A stunning panorama reminiscent of Wales greets travellers on Route 11 as they descend into Manchester, Vermont. Manchester is in a huge bowl carved out from the ice age. On clear days you can see for miles, especially if you take a car ride up Mount Equinox (3,816-feet) and then take a short hike to overlook the area.
Manchester is actually divided into two communities: Manchester Village with its tranquil old-world atmosphere, stately homes, hotels and inns set well back from the highway and Manchester Center - an area filled with trendy fashion shops, factory outlets and sports outfitters.
The customers come mostly from Albany, New York, New York City, Boston and Hartford. Albany is only 65 miles away, New York four hours and Boston only two. Looking down from Mount Equinox or from Route 11 you would never guess that Manchester, hidden in all that foliage, is one of Vermont's major tourism areas, but it is. Manchester is also home to Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln's 412-acre summer estate and the Northshire Bookstore.
The Northshire Bookstore is one of my favorite places in Manchester. Why? Well, it's got atmosphere. You sit in its reading area with trendy fashion designers working away on their Apple laptops while white-aproned waiters deliver delicious homemade soups and sandwiches to your table. And, unlike the big bookstore chains, the "wi-fi" is free. As a matter of fact wireless internet is everywhere in the downtown area as well as at most inns and B&Bs and few of the locals bother with security passwords. "Being connected" is not a problem in Manchester.
Hotels, Inns & Bed and Breakfasts are everywhere in the Manchester area. They range from the height of luxury to a few modest motels. There are no chains and a recent attempt to open one was met with stiff resistance. The hospitality industry is well organized in Manchester. Not all inns provide a full breakfast, so if you like to pile on the eggs and bacon, there are several breakfast nooks in town.
Other inns around Vermont..
Year-round activities are well-developed. There are three major ski areas: Bromley, Stratton and Magic. Summer is dominated by the Vermont Summer Festival - a major east coast event for the horsey set.
If you want a quick brain dump on the Manchester area and something a little different, I recommend Backroads Tours with Sharon O'Connor.
Pat Barnett, owner of the Manchester View wrote up a brief history of the Manchester area and we added a slide show
Nearby towns on this list offer year round activities.