Manchester, Dorset & Arlington Areas
The Area: The Manchester Area is different things to different folks, depending upon where you are standing, and the time of the year. More specifically, Manchester Village and Manchester Center are as different as day and night even though they are less than a mile apart.. Manchester is known for its mansions, golf courses, art center, and the like… Manchester Center for its nationally renowned outlet stores.
It should be noted that the lodging and dining facilities in the area vary greatly and are second to none!
Manchester Village: A resort town for longer than anyone alive can remember! However, in its early days it was almost exclusively for the rich and famous, still evidenced by the Equinox Hotel, and Hildene, the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of the President. The eestate is open to the public, offering everything from tours of its formal gardens in summer to Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing during the winter months.
The over 200 year-old Equinox Hotel still serves, as it did then, as the centerpiece of this elegant and affluent village. A number of small shops are within steps of the hotel and its marble sidewalks, as is The Equinox Country Club. Everything in Manchester Village is well-manicured and pleasing to the eye, including several very impressive inns and dining establishments. The Southern Vermont Arts Center is also a Manchester landmark and is more than worthy of a visit.
Last, but certainly not least, you should plan to make the spectacular drive up Mount Equinox, the backdrop of both Manchester and Manchester Center. However, before you take this toll road (May thru October) make certain your brakes are in good shape or you may get to the base of the mountain faster than you planned on.
If you're a shopper, head north a mile to Manchester Center...you'll think you died and went to heaven!
Manchester Center: They're all here... More Designer Outlets than you can visit in one day! In addition to the legendary outlets, you'll find countless other shops of every variety, including one of the finest bookstores you could hope to find outside of an urban metropolis.
Manchester Center also has a beautiful setting. In fact, if you are entering from Route 11/30, coming from the Bromley or Stratton Mountain areas, you'll enjoy the equivalent of an aerial view of this handsome village nestled at the foot of Mount Equinox. There are eating establishments of every variety. Likewise, there's an endless choice of lodging establishments.
Exit Manchester Village to the east on Route 11/30 and you'll be in a different world altogether...within minutes. You'll be in Vermont's famed Green Mountains and at the doorstep of two of Vermont's well known ski areas - Stratton and Bromley Mountain Resorts
Go west on Route 30 and you'll soon be in charming Dorset, the home of one of Vermont's more popular summer theatres. Travel on to Rupert and villages like Wells and you'll enjoy some truly beautiful scenery and a look at some of Vermont's farmland.
If you leave Manchester Center on Route 7A, heading north, you'll soon have a great view of the Southern range of the Green Mountains on your right. It's a beautiful drive north toward Danby and its marble quarries. Soon after leaving Manchester you'll see the entrance to Emerald Lake State Park, a very popular warm weather recreational site. To the south is Arlington and Bennington.
For the most current information on the Manchester Area, including events and other goings-on, we recommend you visit the Manchester & The Mountains Chamber of Commerce website. It's also a great source for those planning to shop Manchester's great craft shops, outlets and boutiques.
Dorset, East Dorset, South Dorset: Dorset is primarily looked upon as a summer place, although there is certainly a great deal of activity here in winter. During summer, the Dorset Playhouse is what Dorset is most identified with. Dorset is another of Vermont's well-manicured upscale communities. It is also home away from home for a number of artists and writers, including several Hollywood names. One step removed from bustling Manchester, Dorset offers the best of both worlds.. quiet tranquility and easy access to all Manchester and the surrounding areas have to offer.
Arlington, Shaftsbury, Sunderland, & All of Vermont's Historic Route 7A: Originally this was Vermont Route 7 which now runs just west of, and parallel to the newer Route 7 (sometimes referred to as the Route 7 bypass). Should you be traveling Route 7 north take note that there are exits for each of these towns, and don't travel above the speed limit or it can be very expensive. If you do, the odds aren't in your favor!
There's much to see and do in this area, including fly fishing and/or canoeing the legendary Battenkill River. The shops are plentiful, varied, and fun to browse. And, if you're interested in antiquing you've come to the right place.
There's plenty of lodging and dining establishments in the area, one for every taste and pocketbook. However, during fall foliage there's not a room to be found, so make your reservations very early.
Lastly, it should be noted that Chiselville, Kansas, and Kelly Stand are all villages within Sunderland. And, that Kelly Stand can only be reached via Forest Road 6, which is closed in winter.
About Danby Vermont & Green Mountain's Forest Road 10: Danby is just short of halfway between Manchester and Rutland to the north, and can easily be passed through without a thought. Don't!
Those who know about Vermont marble have heard of Danby Vermont, or more specifically, Danby Marble. Marble has long been synonymous with Vermont, and the marble quarried here. It can be found in some of our most famous landmarks in our nation's capitol. So when in Danby, check out the marble!
Danby also offers unique access to the Green Mountain National Forest via Forest Road 10. You won't find this road designated as such on any state roadmap, although the road may be indicated. The road is on the eastern side of Route 7. In fact, it is the only road in Danby heading east toward Mt. Tabor. This 14 mile unpaved road cuts directly through the National Forest and ends in Landgrove Vermont. There are some great views from this road on the Danby side, including one from a small picnic area with a gorge.
Further, a number of hiking paths and interesting old logging roads will be found intersecting the Forest Road, including Vermont's famed Long Trail. This auto road allows you to experience that which is usually reserved for backpackers...take advantage of it.
Forest Road 10 is closed in winter but experiences a great deal of traffic by cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, those snowshoeing or winter camping, and large (bigger than you) hairy animals.
Pawlet, North Pawlet, West Pawlet; Rupert, East Rupert, North Rupert, West Rupert; Sandgate & Wells: These villages, all northwest of Manchester, are all very rural. Except for Sandgate they are all on Vermont Route 30, which just before Wells connects with Route 149 to Granville, New York. The Route 30 drive is a beautiful one and we urge you to take it. However, with the exception of Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert, and a very thin scattering of shops and general stores, there is little to be found here other than a slice of Vermont life.
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