A Sunday Drive for Any Day of the Week
(And where to stop along the way!)
If you’re looking for a wonderful day trip, roll your windows down, put your sunglasses on, and crank the music up… we’ve mapped out a charming day drive that winds you through some of Manchester, Vermont’s most scenic backroads, vistas, and sites!
First off, where are you coming from?
- If you’re heading north into town on Route 7, continue past the Manchester Exit. about 4.4 miles after the Manchester exit, take your first left onto 7A, just before East Dorset.
- If you’re coming from 30, down the mountain and into town, take a right on to Route 7 North, about 4.4 miles after the Manchester exit, take your first left onto 7A, just before East Dorset.
- If you’re heading south on Route 7, towards Manchester, take a right on Route 7A just after East Dorset.
Shortly after, (2,500 ft) take a right on to scenic Morse Hill Road where you’ll climb the side of Dorset Mountain for 1.62 miles before taking a left to head South on Overlook Road.
At the end of Overlook Road, head South on North Road and then take a right back on to 7A for about 1.65 miles which will bring you into the heart of downtown Manchester. At the roundabout, take your first exit on to 30 N (Bonnet Street) and head over to Charlie’s Coffee House for breakfast. We recommend grabbing one of their maple pecan sticky buns and an iced, locally roasted, Mocha Joe’s coffee for the road. Their grab and go fridge is stocked with delicious salads and sandwiches that you can take along for lunch later.
Out of the Charlie’s Coffee House parking lot, you’ll want to head North on 30 for 2.74 miles and then take a left onto West Road. After 2.56 miles take a right on to Southern Vermont Arts Center Drive. (Opens July 4th)
Head up the hill to the Southern Vermont Arts Center. There, you can walk the grounds, leisurely hike one of the trails, or visit one of their world-class gallery spaces. With over 100 acres to their campus, SVAC boasts the largest Sculpture park in Vermont. Be sure to hop out of your car and snap a picture by one of the sculptures in the field on your way out!
Head out of SVAC and take a right on to West Road. After .8 miles take a right on to Seminary Ave (which turns into Prospect Street) where you’ll immediately see the marble façade of the Burr and Burton Academy’s Hildene Extension Program. Along Prospect Road you’ll drive by some of Manchester’s gorgeous and historic mansions until you meet back up with 7A where you will take a right and head South. You’ll pass the stately Inn at Ormsby Hill on your left. Continue for 3.4 miles and then take a left onto Hill Farm Road. Follow it to the end until you meet up with Sunderland Hill Road and then turn left. Sunderland Hill Road turns into River Road which boasts sweeping views of the Green Mountains, bucolic rolling fields, and river stone walls. You’ll pass Hildene’s BBA Campus on your right and the Wilburton Inn Mansion sits high on the hill above.
At the end of River Road, take a right on to 7A and drive through historic Manchester Center where you’ll notice that most of these sensational historic homes are the signature, Vermont-farmhouse white. You’ll pass the famed Equinox Resort and as you follow 7A at the fork, you’ll pass the luxurious Taconic Hotel (A Kimpton Property) as you make your way back toward the town center. At the second roundabout in town, bear right on to 30 and take your first left to park. Enjoy your lunch with the calming background noise of the waterfall at Factory Point Town Green Park.
From the park, after such a long drive. Stretch your legs at the Manchester Designer Outlets. The Manchester Designer Outlets are an upscale collection of over 40 designer outlet boutiques catering to savvy shoppers and discerning travelers year-round. Browse world-class clothing, footwear, home goods, accessories, and specialty foods. (And don’t forget, clothing is tax-free in VT!) If you’re in the mood for more scenery, don’t miss the Manchester Riverwalk.
Be sure to stop at Above All Vermont before you head back to your car where you can wander a collection of old-timey fixtures and antique display cases offering up thousands of handcrafted, quirky, and delicious goods. There’s a “syrup” section, a cheese collection, a kid’s corner, an apothecary (we love the bath blasters and all-natural soaps!) plus penny candy, memorabilia, jewelry, pottery, and more.
Hop back in your car and head East on 30 for 1.62 miles to round out your day with dinner at Social House, a Mediterranean based restaurant where you can enjoy your meal in their fantastic outdoor patio area. Social House (SoHo) is one of the area’s newest restaurants—and it’s been getting rave reviews. Led by restaurateur Luis Pazos and his wife of 11 years, Debbie Pazos, who combined have 25 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry, including working together in the world-renowned French-Seafood restaurant Le-Bernardin in NYC before moving to Manchester. Accompanied by Executive Chef Kyle Garell, a Neci graduate from Wilmington, VT with over 20 years of experience. His passion for seafood and freshly made pasta are staples in his diverse small plates menu. But fair warning, SoHo is popular so you’ll want to make reservations a few days in advance.
After dinner, you can tuck into one of the favorite local Inns or Hotels, or easily hop on the road to head home. Though, we’re pretty sure that after a day full of such beautiful local scenery, you’ll want to check out these Three Manchester Vermont Real Estate Agencies with Exceptional Reputations.