Five Places to Explore Nearby
Five Places to Explore Near Manchester
No matter where you go in Vermont, there are opportunities to stretch your legs, chase big views, and immerse yourself in nature. But if your ideal adventure includes four wheels, good eats, and a freshly brewed latté, we’ve got suggestions for you.
Choose any one of these destinations, each within thirty minutes of Manchester.
Head south on the Shires Byway past small town scenery and historic homes to Bennington’s downtown block. Brimming with eateries, galleries, boutiques and shops, and our favorite – South Street Cafe. Make a visit to Bennington Potters with its gorgeous gardens, signature wares, and maker space. Explore the Bennington Museum and browse three floors of antiques at Camelot. Climb the Bennington Monument for stunning views of the valley or take a stroll by the Old First Church. Save a quiet minute for its cemetery, home to revolutionary war heroes and poet laureate Robert Frost.
On the way: If you hang a right at 313 in Arlington, you’ll follow the Batten Kill down to Vermont’s most photographed covered bridge and the former home of Norman Rockwell.
This charmer is the first little town on Route 30 as it rambles toward the Champlain Valley. In the village center, a picture-perfect green unfolds between Church Street’s marble sidewalks. There’s the quintessential Dorset Inn, the Dorset Union Store, and 3 Pears Gallery. There’s patio dining at Barrows House or a perfect (second) coffee drink at the lovely Dorset Rising. Not to miss, Flower Brook Pottery (buy a piece or paint your own) and Dorset Theatre Festival.
On the way: Swing into JK Adams and pop by Williams Store; each takes a seasonal turn hosting Dorset’s famous farmers market. Pull off by the quarry to sip your coffee, snap a shot (it’s the oldest marble quarry in America) or if it’s summer, take a dip!
Follow Route 30 in the other direction to find Jamaica and its gem of a main street. Quirky storefronts, art galleries, a hot glass studio, and the newly opened North Country General. Yes, Bob Dylan fans — this is for you. Go for a perfect espresso, a glass of rosé, and good eats. Shop for art and vintage wares (irresistible hats, cool jeans, too) plus brunch and live music every Sunday.
If you’ve still got room, there’s Honey Pie – a retro restyled burger joint offering up “honest” fast food made with love and locally sourced ingredients.
The town of Peru made its movie debut as “Hadleyville” in Baby Boom. Located on Route 11 just past Bromley Mountain, the pop. 400 village hosts a famous country fair for one-day only every September. Think, pig roast, hay rides, clogging, artists, music, tons of food and drink. Year round, go just for Hapgood Store. Renovated and re-opened in 2012 by Juliette Britton and her husband Tim, JJ Hapgood offers quality dry goods, local produce, meats and cheeses, craft beer on tap, wood-fired pizzas, and signature plates for eat-in or take-out. Everything is delicious.
On the way: Get your boots dirty at Taylor Farm. Admire cows in the meadow, Magic Mountain in the distance, and sample the creamiest, most delicious gouda on earth.
Tucked among the rolling hills of the picturesque West River Valley, the village of Weston is home to Vermont Country Store, Weston Playhouse (Vermont’s oldest professional theatre company) and the inspiring Weston Priory. Other perks: cool galleries, museums, and a village green that is so on-point you’ll swear you must be dreaming.
We’ve got a weakness for the Bryant House grilled cheese sandwiches — oozing with Private Stock Cheddar. And maybe a cremee at Mildred’s. And if that’s not enough to put you over the top, there’s the gorgeous ride up and back. Yankee Magazine calls Weston’s Route 100 the “most scenic drive in all of New England.”
Have a favorite place to explore near Manchester? Or a stop you’d add to one of these trips? You can leave it for us in the comments.
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