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Blog :: 2014

Vermont Shopping: Our Guide to the Manchester Outlets and More

Even in the Green Mountains, we can’t spend every day getting lost in the woods. When it’s time to hang up the skis and dust off our suits, we sometimes forget that there’s more to this great state than maple syrup and flannel. In fact, you don’t need to head south to find a perfect new tie — go ahead, hang around an extra day and prepare for that big meeting Vermont style. You’ll discover world class shopping in Vermont at the Manchester Outlets, along with an array of artisanal storefronts. Here are some of our favorite stops for shopping the outlets in Vermont.

Manchester Outlets Vermont Shopping J. Crew

Manchester Designer Outlets

From Ann Taylor Factory to Zoey’s Deli, the shops that make up the Manchester Designer Outlets have something for everyone. You’ll find nearly 40 different retailers and restaurants, with familiar names like Brooks Brothers and Vineyard Vines nestled among upscale café counters and bistros. This collection of designer stores and factory outlets is one of our favorite hubs for shopping in Vermont, and Manchester’s surrounding landscape makes the deals that much sweeter.

Northshire Bookstore Mancheter VTNorthshire Bookstore

One of the largest independent bookstores in New England, the Northshire Bookstore combines a cozy, laid-back atmosphere with some of the best book shopping anywhere in Vermont. You’ll find all kinds of niche and specialty titles on the shelves here, as well as plenty of gifts and souvenirs and an entire Children’s floor. It’s no surprise that Publisher’s Weekly voted it the Best Bookstore in America.

Manchester Woodcraft

Since 1950, Manchester Woodcraft has designed, manufactured and sold wooden decorations and furniture to the people of Vermont. Today, you can find virtually any wooden craft inside its doors, including handmade Adirondack chairs, authentic Vermont maple cutting boards and furniture, and all manner of wooden toys and knick-knacks. You can even create your own custom orders to get truly unique wooden wonders.

Orvis

With its combination of fly-fishing specialty and outdoor apparel, the flagship Orvis storefront in Manchester is any outdoor lover’s dream. The entire building exhibits classic Vermont style, with genuine wood beam construction, a huge fireplace, and an indoor fish pond. You can even wade into the world of fly fishing with classes and fly tying demos.

The Kitchen Store at J.K. Adams

Foodies and kitchen enthusiasts, this one’s for you. The Kitchen Store at J.K. Adams houses three floors of kitchenware and cooking supplies. It’s the ultimate place to stock your cabinets with pots, pans, appliances and decorations. We like to start in the sale section, which is loaded with special deals and factory seconds to whet your appetite.

Kitchen Store at J.K. Adams

The Gold Trout

Looking for a unique gift or greeting card? Want to get something that you’re sure nobody else has? The Gold Trout is the place. With fine stationery, quality accessories, and creative gift ideas, the Gold Trout brings you one step closer to smiles and celebrations.

Shopping till you drop is easier when you have a place to drop nearby, and Manchester makes a great full-day or afternoon trip from your Vermont rental home at Chimney Hill. After you leave the last cash register, you can grab a bite to eat and be back in your living room in less than an hour to look over the day's spoils.

Six Reasons to Try Snowshoeing in Southern Vermont

Generations of winter visitors know and love Vermont for its downhill and cross-country skiing, but sliding on waxed planks isn’t for everyone all the time. If you want to explore the snow at a more controlled pace and place your steps with care, snowshoeing in southern Vermont is for you. It’s the perfect low-impact alternative on a day off from the slopes or a first-time winter adventure. There’s no speed limit, though — you can make snowshoeing as heavy or as light of a workout as you like. If you’re not convinced, here are six reasons to try snowshoeing in Vermont.

