Things to Do, Places to Go, People to See
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The geographic designation of the southwest corner of Vermont may be Bennington County, but in recent years residents and visitors have branded this beautiful region nestled between the Taconic and Green Mountains as The Shires of Vermont. It has the unusual distinction of having two shire towns, historically referred to as "county seats." Anchored by Bennington (the South Shire) and Manchester (the North Shire), it is a collective of 15 quintessential Vermont towns and villages connected by a scenic ribbon of highway known as Historic Route 7A. Surrounded by mountains and enriched by the waters of the famous Battenkill River that runs through the valley, The Shires has historically been a popular year-round destination for those seeking the authentic Vermont experience. And it is within a 4-hour drive from New York City, Hartford, Boston, Northern New Jersey, and Canada.
Art, Theatre, Music, Lectures, Culture, History
American Museum of Fly Fishing
4104 Main Street, Manchester, VT 05254
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm.
The American Museum of Fly Fishing was established in 1968 in Manchester by a group of passionate and enthusiastic anglers who believed that the history of angling was an important part of American culture and tradition. The Museum was created to serve as an institution to research, preserve, and interpret the treasures of angling history. Today The American Museum of Fly Fishing is a steward of the history, traditions, and practices of the sport of fly fishing and promotes the conservation of its waters.
Bennington Center for the Arts
44 Gypsy Lane, Bennington, VT 05201
Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-5pm.
The Bennington Center for the Arts is a non-profit art center built by local philanthropist Bruce Laumeister and his wife, Elizabeth Small, to showcase their interests in Native American art, art of the animal kingdom, and covered bridges. The permanent collection features paintings and bronzes of and by Native Americans, along with Navajo rugs, pots, kachinas, and jewelry. Exceptional paintings from Art of the Animal Kingdom exhibitions are often on display. The Covered Bridge Museum offers visitors the opportunity to discover the history and legends of covered bridges through exhibits on engineering, construction, tools, and creators.
75 Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201
Open daily 10am-5 pm June through October; Open Thursday-Tuesday November through May. Closed for the month of January, and Easter Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day (closes at 1 pm on December 24 and 31), and July 4. Community Day Free Admission October 15!
The Bennington Museum is home to the largest collection of Grandma Moses paintings in the world, and a selection of her works is always on view. With the museum’s introduction of “Creative Collisions,” visitors discover works by Grandma Moses side-by-side with galleries of Military History and Contemporary Art, while Gilded Age Vermont can be found in close proximity to the ongoing Bennington Modernism exhibition. To learn about Art, History, and Innovation from the early days of Vermont to the present, please visit the Bennington Museum in the quintessential New England town of Bennington, Vermont. Beautiful walking trails, too!
Clark Art Institute
225 South Street, Williamstown, MA 01267
Galleries open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Campus open daily for hiking, picnicking and exploring from dawn to dusk.
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, one of the few institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with research and academic programs, including a major art history library, is a leading international center for research and discussion on the nature of art and art history. Set in a 140-acre campus of expansive lawns, meadows, water features, and walking trails. The Clark’s collection contains European and American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century.
Dorset Historical Society Museum
Route 30 at Kent Hill Road, Dorset, VT 05251
Open Wednesday-Friday 10am-4 pm, Saturday 10am-2 pm, and by appointment.
Portions of the Dorset Historical Society’s collection are showcased in the museum's five main galleries in rotating exhibits focused on different themes. The collection is outstanding for the diversity of histories represented; for example, Republic of Vermont coins (1785-1788) made at the nearby Harmon Mint; artifacts representative of the town's long-running marble industry; stoneware produced at the local Fenton Potteries (1800-1830s); iron tools forged at 19th century foundries in East and North Dorset; works by the prominent Dorset stencil artist Jessica Bond; works by Dorset painters from the period when the town was a mecca for artists (1885-1950) through the present day; an extensive native fern collection; photographs, postcards, household utensils, decorative objects, farm tools, textiles, and clothing that belonged to Dorset families over many generations; pictures, memorabilia, and artifacts from the town's 12 school districts (1834-1950); and photographs, programs, playbills, and archival materials from The Dorset Playhouse and The Caravan Players. In addition, maps, manuscripts, books, family histories, and other archives make the museum a valuable resource for people doing genealogical work or other historical research.
The Dorset Players
104 Cheney Road, Dorset, VT 05251
The Dorset Players, the non-professional theatre group that owns the Dorset Playhouse, offers an active Fall-Winter-Spring season:
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change - May 19, 20, 26 & 27 at 7:30pm; May 21 & 28
(The Dorset Theatre Festival is a non-profit Equity Company that offers professional summer theatre at the Playhouse.)
Dorset Theatre Festival
104 Cheney Road, Dorset, VT 05251
From June to September, DTF mounts four Main Stage productions drawing from some of this country’s most talented playwrights, actors, and directors. Opening its doors to local thespians in 1929, the Dorset Theatre became host to the professional Equity Summer Festival in 1976. Today the Dorset Theatre Festival is a rich cultural resource and an integral part of the community.
