Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, this former iron-mining town today is the quintessential Vermont getaway, complete with a white steeple church, antique shops and cozy country inns. Manchester is a true all-season destination. In winter, skiers arrive to hit the downhill slopes at nearby Bromley and Stratton Mountains or the cross-country trails at Hildene. Spring and summer bring hikers who can opt for easy treks through Merrick Forest or more challenging ones like Prospect Rock, a three-mile hike, mostly uphill, that offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains as reward to those who make it. Manchester fly-fishing is also a popular pastime, drawing enthusiasts from around the country who come to learn or hone their skills. Big name outlet stores in Manchester Center draw shoppers year-round. In the fall, it's all about foliage. Enjoy the vibrant colors from a canoe on the mighty Battenkill River, a bicycle along a scenic path or kick back and take it all in from a comfy rocking chair on the porch of a historic inn. No matter what your vantage point, the show is always spectacular.
Restaurants in Manchester
4.5 based on 1 reviews
Historic home of Robert Lincoln, only child of President and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood. The estate has beautiful gardens, restored 1903 wooden Pullman palace car, goat farm and cheesemaking facility, 12+ miles of walking trails, teaching greenhouse and cross-country skiing in winter.
My husband just happened on Hildene while poking around online. Our interest in American history has piqued (thanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda!) and as a result we’ve started visiting many points of interest in the Northeast, not all relating to the Revolutionary War. We’ve been to Philadelphia and Valley Forge, Gettysburg, FDR’s home and museum in Hyde Park, NY and Roosevelt Island in NYC.
When we found out that President Lincoln’s son, Robert, his only son to live to adulthood, we knew we had to visit. Hildene is just a few miles from the Equinox Resort on Main Street, our Manchester address. It’s set on 500 acres, and in addition to the home and gardens, there’s also a visitor’s center and gift shop, and a gloriously restored Pullman railroad car because Robert Lincoln was the company’s president for a time.
The home was built in the early 1900s as a family home. We were fortunate to visit at a time of year where visitors were scant, and practically had a private tour. The second floor of the home also has a small museum dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, including his top hat and dressing room mirror, which it is thought, is the last looking glass in which Lincoln looked at his reflection before heading to Ford’s Theater.
Unfortunately, the gardens are rather bare in February, and there’s a working farm with small farm animals, but Spring and Summer are better viewing times for those highlights.
4.5 based on 126 reviews
This was beyond our wildest expectations. We were a bit hesitant before committing to the drive, but were blown away by it. On this crystal clear fall afternoon the view was breathtaking. There are several viewing stops on the way up which offer an ever increasingly awe inspiring vistas. It is also a good idea to rest your engine. The drive up requires a bit of skill and the ride down require steady nerves and even more skill. The advise given should be followed to the T. Regardless of the effort the reward for it is well worth it. Once at the top, the visitors center gives a comprehensive time line of the history of the center and the monks and monastery and the relation between them. There is a very small chapel which should be given a bit of time to.
It's worth every dime>
4.5 based on 183 reviews
The path was a slight incline at the beginning but gradually turned into quite a workout. The scenery was beautiful and the path was well marked. The path gets very rocky at times and I highly recommend that you wear proper shoes. Trail shoes or hiking boots are a very good idea...I wore a casual sneaker...not a good choice. The falls at the end of the path was very nice...kinda trickling down this time of year...probably a lot more water in the springtime. The area around the falls also became very crowded...people and dogs. A few people hiked with children...saw one or two as young as 4 or 5. Overall, a great afternoon in the woods.
4.5 based on 98 reviews
Founded more than 50 years ago by a group of local artists, the cultural center includes a beautiful Georgian mansion that showcases changing exhibits, the Arkell Pavillion, a performing arts center and the Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum, which houses the center's permanent collection of more than 700 paintings.
Driving up the winding driveway full of sculptures is a trip in itself! Although the one building was closed while a new photography exhibit was being set up, the main gallery building was open and very interesting to wander through. There are some permanent art pieces here and some that are from a trip that artists took together in Tuscany. All the galleries are worth a nice wander and many pieces are for sale. A lovely way to spend an afternoon in this area.
