I Heart My City: Lindsay's Burlington (National Geographic)

Burlington Bike Path

One visit to Burlington was enough to convince freelance journalist Lindsay Westley to trade Philadelphia’s skyscrapers and traffic for the mountains and lakes that typify Vermont’s largest city.

By the time she’d camped and hiked her way across 35 miles of the state while waiting for her new lease to start, she’d fallen in love with the place—rocks, roots, mud, and all.

“The world should heart my city because it’s got an active, authentic vibe that’s directly shaped by Lake Champlain and the mountains that surround Burlington,” Lindsay says. “It’s no big deal to show up to work wearing snowpants, bike spandex, or your running shoes; chances are your coworkers will be dressed in kind—and toting fresh-from-the-garden vegetables to share.”

Here are a few of Lindsay’s favorite things about the city she’s proud to call home.

Jeremy Moon's Shirt Don't Stink (Outdoor Industry Association)

Jeremy Moon, Icebreaker

Jeremy Moon, the founder of Icebreaker, was a few hours into a sea-kayaking trip in 1994 when he realized he had a problem. “By the end of the first day, I was beginning to feel clammy,” he says. “We were all wearing synthetics, and by the end of the trip, my friends and I all smelled completely rank. And I thought, ‘well, that was amazing, but it would be cool if we didn’t all have to smell like dogs by the end of it.’” Just a few short weeks later, the 24-year-old Kiwi met a farmer who gave him a merino shirt to try. That shirt changed the way he and his friends smelled—and planted the seed that prompted Moon to launch what is now New Zealand’s leading outdoor clothing producer and exporter.

The Wool Market (Outdoor Industry Association)

Dave Anderson (left), of Bog Roy Station, and Keith Anderson, of Ibex.Perched on the shores of New Zealand’s Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the island nation’s Southern Alps, Mount Nicholas sheep station creates a stunning backdrop for the merino wool industry. About 31,000 merino sheep graze 100,000 acres of rugged high-country terrain, making Mount Nicholas one of the biggest stations—or ranches—in New Zealand and one of the merino-wool industry’s largest suppliers. It’s also one of its most sustainable.

Entirely powered by hydroelectricity, the station is largely self-sufficient, thanks to an enormous garden, orchards, fresh game and a milk cow. Equally important, this focus on sustainability and environmental best practice trickles down to create happy sheep. And happy sheep produce high-quality wool.

“When a sheep is stressed, it creates a weak spot in the fiber that’s prone to breaking,” says Kate Butson, whose parents, Robert and Linda, bought the land in 1976. She manages Mount Nicholas with her husband, Jack. “Weak fibers can lead to pilling or holes in a garment spun from that wool, which obviously affects quality.”

Do Gooders: Socially Responsible Businesses (Outdoor Industry Association)

Photo credit: Theodore Kaye

In the early 1980s, Patagonia co-founder Malinda Chouinard began advocating for an on-site child care center at the company’s Ventura, California, headquarters. Her idea—a radical one back in the ’80s—benefited just a handful of parents at Patagonia. But it sparked a much broader question: What were parents at Patagonia’s production facilities doing for child care?

You Got This! (Bicycling Magazine)

Published August 1, 2014 in Bicycling magazine.

Bicycling August 2014

It's no fun hauling your bike to the shop only to hear that your problem is user error. Mechanics face these five customer woes all the time. Here's how to solve them yourself.—Lindsay J. Westley


A bike tour of Vermont's Lake Champlain Islands (Washington Post)

By Lindsay J. Westley.  Published July 18, 2013 in the Washington Post.

Biking A mid-ride beep from my neon-colored GPS watch usually signals a moment of weakness: a stop for a gulp of water or to rest quivering calves after climbing one of Vermont’s many mountains. Today, as I wheel my bike around the potholes in a farm lane, it’s signaling a more important item on the agenda: maple creemees.

The rest of the country calls the frozen treat twisting into my cone “soft serve,” but here in Vermont, it’s a creemee. Made with farm-fresh milk and a high grade of real maple syrup, it’s a delicious start to the weekend — and the official guarantee that no cycling speed records will be broken over the next two days. But we will eat well. And often.

After all, we have the home-court advantage on this vacation. My husband and I have been living on the southernmost tip of Vermont’s Lake Champlain Islands for nearly two years, having moved here from Pennsylvania as newlyweds.

Mush! A dog-sledding adventure in Maine (Washington Post)

By Lindsay J. Westley, Published: November 26 in the Washington Post

The air is charged with the sound of 17 howling huskies, and the snow brake I’m standing on with both feet quivers as the brawny dogs in front of me strain against their harnesses.

It’s not a moment for misgivings or second thoughts: Either you hold tight as you release the brake and the dogs snap forward, or you’re left behind as the sled races toward the mountains in the distance. I choose to hold on.

Already charged with adrenaline, I’m prepared for the rush of euphoria that accompanies our first leaps across the ice, but I wasn’t expecting the silence. One moment, it’s orchestrated chaos accompanied by nose-to-the-sky howls; the next, it’s utterly hushed except for the crunch of snow beneath the runners.

Escapes: A tour of western Pa. Amish country (Washington Post)

Amish plowing

There’s no sign out front, so my mom and I trust our instincts — and the smell of fresh sawdust — to guide us as we pull off the dirt road and approach the weathered workshop. We’re in search of an authentic Amish-made rocking chair, and judging from the woodworking tools and gently curved rocker bottoms propped against the doorway, we’re in luck.

The noise from the belt-driven bench sander drowns out the sounds of our approach, so it takes a minute before a young Amish man looks up from where he’s sanding the armrest of a nearly completed rocker. His brother, barefoot and probably about 8 or 9 years old, looks up too, giving us a shy grin from beneath the fringe of hair cropped straight across his forehead and flaring out over his ears.

Q&A with Vermont Architect Marcel Beaudin (Dwell)

In my quest to find examples of modern design around Vermont, I frequently came aross the work of Marcel Beaudin. Now in his 80s, Beaudin is still designing new projects and renovating his old projects for former clients and friends. Here's my Q&A with him for Dwell:

Interviews: Architect Marcel Beaudin at

Weathering a Real "Tempest," the Show Goes On for Vermont Shakespeare Company

TempestIt’s ironic for a performance of The Tempest to be canceled — twice — by rain. Actors and audiences were sent scrambling for cover on both Friday and Saturday nights in North Hero as rain sheeted across the open-air stage, robbing Prospero of the prospect of concocting his own tempest with magic and incantations.

But that’s the risk you take when performing outdoors in Vermont, as Vermont Shakespeare Company’s executive director, John Nagle, ruefully acknowledged in his introductory remarks: “We were going to do, The Winter’s Tale next year — but after this year’s tempest, maybe we won’t.”