Snowshoeing in Southern Vermont

Modern Technology  

Snowshoeing started thousands of years ago as a way for explorers and hunters to move across heavy snow more easily, but in just the last couple of decades, hi-tech snowshoes have gotten lighter, easier to strap on and less clunky to maneuver. Couple these modern snowshoes with careful trail grooming and you get a fun and easy winter sport that’s accessible to people of all ages and experience levels.

Easy Learning Curve

The biggest benefit of snowshoeing compared to cross-country skiing is that it’s easy to learn. If you can walk, you can snowshoe, though it can still take a little bit of getting used to. First-timers will quickly figure out how to make their steps smoother and more efficient, saving energy. One major tip is that small strides go a long way — shorter steps help save energy and make pacing easier. 

The Gear List is Short 

Modern SnowshoesWhen you ski or snowboard, you need the skis themselves, but you also need poles, boots, goggles, a helmet, and a lift ticket to pull the day off without a hitch. Snowshoeing really only requires the snowshoes (and sometimes poles) — everything else is just normal winter gear. It's more affordable than skiing or snowboarding that way, and it saves time, too. 

You Can Go Anywhere 

It can take years of alpine skiing practice to feel comfortable straying from groomed trails. Snowshoeing is certainly easier on a groomed track, but as long as you know where you’re going, the real fun comes when you make your own path along an unexplored stream bed or hillside ridge. There’s nothing quite like looking back at your own set of new shoe prints in fresh snow.?

Snowshoeing is Serious Exercise

It's tough to stay in shape when the mercury drops. Running and cycling are out—unless you're on top of the fat bike trend—and while skiing and snowboarding can be great for flexibility and a bit of strength, you have to train and ski pretty hard to get a real workout. You can tailor a Vermont snowshoeing adventure to fit just about any workout schedule, though: break trail up a steep hill to build leg strength, or bring it up to a jogging pace on a pre-packed loop to get in some cardio.

It's Right in Your Backyard

The list of places to snowshoe in southern Vermont is nearly endless, but it starts right outside the door of your southern Vermont rental home. Lace up your boots and strap in, and head over toward the Clubhouse and skating rink. There, you'll find the Birchwood recreation area, with a large piece of land designated for nonmotorized use. The Ridge Trail is one of our favorites. Keep an eye out for on-site demo days and local rental deals, too, from our friends at Zoar Adventure Center right here in Wilmington. 

The top photo is by Zoar Adventure Center.

Best Ski Morning Breakfasts in the Mount Snow Valley

Getting ready to hit the slopes requires more than just a warm coat and good skis. You need to be physically ready, too, and a big part of that is having a good breakfast to fuel up. If you’re like us, you know it’s far easier to grab something fast and filling rather than spending hours cooking and cleaning before you can get to the slopes. Here are some of our breakfast restaurants in the Mount Snow Valley area. 

Dot’s of Wilmington

Dot's Restaurant - Wilmington VT BreakfastGourmet Magazine calls Dot’s in Wilmington a national treasure, and the restaurant has been featured in Ski, Skiing, and Vermont Life — with good reason. Dot’s is an absolute must-stop for southern Vermont breakfast. If you’re in the mood for some serious food, the pancakes, waffles, and French toast are guaranteed to delight. For a quicker stop, they also have a selection of fresh-baked muffins and other pastries. No matter your Vermont breakfast needs, Dot’s is an institution. You owe it to yourself to find out why.

Dot’s Diner of Dover

Two restaurants named Dot’s? We’re not entirely sure how it happened either – maybe the name “Dot’s” is just a signal for great breakfast food. Whatever the reason, Dot’s Diner in Dover is a separate entity from Dot’s of Wilmington, and offers its own take on delicious breakfast food. Be sure to try the house specialty Cajun Skillet while you’re inside, or fill up on some of their huge, fluffy pancakes. Just remember to get there early if you want to be out fast — this is a busy place.

southern Vermont breakfast stop - Dot's Diner Dover VT

Sticky Fingers Bakery

No time to sit down and linger over pancakes and coffee? We get you – and so does Sticky Fingers Bakery in West Dover. Famous sticky buns, delicious danishes, incredible croissants – the list of scrumptious pastries goes on and on. Sticky Fingers will also bake you a cake to help you celebrate any event that needs celebrating, and they’ll also serve up some tasty ice cream alongside. The owners warn that they can sell out of popular goods during the busy season, so if you have a big group of skiers you may want to call ahead.

