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Blog :: 12-2014

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.

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