October always brings change to Southern Vermont. Nights are coming quicker and becoming colder, and the waves of green forests and mountains ranges begin popping with color. Each year, this beautiful change brings ‘leaf peepers’ from all around the world to experience its unique splendor. Fall in Vermont means harvest season. Gourds are strewn decoratively about, paired with haybales, scarecrows, and pumpkins. And soon enough, those pumpkins will be dawning all sorts of spooky faces as Jack-o-lantern season approaches! Take a stroll around town to see the festive scenes throughout Manchester. Remember to bring your camera! And if you’re posting on social media, be sure to tag us at @ManchesterVermont and #ManchesterVT to share your pics with everyone!
Beautiful autumn views can be found at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home. Located on 412 acres in Manchester Village, the historic Lincoln family estate, built by Presidential son Robert Lincoln and his wife Mary, is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a fan of gorgeous architecture, Hildene offers amazing grounds and gardens, trails, Hildene Farm (including goat dairy, cheesemaking facility, and both animals and production gardens in the dene), informative tours, engaging exhibits, and a fabulous museum store. Don’t miss the restored 1903 Pullman railcar “Sunbeam” and the “Many Voices” exhibit (the southernmost stop on Vermont’s African American Heritage Trail).
The month of December is another special time of year to visit Hildene’s Victorian Christmas (the home is bedecked in holiday finery, as though it were Christmas in 1912). With unique educational programs and experiences throughout the year, don’t miss out on one of our most popular visitor destinations. Hildene is a favorite of ours in every season.
Continue your dive through history with a visit to The Wilson House. Constructed in 1852 for Ira Cochran (1810-94), a locally prominent entrepreneur, the hotel that later became known as the Wilson House was the first motel in the village of East Dorset. In later years, the property was bought and renamed the Wilson House in honor of Bill Wilson the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Bill’s story starts with his birth in East Dorset on November 26, 1895, in the Wilson House, his paternal grandparents’ hotel in East Dorset. In his later years, Bill was instrumental in literally saving the lives of millions of people across the globe when he co-created this twelve-step program with Dr. Bob founded to help those in recovery and it continues to do the same in the 21st century. The grandparents’ home, complete with Bill’s second-floor bedroom, is part of the Wilson House property and open to the public.
The Wilson House is Vermont lodging at its coziest and most inviting. Each room has individual A/C, free wifi throughout, and includes a continental breakfast. Featuring 12 guest rooms with shared bath and 1 suite with private bath, it’s a true getaway without phones or television. It’s a great way to truly unplug and take in Vermont’s scenic beauty.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention what comes at the end of this glorious month. Of course, we are speaking of Halloween. If you’re not a fan of the supernatural, don’t fear, because there is always plenty of hauntingly good fun to be found in Manchester, VT.
Enjoy Halloween-themed celebrations that seem to sweep the town from Trunk or Treat with the Northshire Day School or the M.E.M.S. Halloween Parade, or bring the whole family to Halloween on the Hill at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. Looking for a haunted house? WEQX is hosting the spookiest, scariest Halloween haunted house event on Monday, Oct. 30 at the WEQX house: Frightmare on Elm St.! Parties of 8 people will be lead on a spooky tour of the haunted studio plus plenty of other surprises.
Visit the popular “Pumpkin Patch” at Equinox Valley Nursery! Starting mid-September through Halloween, watch as they transform their nursery into a Halloween fantasy. Stroll through the patch with thousands of jolly orange pumpkins, just right for you to pick one up and create that perfect jack-o-lantern. Meander among scenes of whimsical scarecrows and autumn-themed displays. Take a Wagon Ride out to their “North Field” for spectacular foliage views of the Green Mountains. Don’t forget to take a stroll into the Crazy Corn Maze, filled with surprising characters to help you along the way, or help you get lost.
Check out our Daily Events Calendar to learn about all area events.
Looking to bring the whole gang together to celebrate this special season? Manchester offers vacation rentals from cozy cottages to 12-bedroom homes and everything in between. VermontVacation-Rentals.com offers two separate unique homes located just north of the town center. One with 3 bedrooms/3.5 baths and the other with 4 bedrooms/4.5 baths. All with fully equipped kitchens right down to an ice cream scoop. Each has 2+ acres of land and beautiful views of the Green Mountains in any season. Why stay in a room when you can all stay together in your own home away from home?
While in town, stock up on some much-needed snacks or bring your favorite Italian recipe list and pick up the freshest, most authentic ingredients to prepare the night’s feast! The Italian Market of Manchester offers all the fixings for authentic Italian cuisine, including their long-standing family tradition of producing authentic salami and sausages. They also feature a wide selection of imported and local cheeses, imported pasta, unique Italian wines, and, of course, the same authentic salami, fresh sausages, and homemade pasta sauces as before.
With over 30 unique restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and eateries in our area, don’t forget to stop in, relax, and TASTE all the autumn flavors.
Love to eat, love to cook? Vermont Kitchen Supply is here for you. Proprietor Kerry Mackinnon combines her vast expertise and passion for food and community at this popular Manchester shop. Catering to home cooks, professional chefs, and restaurant owners alike, Vermont Kitchen Supply is a one-stop shop for cookware, kitchen tools, gadgets, glassware, and more. Find favorite brands like Staub, DeBuyer, Bodum, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Wusthof, and more! Best of all, Kerry has assembled a team with the same passion and knowledge who are always eager and happy to answer any questions regarding your cooking/baking needs and happy to FaceTime or send videos! Now that’s service.
With designer outlets, unique boutiques not found anywhere else, art and artisan galleries, and quaint mom-and-pop shops, our small Vermont town is a shopper’s paradise any time of year and with the Holiday shopping season fast approaching, why not get a jump start on that filling that wish list and beat the crowds.
It doesn’t take much time spent in Manchester to see all the incredible offerings found in our area. From shopping, to tasting, to experiences and getaways, to every-day living, Manchester offers some of the best!