Market Fresh Café at Mount Snow

Oops – you got the entire way to the mountain and just realized you forgot to eat. What now? Simple – stop by the Market Fresh Café at Mount Snow to grab a quick bite before skiing out. Simple, straightforward breakfast and lunch fare is the name of the game here, including egg sandwiches, French toast, burgers, and a full salad bar. Be sure to look out for specials during holiday weekends and events. Also, don’t be surprised if it’s busy – you probably aren’t the only one who forgot to eat.

Vermont Breakfast - Pancakes

Your Vermont Rental Home Kitchen

All of these options are great for the days you’re up early and raring to go, but what about that one day in every ski trip when you just want to lay around in your thermal gear sipping hot coffee and watching the snow come down? No worries – when you stay at a Vermont winter rental home, you’ll have a full kitchen at your disposal so you can whip up whatever your heart desires.

Five Tips to Consider When Choosing Vermont Vacation Rentals

There's a lot to consider when planning a vacation, and with so many Vermont lodging options available, it can be tough to keep track and make a decision. Some places are more suited to couples while others have room for the whole family. It's important to know what's included with different Vermont vacation rentals — these five tips can help you make effective comparisons. 

Tip #1: Factor in the Length of Your Stay

Vermont Rental Home Kitchen

Most Vermont rental homes are privately owned, so they have their own unique charm. You'll see more variation in parameters like the minimum stay length compared to hotel rooms. Some owners work on a short-term rental schedule, so their homes are available for weekend trips, while others prefer to rent for months or more at a time. If you can find a Vermont vacation home whose rental schedule matches your vacation schedule, you'll get the most for your money and enjoy the most convenience. For example, if you plan on visiting Vermont all four weekends in January, with one full-week vacation in the middle, it can be cheaper (and exponentially more convenient) to rent one home for the entire month than to check in and check out of different Vermont lodging arrangements each visit. 

Tip #2: Know What’s Included

You've got enough to pack without throwing in extra stuff because you're not sure it's included. It's worth confirming ahead of time whether you'll need things like towels, sheets, or DVDs for the kids. Logistical issues like garbage day and snow removal are easy to overlook in the planning stages but they're important as anything when you're actually there. When you’re getting ready to rent a Vermont vacation rental house or condo, check with the owner or the rental agency to find out what amenities and services included and what you’ll need to bring or do yourself.  

Vermont Vacation Rental Snow Removal

Tip #3: Learn How to Get Around and Where to Park

If you’re staying in a privately owned home or a rental house in a neighborhood, be sure to pinpoint its location in relation to ski resorts, restaurants, museums, and other attractions you're planning to visit. Sure, we're well into the age of the GPS, but you never know what kind of reception you'll have in the mountains. Consider a couple of different travel routes. Snowfall predictions are still an inexact science, and what's good for the slopes can be treacherous for travel. It's important to scout parking, too — you'd be surprised at how many places charge for parking on top of their overall rate. 

Tip #4: Know What to Leave Behind

Many of us prefer the privacy that comes with renting a home instead of a hotel room — it's one sure way to avoid a knock from housekeeping at 7am. And 7:07am, and 7:26am. With no regular service, though, most homeowners will expect some courtesy upon checkout, and it's important to understand those expectations going in. Find out in advance what kinds of deposits and cleaning fees are required, if any. You might be asked to leave behind clean dishes and swept floors, or these services might be covered. 

