A Wealth of Things to See and Do!
is situated in the heart of some of the best that Vermont has to offer: recreational activities, cultural venues, and shopping all within close reach.
The town of Ludlow was chartered in 1761, with its earliest settlers—most of them farmers—beginning to clear the land along the Black River about two decades later. The 19th century saw a great deal of industrialization in the area, though today only hints of Ludlow's industrial past
remain, and the forest has reclaimed much of the land cleared by lumbering
operations and the original farmers. Most people come to Ludlow for Okemo Mountain, one of
New England's premier ski destinations. During the winter season, the population
increases to more than 10,000 people, though Ludlow's
full-time population remains closer to 2,500. Here are a few of the attractions:
- With its 2150-foot vertical drop, 106 trails, and a modern, efficient lift
system, Okemo Mountain Resort provides wonderful downhill skiing and snowboarding on
varied terrain with a near-perfect mountain configuration. The resort's Ski Trail Report is constantly updated. One mile from Okemo Mountain is the Okemo Valley Nordic Center,
a pristine cross-country ski and snowshoe area; in the spring, the Nordic Center becomes the superb eighteen-hole championship Okemo Valley Golf Course.
- Like horseback riding? Cavendish Trail Horse Rides (802-226-7821) is just down the road from Happy Trails; they offer sleigh rides and guided trail rides through
scenic woodlands and rolling meadows.
- Snowmobile aficianados will enjoy direct access to VAST's snowmobile trails from our back door. The Vermont Association of Snow
Travelers is one of the oldest snowmobiling groups in the country; they are the folks responsible for the organization of the sport and maintaining and grooming the trails.
- The Fletcher Farm
School for the Arts and Crafts is Vermont's oldest residential craft school. It offers over 100
different courses in such disciplines as basketry, woodcarving, quilting, painting, and folk art. They sponsor two annual craft fairs, and operate a craft shop on the grounds during the summer months. The school is also home to the Black River Academy Museum and Historical Society. On exhibit are replicas of Main Street in Ludlow, a re-created 1890s
schoolroom, and turn-of-the-century furniture, clothing, quilts, china and paintings.
- The Green Mountain Sugar House is
one of the largest sugar houses in Vermont. Operated by the
same native Vermont family for over fifty years, this working factory offers
spring visitors the opportunity to watch the process of sap from sugar maples being
turned into pure Vermont maple syrup.
- Our favorite place to swim is Buttermilk Falls. A series of waterfalls and beloved swimming holes, Buttermilk is listed in the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources inventory of "significant waterfalls, cascades, gorges, and swimming holes."
- Just up the road, in Healdville, is the renowned
Factory, the oldest
continuously operated cheese factory in the Western Hemisphere. Also visit Taylor Farm in Londonderry—besides their wonderful cheeses, they also offer sleigh rides in the winter.
- Plymouth Notch was the birthplace, boyhood home, and "Summer White
House" of Calvin Coolidge. The Calvin Coolidge
Historic Site has carefully preserved the homes of Coolidge's family, the community church, one-room schoolhouse, and general store. Nearby is
State Park, a magnificent stretch of
forest, complete with hiking trails, numerous brooks, and the long-abandoned
town of Five Corners.
Plymouth State Park is located on the shore of beautiful Echo Lake. Enjoy boating, swimming, and other water recreation.
Weston (15 minutes away)
charming shops and beautiful village green, Weston is about as quaint a
town as you will find in Vermont—and the entire village is listed on
the National Register of Historic Places. The village has a great deal to offer:
- Sitting right on the village green in an elegant
Greek Revival building is The Weston Playhouse, Vermont's
oldest professional theater company. Each summer the
Playhouse hosts a five-show theater series that attracts visitors from around
- Practically next door is The Vermont Country Store, probably the most
famous country store in Vermont. Founded in 1946, it is the first restored rural country store in the
United States, and sells unusual, old-fashioned and hard-to-find merchandise.
- Just three miles north of the village is the Weston Priory, a
small Benedictine monastery known for their beautiful
music and tranquil setting. The public is welcome to join them in daily prayer, masses, and retreats.
- At the south end of the village, the Todd Gallery features representational
paintings, limited edition prints, photography, sculpture and fine handcrafts
created by some of Vermont's most talented artists. The gallery is also the
studio of artist Robert E. Todd, well known for his watercolors of Vermont and
- For seasonal events, be sure to check out the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival in the summer, and the Weston Craft Show in the fall. Both are can't-miss events.
Chester (20 minutes away)
One of the first colonial Declarations of Independence was adopted at a Chester town meeting on November 10, 1774—twenty months ahead of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Vermonters fought in the Revolution, but insisted on statehood of their own rather than becoming part of New Hampshire or New York; Vermont remained an independent republic until 1789. Many stagecoach inns were operated in Chester, with a stage line from Boston to Montreal intersected here by a line from Hanover to Albany. In 1849 the railroad from Boston to Lake Champlain was completed and Chester became a commercial and shipping hub. Today it's a quiet little village with fine restaurants and shops.
