Things to Do in Manchester, Vermont

Places to visit in Manchester, VT.

Manchester is a shire town located in Bennington County, Vermont. It is home to over 4,500 people in the 2021 census. You will find plenty of options if you are looking for fun and exciting things to do while visiting Manchester. You can enjoy several things in the area, including the Hildene Lincoln Family Home, the American Museum of Fly Fishing, Equinox Mountain, and the Southern Vermont Arts Center.

Things to Do in Manchester, Vermont

Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home in Manchester VT

The Lincoln Family Home, or Hildene, is a historic home in Manchester, Vermont. The former home of Robert Lincoln is located on a beautiful 412-acre property.

Visitors can experience Hildene’s historic charm on a guided tour. You can learn about how the home was built in the Georgian Revival style and how the family lived here. There are also several educational programs on offer at the house.

Hildene - The Lincoln Family Home
Hildene – The Lincoln Family Home

The Hildene museum houses artifacts from the family, including one of Lincoln’s Bibles, a 1908 Aeolian pipe organ, a stovepipe hat, and a cypress log cabin. In addition, many original plantings from 1907 are found throughout the grounds.

Several walking trails are available throughout the estate. There is also an animal barn and composting facility. If you have any questions about the house or its history, do not hesitate to call the staff at home.

Equinox Mountain in Manchester Vermont

Equinox Mountain is the second-highest peak in the Taconic Range. The mountain rises 3,840 feet above sea level in Bennington County, Vermont. The mountain is home to a Carthusian monastery, a radio tower, and a wooden barn, among its many features.

View east from Lookout Rock on Equinox Mountain in Manchester
View east from Lookout Rock on Equinox Mountain in Manchester

It also has one of the highest vertical prominences in the state. For instance, Mount Washington in New Hampshire is visible from the mountain. Two marked hiking trails climb up the hill.

One is the Blue Summit Trail, which starts as a wide trail through a hardwood stand. Its steepness increases steadily. This trail is part of the Equinox Preservation Trust, which manages the area.

View northeast along the Lookout Rock Trail on Equinox Mountain in Manchester
View northeast along the Lookout Rock Trail on Equinox Mountain in Manchester

The other is the Monastery of the Holy Cross. Its interior has exhibits and a prayer room. It also has excellent views of the Manchester and White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Northshire Bookstore in Manchester

The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, is a must-see for book lovers. In addition to being a great place to shop, it hosts several exciting events and author signings throughout the year.

For those in the Manchester, VT area, you can stop by the store any time of day or night, Monday through Sunday. In addition, you can check out the store’s website even if you aren’t in town.

Northshire Bookstore, Manchester VT
Northshire Bookstore, Manchester VT

Northshire Bookstore is one of the most successful independent bookstores in the country. It is stocked with thousands of books. And it’s also got a great selection of toys and gifts. Plus, the store has a cafe and deli attached.

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Aside from its fantastic selection of books, the store also sells CDs, DVDs, clothing, stationery, gag gifts, incense, and more. They even have a turntable for vinyl music.

Southern Vermont Arts Center

The Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC ) is a multidisciplinary arts organization in Manchester, Vermont. The center offers a range of arts experiences and is located on over 100 acres of pristine forest in the heart of the Green Mountains. The center has something for everyone, from performances and concerts to art exhibits and workshops.

Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, Vermont
Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, Vermont

One of the most impressive features of the center is the sculpture garden, considered the largest in Vermont. It features commanding mountain views and perfect spots for cross-country skiing. There are also nature trails and picnic areas that make for a perfect day spent outside.

The center’s newest addition is the curATE cafe. This cafe is located in the museum galleries and offers a full bar, brunch, and dinner service. SVAC has partnered with Church Street Hospitality to operate this establishment.

American Museum of Fly Fishing

The American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont, is a five-acre campus dedicated to the history, literature, and culture of fly fishing. Established in 1968, the museum provides access to the world’s most extensive collection of angling artifacts.

Best places to visit in Manchester, Vermont

Since 1984, the museum has been open to the general public free of charge. Today, the museum’s collections include more than 25,000 items and 90 linear feet of photographs. It also has a 7,000-volume library. As well the museum publishes its journal, which is published quarterly.

The museum’s mission is to preserve the angling heritage and promote the conservation of fly-fishing waters. To this end, the museum hosts some events, such as workshops and gallery programs.

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