Suggestion: check their website for current offerings
5 based on 37 reviews
This great park has everything, from swimming, to ball fields, walking trails and a dog part - we were there for the dog park. Big, clean, and a good place to let ours off leash
4 based on 128 reviews
Manchester Designer Outlets consists of beautiful New England-style buildings dotted along Rtes 7A & Routes 11/30, in the heart of Manchester, Vermont. Manchester Designer Outlets is woven into the fabric of Manchester Center. Visitors can walk from one store to another and one property to another. Restaurants and inns are within minutes of Manchester Designer Outlets. Beautifully landscaped and accessible.
Nothing worth going out of the way for. If you're in the Manchester area and want to go shopping then these stores will be happy to take your money.
4.5 based on 33 reviews
Everything you ever wanted to know about the sport of fishing.
Your $5 entrance fee gets a complete history of fly fishing from ancient Egypt to the present, technical innovations. I am not a fisher woman but I enjoyed learning about this beautiful aesthetic sport. Yes fish are a staple in many diets but to the art of catching fish is a lyrical passion.
Fun fact: the third most printed book in the English language is "The Contemplative Man's Recreation" a book about fishing.
The link between Manchester, Orvis sporting goods and fly fishing is highlighted. Not only was Orvis a fly fishing innovator but his daughter, Mary Orvis Mabury continued his work. She contributed a delightful exhibition on fly fishing to the 1893 Chicago World Fair that is displayed at this site.
The museum links fly fishing to wine, presidents, the industrial revolution, the environmental movement and stars of film and literature. Really a lovely hour and a half tour that introduces one to an interesting American sub-culture.
Open every except Monday. 10-4.
4.5 based on 7 reviews
At the top of the populated section of Rootville Rd is a small area for parking cars (accommodates about 4 vehicles) From the parking area it is approximately 1.7 miles to the top of the road and it is all up hill. The views from Prospect Rock are spectacular and the walk up is pleasant. You are treated to one of the finest cascades I can remember walking alongside. A spectacular rush of water just to the right side of the road.
Prospect Rock is located almost directly across from where the Appalachian Trail turns off Rootville Rd and in to the woods. The signage for that is more obvious than the marker for Prospect Rock so when you see that on your left look to the right and there is a path and a small clearing leading to the wonderful views that are the pay off for you effort.
4.5 based on 11 reviews
Designer outlet stores.
Manchester Depot is a special little area only a block off the beaten track and well worth finding. Al Ducci's Italian Pantry is a source of wonderful, authentic Italian ingredients and prepared foods. Simple Nest ( usually open only on Th, Fr and Sat) carries an eclectic mix of shabby chic and cutting edge design ---you can find unique items for home, garden and children as well as jewelry, cosmetics, stationery items etc.. Le Depot is another favorite spot with antique and vintage furniture, accessories and clothing. Robin Lane makes custom clothing in luscious fabrics, Ramsey Gourd is an architect and Mary Jo Gourd a designer with offices in a beautifully restored opera house. I'm sure there's more, but these are some of my favorite shops.
4.5 based on 15 reviews
The Museum of the Creative Process is a center of creative discovery, innovative research, and intellectual retreat. Located in historic Manchester Village on the estate of the Wilburton Inn, the Museum brings together a global array of both modern and traditional creativity. More than just an art center, the Museum is dedicated to understanding the psychological properties of creativity, bridging art and science to gain insight into human relations, interpersonal and interpsychic conflict. Founded and directed by Albert Levis, M.D., the Museum is a haven of artists, scholars, scientists, public intellectuals, and poets.
This 'museum' consists mostly of sculpture on the grounds of the Wilburton Inn. Dr. Levis, the owner, is a psychiatrist who expresses his beliefs about the correlation between conflict resolution and creativity through this 'art'. No such thing as a brief conversation with him, but, despite hardly understanding his 'lecture', we were charmed.
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