While little Bristol has few bona fide sights, it makes up for that with a kind of “frozen in time” atmosphere that many towns boast and few deliver on. Cradled in the crook of Dearleap Mountain, the village is a welcoming sight for drivers who have just braved the pass over the Green Mountains from the Mad River Valley ; it’s also a last chance to fuel up for those venturing up into the peaks.
Bristol’s all-American downtown recalls the one Marty McFly stumbled upon in Back to the Future, with solid brick rows of storefronts strung with red, white, and blue bunting and filled with neighbors chatting at the bakery or launderette. If you are looking for a place to turn off your cell phone for a while, it might be just the ticket.
The biggest event of the year is Bristol’s annual Fourth of July (802/453-2486, www.bristol4th.com ), a 150-year-old celebration of national pride that features a footrace, parade, live band music, and of course fireworks. In past years, Miss Vermont National Teenager has put in an appearance.
Bristol also holds a Harvest Festival (802/388-7951, www.bristolrec.org ) each year at the end of September. In addition to the usual craft vendors and agricultural competitions, the event includes an antique car rally, with trophies given in more than 20 different categories.