While in Chester, be sure to visit:
- The Green Mountain Flyer, offering excursion rail trips
between Chester and Bellows Falls. Travel through the scenic southern Vermont countryside in restored coaches pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive.
- The Chester Art Guild (802-875-3608), a gallery
showcasing some of the area's finest artists. All proceeds go
towards artistic scholarships and furthering the arts in the region.
Woodstock (40 minutes away)
Described as "the quintessential New England village" and "The Prettiest Small Town in America," Woodstock boasts world-class dining, fascinating antique shops, and numerous galleries. Don't miss these Woodstock attractions:
- Billings Farm & Museum is a thriving museum of rural Vermont as well as a
working dairy farm. The 1890 farm house has been carefully restored to its
19th-century condition when it served as the hub of the farm and forestry
operation. Established in 1871, Billings Farm remains one of the
country's premier agricultural museums. Try to visit during their Cow Appreciation Day!
Vermont Institute of Natural
Science and Raptor Center is
the only museum in the
Northeast devoted to birds of prey. This outdoor museum houses injured birds of
prey such as snowy owls, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles in
spacious, naturalistic habitats. Take a guided tour or find your own wildlife
along the self-guided trails of the Center's 78-acre nature preserve.
The first national park to focus on the theme of conservation history and the
evolution of land stewardship in America, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller
National Historical Park was a gift to the people of the United States from Laurance S.
and Mary F. Rockefeller. Frederick Billings, the grandfather of
Mary French Rockefeller, created the estate in the late nineteenth century when
he established a progressive dairy farm and a professionally managed forest. Today, the park, encompassing the original mansion, gardens and
the surrounding Mount Tom Historic Forest, stands as a cultural landscape of
great historic significance and integrity.
- Located in the 1807 Charles Dana House, the
Historical Society has an extensive collection
of 18th- and 19th-century furnishings. Exhibitions include decorative arts,
portraits, antique toys, dolls, historic costumes, household and artisan tools,
sleighs, and Woodstock-area artifacts, as well as a 12,000-volume research
library and archives.
- For live performance, check out the Pentangle Council on the
Artists from the world over perform in the 400-seat, historic Woodstock Town Hall Theater; the Down by the River picnic concert series on the banks of the
Ottauquechee, the Maybe Mozart chamber music concerts, and the noontime Brown
Bag concerts are community staples. The intimate Little Theater, located in an old mill building on the Ottauquechee River is host to the
Pentangle's Coffee House Concerts and to the Woolhouse Players, a community
Manchester (40 minutes away)
Nestled at the foot of Mt. Equinox in the Taconic Range, Manchester is the largest of nine towns in the Northshire of Bennington County. The greater Manchester area has a year-round population of about 23,600, but it's a popular four-season vacation area that attracts many visitors and second home owners, boosting the population even higher.
This makes Manchester a treasure-trove of cultural venues, which also offers some of the best designer outlet shopping in the state. Some of the outstanding attractions in the area include:
Hildene, the home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the eldest son of President Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln.
Each year Hildene hosts a
variety of popular special events, including the Antique
and Classic Car Show, the Hildene Farm, Food & Folk Art Fair, and the
Candlelight Tours (all have been chosen as "Top Ten Events" by
the Vermont Chamber of Commerce). The Hildene website carries a complete calendar of events.
- The American Museum of Fly Fishing is a one-of-a-kind institution housing the largest collection of fly-fishing
paraphernalia in the world, including a collection of over twelve-hundred rods,
four-hundred reels, thousands of flies, and the tackle of many famous Americans, including Ernest Hemingway.
Publishers of the quarterly journal, The American Fly Fisher.
Southern Vermont Art Center is home to ten galleries of contemporary and classic art. Works of art are placed both on display
and for sale in a series of rotating exhibits, and there are frequent dance and theater performances. Solo shows and juried group exhibitions
are scheduled throughout the year; an outdoor sculpture garden and beautiful
botany trail featuring native flora are also available.
Manchester Music Festival offers programs of fine classical music performed by world-class artists. It also
provides gifted students the opportunity to study with distinguished
artist/teachers and to perform chamber music concerts for the community
throughout the year.
- Gallery North Star is Vermont's premier source for fine art by Vermont artists. Since 1975, it has offered original paintings,
sculpture and prints by more than 40 artists. Another local gallery, Tilting at Windmills, features a broad selection of work by important national, regional and international artists.
- The Dorset Theatre Festival has twice received the Moss Hart Award for Outstanding Theatre. An important part of life in Dorset and Manchester since the 1930s, the Theatre Festival is one of this area's most widely known cultural attractions.
Vermont has an ever-changing array of seasonal activities—festivals, art shows and gallery openings, theater offerings, and must-see events. Here are some of the best calendars, constantly updated, where you can stay informed about what's happening in the area.