If your idea of a small Vermont town includes white-steeple churches, cozy restaurants and a backdrop of snow-covered mountains, then you might be picturing Manchester. A ski resort town in winter and a hiking mecca in warmer months, Manchester is a retreat from busy city life. Another super popular activity is fly-fishing, which you can learn to do if you’re a first-timer, practice your skills if you’re a pro, or even visit a museum dedicated to the sport. Here are our 10 favorite things to do in Manchester, Vt.
Top 10 things to do in Manchester, Vt.
Start the day off right with hearty and filling fare, like sourdough blueberry pancakes or eggs Benedict and strong coffee at the country-style Up for Breakfast diner. The Little Rooster Café is another cute and homey spot that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll love the chairs, which are painted with nests that are filled with eggs for customers to “keep warm” while they eat!
Get the lay of the land on Mount Equinox Skyline Drive, which leads up to panoramic views of the Green, White, Adirondack, Berkshire and Taconic mountain ranges at 3,848 feet above sea level. There are plenty of scenic drives and outlooks in Manchester, Vt., like the Shires of Vermont Byway and the Stone Valley Scenic Byway, both of which pass through miles of fantastic mountain views and charming towns.
During your Vermont travel adventure, be sure to visit Hildene, the former summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln. The 400-acre estate/museum features formal gardens, walking trails, a farm and President Lincoln’s stovepipe hat. Pack a picnic and stop for a relaxing lunch on the grounds surrounding the Welcome Center.
At the Southern Vermont Arts Center, you can visit studios and exhibits running the gamut from painting to photography and wander through Vermont’s largest sculpture garden. If you like to make art just as much as you like to look at it, visit Manchester Arts, where they offer a variety of art classes and workshops for both kids and adults, including pottery, sewing and Sip n’ Create painting parties.
You don’t have to be a guest to dine, play a round of golf or try pursuits such as falconry at the AAA Four Diamond Rated Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, an anchor in the area since it was built in 1769. There are five on-site restaurants to choose from, like the elegant Colonnade overlooking Mount Equinox. And on a nice night, you don’t want to miss out on relaxing beside the open-air fire pit with a glass of wine while sampling cheese and chocolate truffles at Falcon Bar.
Northshire Bookstore is a delightful independent shop that is certainly one of the most charming things to do in Manchester, Vt. The staff will happily spend time helping you choose a book or leave you alone to discover one on your own. They have a number of author presentations and events throughout the week to enjoy as well.
Vermont is known for its delicious cheeses. Sample local cheese to your heart’s content. Vermont is also famous for its maple syrup, so don’t forget to stock up and bring a few bottles home as souvenirs.
Sign up for classes with expert guides at the Orvis Fly-Fishing School, based out of its enormous flagship store. Don’t miss the indoor/outdoor trout pond. The school is right near the Batten Kill River, so once you’ve mastered your fly-fishing skills, you can test them out there.
Pick up some upscale bargains at the Manchester Designer Outlets, where big names like Armani, Coach, Kate Spade and dozens of others sell their high-end goods for great prices.
Learn about the fine art and history of fly-fishing at the American Museum of Fly Fishing, home to the biggest collection of angling art and objects in the world. Anglers will love getting an up-close look at the evolution of the sport; some items date back to the sixteenth century.
Which of these things to do in Manchester, Vt. would you like to experience? Have you ever been? Tell us in the comments.