Growing up, there weren’t many places close by to shop. In fact, the closet mall and the closet outlet stores were both around 45 minutes away. So it wasn’t odd to make a weekend trip out of shopping and exploring what else the area had to offer to make the traveling worth it. One of these towns that had shopping and activities is Manchester, Vermont.
Manchester is especially beautiful and fun during the fall due to the foliage and yearly events. Here are a few spots, activates, and places I’ve visited and/or recommend.
Shopping in Manchester, Vermont
Manchester’s largest tourist attraction (arguably) is the outlet shopping. Growing up, my friends and I would go to get good deals (although at the time I couldn’t afford a Kate Spade bag, so it was more “window shopping”).
Current stores at the outlet include Armani, Brooks Brothers, Le Creuset, Eddie Bauer, J Crew, Michel Kors, Theory, Vineyard Vines, Kate Spade, Clarks, Talbots, and more.
This bookstore is one of the few independent bookstores still operating. It’s also fairly large, with 10,000 square feet of display space.
Things to Do in Manchester, Vermont
Take a Scenic Road Trip
Drive through The Shires Byway, which runs through Vermont’s Route 7 and Historic Route 7A in Bennington County Vermont and stretches from the VT state line in Pownal to Manchester. During the fall, this scenic route is great for leaf peeping and photo taking.
Visit the Southern Vermont Arts Center
The SVAC has permanent exhibits year-round and then special exhibits for each season, which you can view on their website. They also tend to spotlight local artists (Vermont-based or New England-based).
Go Hiking at the Equinox Preserve
The Equinox Preserve consists of over 914 acres on the slopes of Mt Equinox in Manchester, VT with some beautiful views. There are some helpful maps offered online or at the Equinox Resort (which owns the preserve).
Visit Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home
Fun fact: Abe Lincoln and I share a birthday. Hildene is the family home of Abe’s only son, Robert. The 412 acre estate is home to a mansion, formal garden and observatory, historic carriage barn; 1903 Pullman car, a solar powered goat dairy and cheese-making facility, and more.
Where to Eat in Manchester, Vermont
We heard so many good things about Zoey’s that we had to check it out. When we arrived on a Saturday around 1 pm, the line was already out the door. We probably waited about 30 minutes to order our sandwiches, which is kind of ridiculous. There was only one woman making the sandwiches and one woman manning the cash register, which I found to be odd since it’s a Saturday afternoon in a tourist town, AKA the busiest time of the day for a deli & bakery.
The wait, although annoying, was worth it. The sandwiches were made on fresh-baked bread, the serving of meat was adequate, and the sandwiches came with their homemade potato chips. Seating is super limited – there are small tables to fit about 25 people. I assume this is because they do a lot of takeout/pick-up orders.
The menu itself was rather large, with plenty of options of traditional sandwiches or custom subs, salads, and homemade soups. I got a classic turkey club sandwich and it did not disappoint.
Social House offers Mediterranean food with family-style options (perfect for large groups to share plates). They’re open only for dinner, starting at 5 pm.
The outside of this 18th Century New England Tavern is worth the photo op. They’re known for their “Yankee Favorites” which includes items like pot roast, New England scrod, and roast turkey dinner.
Depot Street Burgers is a popular spot for shoppers at the Manchester Outlets. They were even dubbed the “Best Burgers in Vermont”.
Where to Stay in Manchester, Vermont
Since I grew up so close to Manchester, I’ve never personally stayed at a hotel or bed and breakfast. However, I have many friends and acquaintances who have, so I’ll include their favorite spots.
The Equinox features gorgeous views of the mountains and gardens. They have dining options right in the resort, as well as a nice spa and golf course. The resort is also pet-friendly, so you can bring your dog.
If you’re looking for a country-style, smaller-feel place to stay, try out the Barnstead Inn. In addition to lodging (all the rooms are individual decorated, so it’s the opposite of the feeling you get at a hotel), they also have an in-house tavern with live music.