1005 Hildene Road, Manchester, VT 05254
Open daily 9:30am-4:30pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 24-26, and Easter Day.
Each year Hildene’s staff and volunteers welcome thousands of guests daily to the Lincoln home, grounds, and walking trails. His father was born in a log cabin and called from the humblest rank in life to preside over our nation during the most momentous period of its history. One generation later, Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood, became Chairman of the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturing corporation at the turn of the 20th century. He built his Georgian Revival mansion in 1905 in the scenic village of Manchester. It became home to only Lincoln descendants until 1975, longer than any other Lincoln residence. It is the Great American Story.
Manchester Community Library
138 Cemetery Avenue, Manchester Center, VT 05255
Open Monday & Wednesday 10am-6pm, Tuesday & Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-4pm, Closed Sundays.
Besides books and other library resources in every imaginable format, the Manchester Community Library offers a jam-packed schedule of films, lectures, workshops, author talks, club meetings, yoga, social and/or educational gatherings, and other special activities and events for all ages. (All are welcome! Library membership is not required to visit or attend free programs.)
Manchester Music Festival
42 Dillingham Avenue, Manchester, VT 05254
The Manchester Music Festival, a non-profit corporation, operates year-round and offers classical music performances and music education of the highest caliber. Classical music concerts include seven summer concerts at the Southern Vermont Arts Center, the Manchester Chamber Orchestra’s Fall Tour, and Holiday Concerts around the Northshire. MMF also hosts renowned musicians and operates a full-scholarship summer chamber music program for pre-professional performers. For children, MMF operates the Michael Rudiakov Music Academy and offers private lessons in violin, viola, and cello, and a youth ensemble for string players.
4869 Main Street, Manchester Center, VT 05255
Open Sunday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-9pm.
No visit to Southern Vermont is complete without an extended visit - or two or three - to the family-owned, independent Northshire Bookstore and its in-house café, Spiral Press. You won’t believe the quantity and quality of books, the huge children’s floor, the toys, games, gifts, clothing, jewelry, stationery - they even have a self-publishing program. They also host a very busy schedule of author events, public issues forums, reading groups, and community seminars and workshops. “The legacy of Northshire goes beyond just being an amazing bookstore and gathering place,” comments Shay Totten on the occasion of the store’s 40th anniversary in 2016. “It’s a living example of what an asset a thriving cultural institution can be to a community.”
Southern Vermont Arts Center
930 SVAC Drive, Manchester, VT 05254
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm.
The Southern Vermont Arts Center provides cultural, educational, and creative opportunities for all ages. Situated amid 100+ acres of pristine forest in the heart of the Green Mountains, SVAC offers diverse exhibitions featuring artwork, photography, and sculpture by our member artists plus more than 800 pieces of 19th and 20th century art, as well as the largest sculpture park in Vermont. With a busy schedule of dynamic classes, performances, and other events for all ages, the Southern Vermont Arts Center has something for everyone. The Boswell Botany Trail, the Sculpture Park, and the acres of woodlands welcome hikers, snow-shoers, and cross-country skiers from dawn to dusk.
Brattleboro Farmers’ Market - May-October: Saturdays 9am-2pm on Route 9 near the covered bridge, and Tuesdays 4-7pm on Flat Street in the Brattleboro Food Coop parking lot. November-March: Saturdays 10am-2pm at the River Garden, 157 Main Street.
Dorset Farmers’ Market (year-round) - Winter: Sundays 10am-2pm at JK Adams, 1430 Vt Route 30.
Manchester Farmers' Market - May-October: Thursdays 3pm-6pm located in Adams Park, Rt 7A in the heart of Manchester Center. (Adams Park is opposite Gringo Jacks) Ample street parking and parking is also available in the Zion Episcopal Church parking lot.
West River Farmers' Market, Londonderry - May-October: Saturdays 9am-1pm at the intersection of Routes 100 and 11 in the heart of Londonderry.
Rutland Farmers’ Market - May-October: Saturdays 9am-2pm and Wednesdays 3-6pm at Depot Park in downtown Rutland. November-April: Saturdays 10am-2pm and Wednesdays 3-6pm at 251 West Street, downtown Rutland.
THE SHIRES OF VERMONT - for information, history of the region, events calendars, and more, click here!
Events at and around Stratton Mountain - for more, click here.
Call TPW Real Estate at Stratton for more information: 802.297.9405.
Remember: Our office is located at the base of the Stratton Access Road at 32 Vt Route 30 - we are open 7 days a week - stop by to view our Vacation Home Center and visit with one of our licensed Realtors - we are available to assist you with all of your real estate needs.
Several outdoor activities, dining options and services have reopened at Stratton. To stay informed on what's open at Stratton Mountain Resort, click here.
Events at and around Bromley Mountain - for more, click here.
Call TPW Real Estate in Manchester Center for more information: 802.366.1430.
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Events at and around Okemo - for details, click here.
Call TPW at Okemo for more information: 802.228.9400.
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