There are lots of things to do in southern Vermont, and many towns that are perfect for a southern Vermont day trip or weekend excursion. Manchester, VT is a perfect example. This charming town might look small and sleepy at first glance, but in truth it’s one of the most popular destinations in the region for shopping, vacations, and general fun. Read on to find some of the best things to do in Manchester, VT.
Photo: Jtesla16 via Wikimedia Commons
Manchester Designer Outlets
One of Manchester’s biggest attractions, the Manchester Designer Outlets (or the MDO as they’re known to locals) comprise a huge open-air mall with dozens of stores from all over the world. Whether you’re looking for the latest in upscale fashion at bargain prices or just need a place to walk around and enjoy the fresh Vermont air, MDO is the perfect destination. Along with the many outlet stores you’ll also encounter restaurants, cafes, and locally owned businesses that can make this area a full-day trip in itself.
Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home
A generation after Abraham Lincoln held the presidency, his son, Robert Todd Lincoln, built a stunning Georgian revival mansion in Manchester, VT. This gorgeous home, which he called Hildene, became the seat of the Lincoln family until 1978, when the Friends of Hildene charity purchased the home and restored it into a stunning public memorial. Today visitors can tour the home and view Lincoln family artifacts. You may also want to explore the amazing peony gardens and walking trails, which span more than 400 acres of Vermont countryside.
Bromley Mountain and Stratton Mountain Resorts
If you’re seeking outdoor fun, the area around Manchester has more than enough. Both Bromley Mountain and Stratton Mountain resorts feature year-round entertainment for the whole family. In the winter you’ll find tons of skiing and snowboarding, while the warmer months bring ropes courses, gondola rides, golfing, and summer festivals to the mountains. Take a look at both resorts to see what’s happening during your visit – you won’t regret it!
The Southern Vermont Arts Center
An ever-popular destination with tourists and locals alike, the Southern Vermont Arts Center is one of the best things to do in Manchester, VT. The SVAC features a wide variety of visual, musical, and performing arts all year round, making it a great place to visit again and again. If you’re in town for more than a day you can also take a workshop led by an accomplished Vermont artist on subjects such as watercolors, figure drawing and painting, photography and more.
The Northshire Bookstore
It might look like an old house on the outside, but inside the Northshire Bookstore you’ll find one of the largest and most well-maintained book collections anywhere in the Northeast. This old-school book store manages to feel at once cozy and enormous, with tall shelves and wide tables piled high with books around every turn. Stop by the Spiral Press café for a drink and a bite to eat while you explore, or simply lose yourself among the shelves for an hour or two.
If you're staying at a Chimney Hill southern Vermont rental home, you can be back to your Vermont headquarters in less than an hour. Stash your purchases and get a little R & R, then start planning your next day trip.