Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, Burlington, VT

I’m feeling the love for Vermont this week, in the wake of Hurricane Irene’s destruction. So even though we’re in the middle of Pennsylvania right now, I wanted to share a part of one our BEST family vacations…to Vermont. Thanks to Mara at Mother of All Trips for inspiring me to write about the Green Mountain State this week!

Where we went, and who was coerced into going: I admit, the initial lure to Vermont was Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. And while we did go there, while staying at the amazing Smuggler’s Notch resort, we also stayed in Burlington for four chock-full days of fun. I learned about the world’s tallest filing cabinet after the trip was already planned, but naturally managed to squeeze it into our Burlington itinerary!

Filing Cabinet

Rocking the rust!


 Okay, what was so cool about it?

The cabinet was built in 2002 by local artist Bren Alvarez. The 40+-foot cabinet is actually a stack of 11 metal filing cabinets, in different colors, welded together. The elements have obviously taken their toll, so the rusty tower can’t be long for this world. There’s a total of 38 drawers, on purpose. Alvarez was commenting on the number of years that bureaucratic paperwork accumulated by a proposed beltway project that would have run right through the neighborhood where the cabinet stands.

We didn’t stay to see the filing cabinet for very long. In fact, the kids didn’t even get out of the car. (This was a year before the Go BIG fever infected our household.)

Besides, we had too much other fun stuff to do in Burlington! Our favorite places:

North Beach, even though the waters of Lake Champlain were chilly. The kids will swim in water at any temperature, and the sandy beach was warm.

The ECHO Lake Aquarium Science Center, which sits on the waterfront. ECHO (Ecology, Culture, History and Opportunity) features over 70 live species of marine life, more than 100 interactive experiences, seasonal exhibits and participatory events.


ECHO Burlington

A unique perspective of a fish tank at ECHO

A lake cruise aboard the Ethan Allen. We enjoyed a buffet lunch and a 90-minute narrated tour which brought us to the central and deepest point of the lake, and along Burlington’s coast.

Lake Champlain Chocolates factory tour, where we enjoyed divine hot chocolate at the café. We left with factory seconds of broken chocolate-covered pretzels. (Not surprisingly, they just as good when they’re broken.)

Lake Champlain

"I can't see anything through this thing!" No one can, sweetie.

 The Vermont Teddy Bear Company, which is technically in Shelburne, just south of Burlington. The tour guide explained how teddy bears are made, from cutting fur, sewing, stuffing, to dressing. Of course we ended up in the gift shop making our own customized bears, which were presented with a birth certificate, bow tie, and travel box.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company

Watch out...sometimes, we're all in a cheesy mood at the same time.

 How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list): 9

The filing cabinet in itself only rates a 4. But as an all-around family vacation destination, Burlington is a 9!

Hey you! Go BIG!:

The world’s tallest filing cabinet is on Flynn Avenue in Burlington between Pine Street and Foster Street. But whatever…just go visit Vermont!

For tourism and trip planning info, visit:

Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce

Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing







  1. Mike said,
    September 2, 2011 @ 10:47 am

    I have no idea how you find some of this stuff…..The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet is truly obscure. Nice work. You should give your reserach staff a raise 🙂

  2. Jessica said,
    September 2, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    That thing is crazy tall! Sounds like a fun trip all around.

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