — crams this sucker full of everything that's good about living here. Within these pages, you'll find smartly curated selections of places to eat, shop, adventure and generally have a good time. We've endeavored to identify the people and places that make Burlington feel like home to us. After all, it's your home now, too.
If you're looking for the best of the best, you'll find it here. But this streamlined guide comes with a caveat. If it's in What's Good, you can consider that an endorsement. But if something isn't included here, that doesn't mean it's not worth your time. We've left out a few things, sometimes by necessity — we could write 1,000 pages on Vermont and still have more to say. And we can't spill all of the state's secrets here; there is some knowledge that just needs to be earned.
So here's your first homework assignment: Use What's Good as a starting point to figure out what's good to you. Get out there and explore your surroundings. Embrace change. You'll be rewarded.
We imagine you picked up your copy of What's Good, saw the front cover and thought, Whoa! That's a lot of skin! FYI, the scene depicted is UVM's Naked Bike Ride, which has become a nifty — and depending on the weather, nippy — local tradition. (See "Vermont A-to-Z," page 13.)
Generally, Vermont is pretty relaxed when it comes to baring it all. While not quite encouraged, public nudity is not illegal. However, there's a big butt, er, but — at least in Burlington. You should know that it is illegal to sunbathe naked in city parks. Stripping in public is generally a no-no. Also, no nude lewd or lascivious conduct is tolerated anywhere in public view — that includes flashing at Mardi Gras. So save the hanky-panky for your dorm room, OK?