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Destination Recreation: Ethan Allen Tower - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Destination Recreation: Ethan Allen Tower

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

After you turn into Ethan Allen Park, it's a very short hike in to the tower -- part road, and part trail -- before you reach the highest geographic point in Burlington, where the tower stands, surveying the city.

You can wind up the few flights of stairs, admiring the red stone it's made of, which was quarried right from the park. The tower was built in 1905.

And when you reach the top -- a sweeping panorama of the city.

"It's somewhat of a hidden gem," says land steward Dan Cahill. "One of the things that's great about it is you get the lake, you get the Adirondacks, but you also get the Green Mountains. So you kind-of have this full 360 view that's pretty spectacular."

The Burlington Parks Department maintains the tower, but a group of volunteers open up the gates to allow people up from about 9 or 10 in the morning until sunset, Mother's Day through Columbus Day, when the weather permits.

"It's a huge asset to the community. Before they existed the tower was only unlocked for special occasions," Cahill says.

And for the history buffs, the tower's past offers interesting tidbits. The land was once owned by Ethan Allen, and when it was donated, it came with the condition that a tower be built. And that's only the beginning.

"During World War II this was used as an observatory. There was a 24-hour volunteer watch during World War II for enemy fighter planes," Cahill says.

These days the only fighter planes you might see from here are our Green Mountain Boys, but the skies are quiet now, and you can see the changing foliage for miles.

"It doesn't get old, you know?" Cahill says. "It kind of hits you as soon as you walk through the opening of the tower. It hits you right away. It kind of just reinforces what a special place we have here.

A special place tucked right in the heart of Vermont's largest city.

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