Tip #5: Hotel-Style vs. Private Rentals

Vermont Vacation Rentals MapIf you want a true home-away-from-home experience, a privately owned Vermont vacation rental is your best bet. Privately owned homes are just that – someone’s home that they rent out when they aren’t using it themselves. This way, you get access to a host of amenities most hotels won’t have, such as full kitchens, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, personalized decorations, and extra features like DVD collections and wood-burning fireplaces. 

Hotel-style lodging can be convenient, but it's generally more expensive per square foot and includes limited amenities. Daily housekeeping services are a plus, but these types of rentals become less and less worthwhile the longer you stay. 

At Chimney Hill, we work with homeowners to ensure that each Vermont vacation rental home includes services like snow removal and uses a convenient process for check-in and check-out, while retaining its own unique character and charm. Located right in Wilmington, we're minutes away from Mount Snow, and guests have access to a skating rink, outdoor pool, hiking trails, and our newly renovated clubhouse. 

What to Bring Skiing: Mount Snow Vermont Ski Trip Checklist

The time has come to pack up and head for the hills — Vermont’s Green Mountains, that is. The big ski trip to Mount Snow has been burning a hole in your calendar for months, and before you know it, you’ll be there. Packing can be a little frantic, though, and there are few more frustrating feelings than pulling into your destination to realize you’ve forgotten something. This ski trip checklist can help you stay on top of your gear needs so you can spend more time worry free on top of Mount Snow, whether you're planning a family vacation in Vermont or hitting the slopes with friends.

Ski Trip Checklist Bare Essentials

The Bare Essentials

Blame it on human nature, work stress, or last night’s shenanigans, but it’s easier than we’d like to admit to forget some of skiing’s bare essentials. Try this: as you reach for your car’s ignition to embark on your Vermont ski trip, say “skis, boots, poles, helmet, goggles, gloves, jacket, snow pants,” either out loud or in your head, in the same order every time. Don’t just rattle off the words though. With each one, think of where in the car that object is and remember putting it there (or realize you haven’t). There are obviously other things, like ski socks, that you’ll need on your packing checklist, but in our opinion, these eight pieces of ski gear are the worst to leave behind.

Vermont Ski Trip Road

Pack Your Bags Like a Pro 

Small stuff is a big pain to remember, especially if you don’t always need it depending on the weather. We’re talking things like glove liners, hand warmers, neck gaiters, goggle cleaning cloths, thermal underwear and upper base layers, along with ski socks and the essentials listed above. One trick we picked up — from a professional mountain guide who still does this every time he travels, no less — is to think of a bed, floor, or other big, flat surface as a puzzle or game board. Lay out each small piece of gear in the same spot every time so you can see it all at once before putting things in your bag. You can even go one step further and imagine putting it on to start a day at the mountain. If something’s missing, it’ll be more obvious this way. 

Start With the Right Gear

Ski clothing technology has come so far over the years that, barring sub-zero wind chill days, there’s just no reason to be cold or uncomfortable while you’re out on the slopes. Outerwear should be both waterproof and breathable: Gore-Tex and similar fabric blends are the name of the game. Even the best skiers and riders take a dive into the snow once in a while, so it’s better to air on the side of staying dry no matter what. Heavily insulated jackets and pants can work fine, but we prefer a thin waterproof shell as a top layer, leaving an array of options underneath for every line on the thermometer.

Base layers ought to be flexible, comfortable, and fit snugly without being tight. Materials like microfleece, spandex, and other synthetics work together to wick moisture away from your body and prevent you from freezing or overheating. Avoid cotton at all costs — it soaks easily, dries slowly, and makes you cold. 

Mount Snow Lodging Chimney Hill

Stay Organized Where You're Staying 

Trying to pack the whole crew into a couple of hotel rooms is always stressful, and doing it with a mountain of ski bags is downright lunacy. When there’s not enough room, ski gear ends up where it shouldn’t: under beds and dressers, behind end tables, and in that one bathroom vanity drawer that no one opens except to deposit an extra toothbrush and promptly forget about it. When you stay at a Vermont rental home near Mount Snow, you’ll have plenty of space to breathe easy, unwind, and keep organized.

