6 Places to Enjoy Winter in Vermont


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When it comes to winter no other New England state does it quite like Vermont. Small towns go all out decorating for the holidays, mountains are covered in snow and everyone is outside exploring. Winter in Vermont is magical no matter how you spend your time.

These 6 winter destinations in Vermont are full of fun things to do, delicious food, and activities to get out in the snow!

Woodstock

Woodstock Vermont is the quintessential New England town. It’s small and quaint with plenty to do in town and the surrounding area. Conde Nest Traveler even named it one of The Most Beautiful Towns in America. After hearing that how can you skip this town?

For a perfectly comfortable and cozy place to stay look no further than The Woodstocker B&B. With only 9 rooms you’ll get amazingly personalized service in a relaxing setting. Plus, it’s in a great location, within walking distance to the downtown shops and restaurants. The house itself dates back to 1830 and has the original post and beams in the dining room as well as the original hardwood floors.

Middle Covered Bridge in Woodstock, Vermont.

Whether you enjoy being outdoors or toasty warm by the fire there is something for everyone to do. A few outdoor favorites include Nordic skiing and snowshoeing at the Woodstock Nordic Center, sledding down the Old Mt Tom Ski Hill, and taking a sleigh ride at Billings Farm & Museum. For all the skiers and snowboarders out there Suicide Six Ski Area is located right in Woodstock, and Killington is just a 30 minute drive.

For the indoor crowd check out the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, or enjoy a delicious meal at one of the local restaurants in downtown Woodstock.

There are also several winter events to enjoy in Woodstock. Each December the town holds Wassail Weekend where visitors and locals alike enjoy the historic homes decorated for the holiday season, twinkling lights everywhere, and sleigh rides. 

In March make sure to come and enjoy one of Vermont’s most delicious traditions, Maple Sugar Open House Week. This event happens all over Vermont, but in Woodstock, it’s extra special with so many sugar houses in the area. Enjoy pancake breakfasts, maple sugar tasting, and more!

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Stowe

When visitors think of Vermont in Winter they usually think of Stowe. With lots of great skiing and riding, Stowe and the surrounding area is the reason Vermont is known as America’s Winter Playground.

With plenty of Inns and Resorts of all shapes and sizes, there is something in this Vermont destination for everyone. However, if I could stay anywhere in Stowe, I’d pick the Trapp Family Lodge, hands-down, and not just because I love the Sound of Music. When the Von Trapp’s fled Austria they eventually settled in Vermont. They began welcoming guests to the lodge in the summer of 1950 and the lodge has been there ever since. The lodge has sweeping mountain views and is set on 2,500 acres. With cross country skiing, snowshoeing, a beirhall, brewery, fitness center, and spa this place has everything you could ever want for a mountain escape.

A maple sugar shack during a Vermont winter

Did you know that Vermont has the most breweries per capita than any other state in the US? And the best one is located right in Stowe, The Alchemist. If you come to Vermont and only visit one brewery, make it the Alchemist, their flagship beer Header Topper is the stuff beer dreams are made of and is heavily sought after by beer lovers. In addition, there are 2 other breweries in Stowe, Von Trapp Brewing and Idletyme Brewing. With 4 other breweries within a 30-minute drive from Stowe, any beer connoisseur will love it here!

If you’re not into beer, or you are but want to get out and explore there is so much you can discover in Stowe. For a thrilling outdoor experience try fat biking or snowmobiling. Dog sledding is also a very popular winter activity for thrill-seekers and animal lovers alike. 

Interested in learning a new skill during your Vermont winter getaway? Sunrise Mountain Guides has half and full-day ice climbing, classes for all ages and abilities. So if climbing up a frozen waterfall sounds like fun, sign up! If you’re into ice, but don’t want to climb it go on an ice fishing trip with the guides at the Fly Rod Shop.

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The Mad River Valley

If I moved to another area of Vermont, I’d relocated to the Mad River Valley. The people are lovely and there are plenty of fun things to do.

For a secluded place to stay, that is still close to the action stay at the Grunberg Haus. Owned by two Vermont transplants living the Vermont life this Inn is filled with vintage vinyl, snow sports gear adorns the walls and is perfect for the social adult traveler. And if that isn’t enough to make you want to come and stay, they have two adorable dogs, Neko and June!

A fun activity that could last you all day if you wanted is this 42 mile covered bridges driving tour put together by the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce. It will take you through 7 classic New England covered bridges. Additionally, you’ll go past plenty of spots to sample local food and see bunches of gorgeous views.

Some other must-dos in the Mad River Valley include taking a glass blowing class at Salt and Sand Studios, exploring the trails at the Blueberry Lake Cross-Country Ski Center, and going to the Skatium, an outdoor ice skating rink. And no trip to Vermont would be complete without heading to the Ben & Jerry’s factory for a tour and come of their delicious ice cream.

One of the best things about the Mad River Valley is the Mad Bus. This free shuttle service takes visitors and locals to various places in the area like Mount Ellen, Lincoln Peak, and the Ski areas. It also operates in the evenings so it’s safe and easy to enjoy the area’s nightlife!

