Life in Dorset, Vermont

Dorset, Vermont is a picturesque New England town situated amongst the rolling hills of the Green Mountains. Dorset has a rich history that is celebrated throughout the town. Dorset was recently named the Prettiest Town in Vermont, which is not surprising considering Dorset’s beautiful clapboard homes, lush town green, and breathtaking mountain views. Dorset offers residents a quiet community with unique, locally owned shops, fantastic restaurants, limitless recreation opportunities, and great schools. 

Culture

Dorset, Vermont is a thriving community with strong ties to the American Revolution. Dorset has plenty to offer residents as far as culture goes -- from festivals and town-wide events to historic sites throughout town. 

During the summer months, you won’t want to miss the Dorset Theater Festival. Every June - September the Festival puts on four productions. These productions are world class and draw in the talents of some of the area's best playwrights, directors, and actors. The intimate theater is located in two pre-revolutionary barns and has been hosting everything from classic dramas to modern comedies, since opening its doors in 1929. 

If you’re a horse lover, and even if you aren’t, you will definitely want to check out the Vermont Summer Festival July through August. All ticket proceeds benefit local nonprofits. Spend the day watching athletes compete with their gorgeous horses, grab a drink and a bite to eat, and shop onsite boutiques. 

There are numerous historic sites throughout the town of Dorset. Some of the most notable sites include Historic Downtown Dorset, The Wilson House, The Griffith Library, The Soldier’s Monument, and The Bley House Museum.

Dorset is home to several historic inns including The Dorset Inn which Has been providing visitors with gracious New England hospitality for over 200 years. 

Recreation

Dorset’s location lends itself to some of the best recreation in the Northeast. Dorset is situated close to many of the best ski resorts in Vermont, including Stratton Mountain Resort. But Dorset isn’t just a great place to get outdoors during the cold month -- Dorset has some of the best fly fishing in New England as well as some of the best hiking trails in the area. 

The Dorset Field Club is the oldest continually operating golf course in the United States. The Dorset Field Club offers more than just world-class golf. Members at Dorset Field Club enjoy 7 clay tennis courts with tournaments put on throughout the warmer months. In the winter the courts are used for Paddle Tennis, the only racquet sport designed to be played in cold weather. The Dorset Field Club also features a pool, which is perfect for a relaxing swim after a round of golf or tennis. Events like the July 4th Picnic and New Years Cocktail Party are just some of the reasons why residents in Dorset love being members at the Field Club. 

Dorset is home to the Emerald Lake State Park which is open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day and encompasses close to 500 acres. Emerald Lake State Park is popular for many reasons including its hillside campground, numerous biking and hiking trails, beautiful Emerald Lake, and education resources. The Park has well-maintained amenities including campsites, lean-tos, a picnic pavilion, beach with snack bar, flush toilets, showers, and more. The Park also hosts several events throughout the year for kids and adults. Their calendar of events can be viewed here

The Dorset Quarry is also popular among residents. This once bustling quarry, which provided marble to a good portion of the United States, is now a popular spot for those looking to cool off from the hot sun or those looking to meander along wooded trails. 

The Mettawee River, which passes through Dorset, is particularly popular with whitewater kayakers due to its rapids. 

Dining & Shopping

Dorset has fantastic restaurants as well as many charming storefronts throughout town. The town of Dorset is a strong supporter of small local businesses in the area. 

The Dorset Farmers Market operates every Sunday, May 5th to October 13th on the lawn at the HN Williams Store. During the colder months, the market operates out of the JK Adams Kitchen Store. The Farmers Market attracts over 50 vendors providing residents with access to fresh produce, dairy, poultry, crafts, and more. You will also find weekly live music at the Dorset Farmers Market. 

Located in a remodeled dairy barn, the Chantecleer Restaurant has long been a favorite spot to dine among locals. The Chantecleer serves up sophisticated American cuisine that will have you coming back time and time again. The menu tends to focus on seafood and they also have an extensive wine list as well as a full bar. 

The Dorset Inn was voted One of America’s Best Restaurants for Wine Lovers by Wine Spectator in 2016. The red dining room at the Dorset Inn features a cozy New England Tavern feel with welcoming ambiance. The menu features farm fresh favorites produced locally in southern Vermont. 

If you’re looking for pub food with a twist in an engaging setting, you’ll definitely want to book a table at the Barrow House Inn and Restaurant in Dorset. Barrows House Restaurant features upscale, American gastropod cuisine in a lovely atmosphere. Barrows House’s large outdoor terrace and colorful gardens beautifully accent the modern cuisine. 

The HN Williams Store has been a fixture in Dorset since 1840. You can find just about everything from hardware and food to apparel and toys. 

Whether you’re just picking up a gallon of milk, or you’re looking for the perfect bottle of wine to bring to a dinner party, the Dorset Union Store has you covered! Although there have been several changes over the years, the Dorset Union Store still feels like the same store that opened in 1816. The Dorset Union Store is also popular among residents looking to pick up something quick for lunch or dinner, and you definitely won’t want to miss their fresh baked goods. 

JK Adams has been providing Dorset, and the surrounding area, residents with high-quality food and kitchen products for over 70 years. JK Adams is committed to producing high-quality products, by hand, in America out of American hardwood. 

3 Pears Gallery, located on the Dorset Green, features artisan decor and fine art suitable for traditional to contemporary country homes. 

Schools

Public 

Dorset is part of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Unit (BRSU) in southwestern Vermont. BRSU encompasses approximately 460 square miles and includes school districts in four Vermont counties. BRSU districts have high school choice, meaning students have the option to attend over 30 public and independent high schools. The majority of students in Dorset choose to attend Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Vermont. 

Students from kindergarten through eighth grade in Dorset attend the Dorset School. The Dorset Schools sits on 8 acres in the green mountains and offers students small class sizes and a high standard of academics. 

Private

The Long Trail School in Dorset is a college prep day school serving 195 students in grades 6 through 12. The Long Trail campus spans over 16 acres and offers students state of the art performing arts center, a greenhouse, athletic facilities, small class sizes, and so much more.