Life in Manchester VT

Scenic Manchester, Vermont is the heart of the Northshire region of Vermont. The town includes the historic Manchester Village, anchored by the famous Equinox Hotel, as well as the bustling Manchester Center, with a wide array of shops, restaurants, hotels, and amenities.  

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The Beautiful Hub of Southwestern VermontVermont rolling mountains during peak foliage

Manchester is the center of life in Southwest Vermont. Located in a beautiful valley between the Green Mountains to the east, and the Taconic Mountain Range to the west, it is convenient to all the recreation and amenities that the region has to offer. Views of Mount Equinox dominate the skyline of a sophisticated resort town nestled in rural surroundings, offering a wide assortment of accommodations and chef-owned restaurants, plentiful shopping, recreational areas, museums, and concert venues.

A Four-Season Resort Destination

Manchester is a destination resort town that offers four seasons of adventure and relaxation. Winter offers world-class skiing and riding at close-by Bromley Mountain and Stratton Mountain Resort (Okemo Mountain, Killington, Mount Snow, and Magic Mountain are also within driving distance), and cross-country skiing at a variety of venues both near town and in the surrounding mountains. Spring brings warm days and colder nights that are perfect for maple sugaring. Summer is the most popular time of year with beautiful views, perfect temperatures, and plenty of outdoor recreation to enjoy. Autumn attracts leaf-peepers from around the world to see the mountains come alive with fall color.

Shopping that is a Breath of Fresh Air

Manchester is home to a considerable number of factory outlets for top brands such as Ralph Lauren, Theory, J. Crew, Armani, Brooks Brothers, Tumi, and Vineyard Vines, along with independently-owned shops housed in restored, stand-alone buildings designed in the Vermont vernacular. Shoppers strolling the central shopping district will find the most relaxed and shopping experience anywhere. Visit the famous Northshire Bookstore, locally-owned general stores, national factory-branded outlets, the Orvis Company Flagship Store, and a variety of local specialty stores like The Mountain Goat, Mother Myrick’s, and Manchester Woodcraft offering products and gift ideas you will find nowhere else.

Surprising Rural Sophistication

Manchester and area towns offer some of the best theater, music, and museums in all of Vermont. For theater, enjoy the world-class Dorset Theater Festival and the Weston Playhouse. Concert-goers can take in nationally and regionally-renowned musical artists at the Arkell Pavilion and Hunter Park, and local musicians get their turn at the town green and at local taverns. Manchester boasts two classical music festivals offering seasonal orchestral and chamber music performances by award-winning musicians. The town is also home to the Green Mountain Bluegrass Festival each August, which has featured incredible performers like Mandolin Orange and others since it began. Museums are available to enjoy with the Southern Vermont Art Center, Hildene (the Lincoln Family Home), and the American Museum of Fly Fishing all located conveniently near the center of town. Manchester is also home to several incredible art galleries, including Helmholz Fine Art, Tilting at Windmills, and Epoch Artisans. 

Pure, Clean, Healthy Fun

Healthy, Vermont-style recreation is available year-round with golf, swimming, hiking, skiing, clay shooting, horse and sleigh rides, skating, backroad tours, kayaking and canoeing, fly-fishing, snowshoeing, biking, and more. The farm-to-table movement has always been here, even before it became a fashionable way to eat, with authentic farmer’s markets, restaurants serving organic meals with locally-raised meat, grains, and vegetables, and specialty shops offering Vermont-produced foods, craft beers, wines and cheeses, and other snacks.

Southern Vermont’s Best Restaurant Row

Manchester is home to some of the best restaurants in Southern Vermont. With dozens of fantastic restaurants, foodies can enjoy freshly prepared meals with locally sourced ingredients prepared by chefs committed to their own innovative takes on Vermont-style cooking. Manchester has everything from fast-casual to fine dining and everything in between. Options range from gastropubs like Union Underground, the Copper Grouse, and Firefly, to lovely cafes like Bonnet & Main, Crooked Ram, and Mystic Cafe & Wine Bar and fine dining options like the Reluctant Panther and The Silver Fork. Other favorites include Ye Olde Tavern, which dates back to the 18th century, breakfast spot, Up for Breakfast, pizzeria Christo's Pizza & Pasta, and Asian restaurants Thai Basil and Sushi Boat. With so many excellent choices, Manchester can confidently lay claim to having the best food in all of Southern Vermont. 

A Historic Village within a Town

On the National Register of Historic Places since 1984, the Manchester Village Historic District dates to its establishment in 1761. A crossroads village and the site of several taverns and inns, Manchester Village was an important stop for officers and troops during the Revolutionary War and played an important supporting role in the Battle of Saratoga. Later in its history, the Village was promoted and developed as a desirable summer resort community for wealthy New York City residents. Today, the Village features graceful mansions, charming colonial-style homes, and maintains its resort designation, anchored by the Equinox Resort and Spa, the Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant, and the Taconic Hotel. An evening stroll in beautiful Manchester Village is a must for visitors and residents alike.

Manchester Area Elementary and Middle Schools

Manchester and the surrounding towns are home to some of the best public and private schools in Vermont. 

Manchester Elementary and Middle School: One of the most diverse public elementary schools in Vermont, Manchester Elementary and Middle School (MEMS) combines solid academics, excellent facilities, and great athletics for its K-8 student body.  

Nearby Private Schools: Maple Street School in Manchester (Grades K–8), The Mountain School in Winhall (Grades Pre-K–8), Stratton Mountain School in Stratton (Grades 7–12), Long Trail School in Dorset (Grades 6–12), The Downtown School in Manchester (Grades Pre-K–3)

Manchester Area High Schools

Burr and Burton Academy (Manchester): One of the best all-around independent high schools in Vermont, students from Manchester attend this highly-regarded and resource-rich high school for free. 

The Long Trail School (Dorset): Another top private high school in Vermont, The Long Trail School is a smaller high school than Burr and Burton and is located nearby in Dorset. The school offers Vermont’s only International Baccalaureate degree. 
Stratton Mountain School (Londonderry): A highly-lauded college preparatory private school that specializes in educating students who want to pursue Alpine and Nordic skiing excellence. 

Getting Here and There

Manchester and the Southwestern Vermont region is close to many of the Northeast’s major metropolitan areas. New York City, Montreal and Northern New Jersey are each around a 4-hour drive, while Boston is around 3 hours and Providence is around 3.5 hours. 

The area is served by train in Albany, New York (1.5 hours away) and Rutland, Vermont (around 40 minutes away), providing easy and reliable access to New York City. The closest major international airport is also in Albany, but there are regional airports close by in Rutland, Vermont, and West Lebanon, New Hampshire with daily service to Boston and other major Northeast cities. 

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