Photo 1: "Ski Models 2010," by Kunstpiste. 

How to Find the Best Mount Snow Deals

Nothing beats a ski trip to Mount Snow — except a ski trip to Mount Snow that costs less than the sticker price. The mountain's 85 trails are lined with hundreds of state-of-the-art snow guns and their output gets finished off by one of America's most respected grooming fleets. Add an array of mountainside dining options and a bustling base area, and it's no wonder that prime-season lift tickets can top out near $90. That's a price the savvy skier can steer clear of, though, as long as you plan your trip in advance and pay attention to the abundance of Mount Snow deals available.

Mount Snow Deals - Bluebird Express

Find Online Lift Tickets in Advance

One of the best ways to find cheap Mount Snow lift tickets is to buy them online before your trip. Depending on the day and how far ahead you're able to plan, this Mount Snow ticket deal can save you as much as 70% off the retail price.

There are a couple of different outlets for advance lift tickets online. One is the online Mount Snow ticket window. Just enter your visit dates and click to start saving. This option is especially useful for families and first-time visitors because deals can include rental equipment and other goodies.

Other ticket sellers like Liftopia are a good option too. On Liftopia, you can buy discount ski tickets months in advance. You'll notice that the lowest prices are available on days when you wouldn't expect the mountain to be crowded—weekdays and non-holiday periods—the perfect excuse to take a couple days off from work.

Ski on Discount Days

Mount Snow treats skiers and riders to a handful of special ticket discount days across the season. Get out your calendar and highlight these bright blue — it's time to make the Bluebird Express an official part of your schedule. Keep an eye on Mount Snow's website since these discount days can change from year to year.

Mount Snow Skiing

Founder's Day - Mount Snow sold its first tickets on December 12, 1954, and has been known to celebrate that anniversary with steeply discounted rates. 2014 marks the mountain's 60th year in operation, with $12 tickets and an array of other giveaways and deals around the hill.

Youth Pay Their Age Day - The kids are growing up too fast, and here's one more reason they ought to slow down: one day each year, skiers and riders under 18 can pay their age to ski at Mount Snow. Yes, that's really $9 for a nine-year-old.

Valentine's Day - Mount Snow usually runs a couples' deal on or around Valentine's Day. As of 2015, it's $49 for two tickets, leaving plenty left over for a romantic evening. Like most of these deals, you have to hit it online a few days before the event, so get your cupid's arrow ready in advance.

St. Patrick's Day - Don that bright green parka you've been saving since 1995, pull a couple of glass mugs from the freezer and toast the luck of the Irish, because the Mount Snow St. Patrick's Day deal means you ski for just $17.

Sign Up for Email Newsletters

We know you've got that one email account with 8,257 unread messages that you use to sign up for different businesses' mailing lists. Ski-related email newsletters are different, though. When you type your real email address into the box at mountsnow.com, you're signing up for thoughtful updates on snow and conditions, and, best of all, reminders about lift ticket deals. Can't remember when Youth Pay Their Age Day is coming up this year? Mount Snow's magic email wizards are going to let you know at least once. Here are a few other must-have email newsletters for Vermont lift ticket deals:

Ski Vermont Newsletters - Get your Vermont lift ticket deals right from the source via the Vermont Ski Areas Association. As a bonus, their website has ski conditions, snowstorm totals, and more from all around the state aggregated in one spot. Keep an eye on the site's Deals tab, too. One of the most popular ongoing Ski Vermont Deals is the Fifth Grade Passport (link to YouTube video), which lets fifth graders from any state ski for free in Vermont.

