A popular travel destination since the 1800s, Manchester is steeped in history. You can visit our nationally recognized historic sites and museums or join a guided tour and soak up the story of Vermont first hand. Sign up for an off-road tour or just tool along our back roads in search of hidden landmarks, cheese makers, craft producers, and more. Just a short drive from major cities but a world away, Manchester is the gateway to authentic Vermont.
ARTS AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCES IN MANCHESTER
Whether you’re looking for adventure or just a quiet escape, Manchester is just the place. For a quaint mountain town, we’ve got all the big perks; world-class heritage sites, award winning cultural venues, incredible galleries and museums, and recreational activities to suit even the most ardent enthusiast.
Nestled between the Taconic and Green Mountains, and enriched by the waters of the famous Batten Kill, The Shires has long been a popular four-season destination for those seeking an authentic Vermont experience. Anchored by the two county seats of Bennington and Manchester, fifteen towns and villages are united by a common sense of place, history, and culture. The Shires of Vermont Byway connects the Southshire with the Northshire and beckons visitors to enjoy scenery, hospitality, recreation, and the region’s rich heritage.
Mohawks and Iroquois traced this path as long ago as 5,000 BC, as evidenced by projectile points, but Vermont was not settled by those of European origin until the 1760s. This Byway, then a crude path marked by occasional slashes on trees, became a principal route of migrating pioneers and their cattle trudging northward from Litchfield and Berkshire counties seeking life in wilderness newly opened to settlement.
Today it offers a quintessential Vermont road trip experience! Visit a farmers’ markets or browse a neighborhood bakery. Pick your own apples and strawberries. Sip craft cocktails at a boutique hotel or pack a picnic to go from one of our mom-and-pop markets. Take in the views, visit galleries, museums, and historic sites. And stop every so often to sample craft brews, hard cider, farmstead cheeses, and fine chocolates — all in a single drive.