With its deluge of national chain stores, it can be hard to tell Burlington’s  stores from those of any other mall in America. At least, that is, until you look a little harder. Tucked in among the Banana Republics and the Gaps, the town’s outdoor pedestrian promenade does indeed host a handful of distinctive and local shops.
Representing Burlington’s large lefty element in fine style is The Peace & Justice Store (21 Church St., 802/863-2345, www.pjcvt.org , 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Thurs.; 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Fri.–Sat.; noon–5 p.m. Sun.), a nonprofit shop dedicated to educating on everything from globalization and civil rights to healthy eating.
Looking to stock your kitchen right? Look to the selection of high-end cutlery and cookware at Kiss the Cook (72 Church St., 802/863-4226, www.kissthecook.net , 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Thurs.; 9:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat.; noon–5 p.m. Sun.). The locally owned business stocks Fiestaware, bakeware, and pots and pans by names like Emile Henry, Braun, and Viking.
An unusually good (and well-priced) selection of used books can be found at North Country Books (2 Church St., 802/862-6413). Stacked to its ceiling with literature, sci-fi, cookbooks, poetry, and children’s tales, the shop prides itself on encouraging browsing and keeping prices low. It also sells prints, vintage posters and maps, and cards.