Ski Vermont Fifth Grade Passport Deal

Boston.com Newsletters - Boston.com offers an array of newsletters available on one signup form, and the one you want is aptly named SkiMail. It's another prime source for mountain updates and New England lift ticket deals. Follow the Ski Guru Blog http://www.boston.com/travel/explorene/specials/ski/blog/, too, but be warned — keeping this well-connected with the ski world might have unexpected side effects, like the desire to quit your job and finally just move to Vermont.

No matter how many Mount Snow deals we rack up or how much snow is pounding the slopes, most of us can't just drop everything for a new life in the mountains. Once in a while we can come pretty close, though. That coveted three-day weekend or a stretch of saved-up vacation days is just enough to remind us what winter really feels like. When it's time to plan your ski trip, there's one more deal to be had: Vermont rental homes are available just minutes from Mount Snow at great rates, with all the space and amenities you'd expect in your own little slice of Vermont.

Vermont Pizza: The 5 Best Pizza Shops Near Wilmington VT

Pizzapalooza Wilmington Vermont Pizza

It's time to put the myth to rest: in spite of New Yorkers' loyalty to their home city ovens, pizza in Vermont can be pretty darn tasty, and it's a staple in the Wilmington restaurant scene. Whether you're a thin crust connoisseur or a deep-dish diehard, a lover of plain cheese or piled vegetables, these five Vermont pizza shops slice some of the best pies in the Green Mountain State.

La Toscanella 

La Toscanella Pizza VT

Just a few miles north of Wilmington, La Toscanella is not just a great pizza place in southern Vermont – it's a great pizza place, period. No matter where you're from, you'll enjoy their signature brick-oven fired thin crust pizzas, including classic Margherita pizza, delicious chicken pesto pizza, and the ever-popular option to create your own. They also have an extensive menu of other options including panini, salads, subs, and pasta dinners, and they're one of the few pizza places in the area that delivers. 

Little Anthony's Pizzeria

Though it's a few miles up Route 100, Little Anthony's Pizzeria in West Dover, VT is well worth the drive. Their delicious menu of pizzas and sandwiches will satisfy even the largest appetite and they offer good gluten-free options. Feel free to build your own pizza out of their selection of more than 30 toppings, or try one of their specialty pizzas, such as the Classic White, the Farmer's Market, or the Vermonter, which features maple pulled pork, smoked bacon, mozzarella cheese and homemade BBQ sauce. 

Pizzapalooza Micropub

If you're in the mood to soak in a little atmosphere while you enjoy your pie, you should check out Pizzapalooza in downtown Wilmington. Great pizzas, great drinks, and great live music combine to make this one of the best spots to hang out and enjoy some delicious food in town. Pizzas, salads, wings, and a wide selection of wines, beers, and cocktails are all highlights here. Live music acts take the stage most Friday and Saturday nights, so make sure to stop in and see who's playing while you feast on some delicious eats!

Pizzapalooza Wilmington Vermont

Wilmington House of Pizza

Looking for some classic, old-school pizza with no muss and no fuss? The Wilmington House of Pizza is the place for you. There's plenty of gooey, cheesy goodness to be found under this roof, along with lots of delicious subs, salads, appetizers, and pasta dinners. You can even get their homemade dough to go for a little head start on your own homemade pizza.

Marigold Kitchen

Even though it's a bit of a trip from Wilmington, Marigold Kitchen in Bennington is one of the best places in the area to get a quality pizza. Organic and vegan ingredients like arugula, fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, soppressata and vegan cheese make Marigold Kitchen's pizzas a delicious and nutritious treat. You can choose from regular, whole-wheat, or gluten-free vegan crust, too. 

A day topped off with Vermont pizza is no day to spend hours on a car ride home — if you're looking for a place to stay for your next trip to the Wilmington area, imagine kicking back in the private comfort of your very own Vermont rental home at Chimney Hill.

