The Best of Vermont
- Where to Go
- The Best of Vermont
- Rumblings of Revolution
- New, New England Dining
- Boston’s Artistic Expression
- Vermont Leaf Peeping
- Into the Wild
- Vermont Skiing at Its Best
- Visit Vermont’s Maple Sugar Shacks
- Connecticut for Kids
- Vermont’s Covered Bridges
- A Shore Thing
- Vermont with Kids
- Portland Maine Art Galleries
- Small-Town Flavor
- Connecticut’s Wine Trails
- New Hampshire’s Farmers Markets
- A Weekend of Vermont Art
- Family Matters
- Maine Wilderness Camps
- Vermont Cheddar Houses
- Connecticut Spas
The best way to explore Vermont is to get in a car and hit the back roads, stopping at country stores and maple sugar farms nestled in Green Mountain valleys. This two-week tour takes in a mix of Vermont’s prime attractions in an easygoing circle around the state.
From Brattleboro head north along winding Route 30, stopping for a stroll around Newfane’s village green before taking the turn north onto Route 35 to Grafton (45 min.). Here, take a tour of the Grafton Village Cheese Company and the town’s small Nature Museum before a meal at the historical Old Tavern.
Head west on Routes 121 and 11, then north on Route 100 to Weston (30 min.), where you’ll need at least an hour to really explore the phenomenon that is the Vermont Country Store. After lunch, continue north along scenic Route 100 to Plymouth (35 min.) to stand in the company of greatness at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. Push on north along 100A and east on Route 4 to spend the night at the Woodstock Inn in Woodstock (25 min.).
Spend the morning with Vermont’s star bovines at Woodstock’s Billings Farm & Museum. (For a true treat, time your visit with the farm’s Cow Appreciation Day.) Then take in the scenic drive north along Route 12, east on Route 107, and then north along Route 100, ending up in the Mad River Valley town of Warren (90 min.). Spend the afternoon exploring The Warren Store and the picturesque village center.
Take advantage of the Mad River Valley and its many recreational opportunities with a hike up Camel’s Hump or Mount Ellen, a bike ride along the river, or a wild canoe ride on the Mad or Winooski River. While away the afternoon at Waitsfield’s Bridge Street Marketplace, near the state’s second oldest covered bridge.
Head north along Route 100 to Waterbury (30 min.) for a morning tour of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. (It’s never too early for Chunky Monkey!) Continue north along Route 100 to the delightful mock-Tyrolean village of Stowe (20 min.), where you can take in the Vermont Ski Museum and relive The Sound of Music at the Trapp Family Lodge. Stay at one of Stowe’s many friendly inns.
Today, it’s off to the big city! Drive south along Route 100, then west along I‑89 to the big ol’ college town of Burlington (45 min.). Spend the morning strolling among the shops on Church Street before heading to the waterfront in the afternoon for a visit to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center or the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Tonight, take in a show at the Flynn Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Spend another day in Burlington, visiting with Vermont’s most controversial former resident at the Ethan Allen Homestead. In the afternoon, get out onto Lake Champlain with a cruise aboard the hero’s namesake, the Spirit of Ethan Allen III.
Push on south down Route 7 to Middlebury (1 hr.), where you can get a morning tour of Middlebury College’s pristine gray granite campus. After lunch, head east along Route 125 to commune with Vermont’s favorite adopted son with a hike along the meditative Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, before returning to Middlebury to spend the night.
Continue south down Route 7 to the covered bridge capital of Proctor (35 min.), visiting the paean to all things European, Wilson Castle. Stop for lunch in nearby Rutland (15 min.) and then drive to sophisticated Manchester (50 min.) for an afternoon of outlet shopping.
Spend the morning driving up the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive for a beautiful view of the Green Mountains. Then head south down Route 7 to Bennington (40 min.), where you can check out the Bennington Battle Monument and the distinctive folk art of Grandma Moses at the Bennington Museum before spending the night in Bennington.
Spend your last day tracing the meandering Route 9 east over the Green Mountains to the Back to the Future downtown of Wilmington and the quirky college town of Marlboro, before spending one last night in Brattleboro.
© Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall from Moon New England, 2nd Edition