Burlington

Burlington is the only actual city in Vermont, and I use the word city lightly as it’s not that big. However, like every other town in Vermont, it is oozing with charm and full of quirkiness.

For your stay in Burlington book a room at the Willard Street Inn. The Queen Anne and Colonial-Georgian Revival-style mansion was built in 1881 and became an Inn in 1996. To say this place is gorgeous is an understatement. Not only will you feel like royalty because of your room, each morning you’ll get a delicious chef-prepared breakfast to help you start off your day.

In the winter months Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian road lined with unique shops, restaurants, and cafes is adorned with twinkling lights. No matter the time of year there are always street performers (yes even in winter) and events going on. To make sure you don’t miss out on the fun check the Church Street Events Calendar before your trip.

Lake Champlain in winter

If you’re looking for a day trip head south and stop at the Shelburne Museum. This is one of the best museums in the entire state and it’s nestled on 45 acres with spectacular scenic views. It holds one of the world’s largest collections of American folk art, with artifacts telling the story of Vermont and buildings transported to the museum for preservation.

During your trip to Burlington, you should also check out The Archives Bar. The tasty cocktails aren’t the only draw as this bar is also full of vintage arcade games including Mortal Kombat, the Simpsons, and Ms. Pac-Man. If you’re into live music Higher Ground hosts some pretty amazing bands and events.

No matter the season Lake Champlain is a big draw. Once the temperatures start to drop the Lake freezes over and you can walk on it (Please use caution when doing so) and even go ice fishing. A stroll along the lake is great on a sunny winter day.

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Manchester

Manchester Vermont is another gorgeous small town with excellent restaurants and plenty of shopping within driving distance of 3 ski resorts. While I’m a little biased, because I live in the area, but I’d say Manchester is one of the most magical places in Vermont during the winter.

When looking for a great place to stay in Manchester stay within walking distance of downtown at the Inn at Manchester. With 21 beautifully decorated guest rooms, 12 of which are suites, you might have a hard time leaving the inn. The breakfast is to die for, the fireplaces are always lit, and the living room style pub serves up tastes drinks.

I don’t usually add a specific restaurant to my recommendations list as I’m not a foodie, but if you come to Manchester and don’t eat at the Ye Old Tavern you’re missing out. It originally opened in 1709, long before Vermont became a colony or state, as the Stagecoach Inn and has been open under one name or another ever since. As for the food, WOW! I’ve never had a meal I didn’t love there. Some favorites include the cranberry fritters with maple butter, the homemade mac and cheese (sometimes they have lobster mac), and the chocolate cake.

As for snow sports in the area; Stratton, Bromley, and Magic Mountain are all within a 45 minutes drive or less from Manchester. If you or a family member is just learning a ski or snowboard go to Bromley. It is the smallest of the 3 mountains in the area and is less intimidating for those new to the sport. 

Some other great activities in Manchester are visiting Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home where you can see one of the three remaining stovepipe hats belonging to President Abraham Lincoln. Make sure to stop downtown at Pastime Pinball which is a fusion museum/arcade with over 60 pinball machines from the 1950s to today. When you’re done playing pinball cross the street and head over to Vermont’s best independent bookstore Northshire Bookstore.

The Lake Morey Area

There are so many areas of Vermont that are underrated, and Lake Morey is one of those areas. Well secluded and not heavily trafficked, you might feel like you have snow dusted nature of Vermont all to yourself.

The best place to stay in the area is the family-owned and operated Lake Morey Resort. The big draw to the Lake Morey Resort in winter in their 4.5 mile long ice skating trail. The trail weaves around Lake Morey as Vermont provides a beautiful winter backdrop. Plus, they have skates available for rent so no worries if you don’t have your own. In addition, they have an indoor pool, movie theater, VAST trail access, and cross country ski trails and rentals. For a little extra relaxation, book a massage, or enjoy the farm-to-table dinner menu at the Lakeside Dining Room. And with annual events like a Winter Carnival and a Pond Hockey Tournament, it’s fun for the whole family!

Outside of the resort, you’ll find activities scattered throughout Fairlee, Vermont, and the surrounding area. Head over to Chapman’s General store for all things Vermont from maple syrup to souvenirs (and they’re excellent wine selection!). For the Kids jump in the car for a short 15 minute ride to the Montshire Museum of Science. By far the best children’s museum in the state, their buildings and trails are full of hands on learning and discovery. Visit with their turtles, discover the science of bubbles, and more.

King Arthur Flour is based out of Norwich, Vermont is just a 20 minute drive from the Lake Morey Resort. They hold baking classes in their test kitchen which is attached to their bakery and retail store. Classes are for beginners, children, and seasoned bakers alike and range from one day to week-long events. Learn how to make the perfect homemade bread or dabble in eclairs. This will be the highlight of the trip for any baking enthusiast.

Which of these Vermont winter getaways is your favorite?


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