Where to Get Discount Ski and Snowboard Gear in Vermont

Skis & ski equipment

There are many reasons to love skiing & snowboarding -- our favorite winter sports are fun, active, they get you outside, and can be just as fun on your own as with friends. One thing they aren't, though, is cheap. The cost of boots, boards, skis, and layers upon layers of clothes adds up quickly, even before tacking on your season pass or lift ticket. For savvy skiers and riders, we've put together some of the best places to find discount ski gear and snowboard equipment in Vermont. 

Ski Shop Tent Sales

Ski and snowboard shops that offer demos often have a stock of lightly-used gear at the end of each season that needs to go. As these shops make way for next year's crop of skis and boards, they often offer last year's fleet of demos at great prices. The same is true of their unsold stock, and many ski shops hold massive tent sales during the fall to sell older inventory, one of the best places to find ski gear for cheap.

When the leaves start changing, check out Stratton Mountain and Equipe Sport for news on their sales and specials throughout the fall. Aside from skis & snowboards, you'll likely find unbeatable deals on clothing, from base layers to shells, helmets, goggles and other winter sports goods like snowshoes and poles. If you do go hunting for discount gear at fall tent sales, try to get there early to beat the crowds -- the good stuff goes fast!

Ski Swaps

Another way to save some dough is at a ski swap or sale. Many of Vermont's ski sales are run by skiing academies like the Stratton Mountain School or Okemo Mountain School as a fundraiser (some are even run on a commission-style basis). The gear at these swaps is used, but often is very high-quality and in good condition at great prices.

Keep your eyes peeled in November for these sales, and the dates during which they accept drop-offs if you want to sell some gear of your own. And don't worry - just because it's called a ski swap doesn't mean snowboards aren't welcome. You'll find just as much cheap snowboarding equipment at these sales.

Skiing in glades

Ski and Snowboard Leases

A final way to get a good deal on ski gear is to lease it seasonally rather than buying outright. Typically, the gear is "yours" for the season -- you keep it at your house, take it wherever you want to ski, and return it at the end of the winter. Popular with parents for children will who outgrow equipment quickly, a lease is also a good option for adults who are still deciding how much they want to commit to the sport. Some ski shops offer special perks for leasing such as free waxing, edging, and maintenance. If you're interested in leasing in the Mount Snow area, inquire at Equipe and First Trax Sports Shop.

No matter where you end up getting your discount ski gear, fall is the time to go deal-hunting in southern Vermont. While you're planning your winter season, consider making your home base a winter seasonal rental at Chimney Hill. You'll have space and flexibility to enjoy the season to the fullest!

The Best Ways to See Vermont Fall Foliage

Fall is falling on Vermont, and to many people that means one thing: a chance to see the spectacular colors of Vermont's fall foliage. The changing of the leaves in Vermont is renowned as one of the state's most beautiful sights. But how do you see it? We've put together some of our favorite ways to check out the beauty of fall in Vermont — read on!

Vermont Fall Foliage Hike on Mount Olga
 

 

1. Hiking

Nothing puts you in the middle of the Vermont fall foliage better than a simple walk in the woods. To get up-close and personal with the trees and leaves, you should check out one of the many excellent hiking trails in southern Vermont. You can find information about some of our favorites — like Haystack Mountain or Mount Olga (above) — right here on our blog, or you can just make your way to one of our parks or mountains in the area to pick up a trail map.

2. Driving

To see the maximum amount of leaves, walking isn't going to cut it — you'll need to hit the road. A number of excellent scenic drives criss-cross southern Vermont for great views of the changing leaves and mountain scenery. One of the best is the Scenic Route 100 byway, which runs from north-to-south from Vermont's southern border to Granville in the heart of the state. This route will give you some amazing views of mountains, lakes, and valleys, and a fun driving experience to boot. For more ideas for picturesque driving routes, try these recommendations from Vermont Vacation or look over our previous blog post.

3. Cycling

Another great way to experience the fall foliage in Vermont is by bicycle. Many of Vermont's less busy roads are popluar with cyclists, and there are plenty of mountain biking trails to put you right in the thick of the changing colors. Jamaica State Park and the West River Trail are great places to get started, with several miles of multi-use trails that take you on a journey through Vermont's forests and trees.

West Dummerston VT covered bridge in fall - credit: chensiyuan

4. Canoeing

If you're as comfortable on the water as you are on land, a canoe or kayak can be another great way to experience Vermont's fall foliage. You'll have a great view of the changing colors along the lake shores and river banks. River canoeing and kayaking can be done on the Connecticut in Brattleboro, or on the western side of the Green Mountains, on the Otter Creek or Battenkill. You can take it a little slower by visiting one of southern Vermont's many lakes, ponds, or reservoirs. We recommend Harriman Reservoir for its long length and picturesque views.

5. Chairlift

There's no snow on the ground (yet), but that doesn't mean Vermont's many chairlifts are out of operation. Our area ski resorts, including Mount Snow and Stratton Mountain, spin their ifts during foliage season for get a birds-eye view of the fall colors.

Want to see more of the beautiful Vermont fall foliage than you can fit into a single day? Make it a weekend getaway – or a weeklong retreat – in one of our spacious and comfortable southern Vermont rental homes. 

Best Wilmington, VT Restaurants for Date Night

After a long day of festivals, concerts, and other great summer activities, you and that special someone will probably be looking for a quiet, comfortable place to unwind and enjoy each other's company. Lucky for you, we've got just the place. Or rather, places. Four of them. We've put together a list of some of the top date-worthy Wilmington, VT restaurants for couples (and anyone looking for a good meal).

Nonna's Restaurant at the Inn at Sawmill Farm

Ext. of Nonna's Restaurant at The Inn at Sawmill Farm, VT

Fine Italian cuisine and casual elegance come together in this beautiful restaurant outside of Wilmington. Nonna's Restaurant is a classic date night choice for visitors to southern Vermont, and for good reason. A selection of delicious pastas, Italian classics, and delectable wines make this a great place for you and your companion to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Go on a Monday to enjoy music from local musicians as well!

Old Red Mill Inn

For New England classics and hearty American staples, there's only one restaurant to visit in Wilmington: the Old Red Mill Inn. Steaks, roasts, and New England seafood fill up this menu of delicious treats, along with fresh-baked breads and your choice of drinks. For lighter fare on those balmy summer and early fall nights, you can also visit Jerry's Deck, the outdoor section of the restaurant. With a roof to protect from rain and heaters to keep diners comfortable in the event of a sudden chill, your date night will undoubtedly be comfortable and delicious.

Anchor Seafood

New England has a reputation for delicious, fresh seafood. At Anchor Seafood in Wilmington, that's exactly what you'll find. This Wilmington, VT restaurant has pretty much everything you could ever want in terms of seafood. Lobster, crab, tuna, salmon, shrimp and more are on the menu each night, as well as more turf-based fare such as steak and chicken. If your ideal date night includes classic New England lobster tail or fantastic crab cakes, you'll have trouble doing better than Anchor Seafood.

Verdé Restaurant

Last but certainly not least on our list of great Wilmington, Vermont, restaurants for date night is Verdé at Stratton Mountain. This restaurant offers bold and unique interpretations of regional classics and locally-available foods such as artisanal local cheeses, farm-raised chicken and beef, and no shortage of venison. Verdé has a great reputation as one of the nicest and most elegant restaurants in the region, so take a look if you're planning to treat someone special to a memorable evening.

Dinner at Verde Restaurant at Stratton

After dining in one of Wilmington's best restaurants, it's time to relax in one of the best-possible lodging options, an exquisite rental home in southern Vermont. Take a look at some of our many short- and long-term rentals and find a perfect place to enjoy the rest of your date night.

  • P.O. BOX 415, 9 Haystack Road, Wilmington VT 05363