One of the things I miss most about living on the East Coast is escaping to Vermont for a long holiday weekend. I always felt a bit like a rebel: while I watched the traffic pile up heading south toward the Jersey Shore, I’d cruise all the way up the Garden State Parkway to the New York State Thruway unhindered. Entering Vermont was always a bit of culture shock: roadside billboards disappeared suddenly and the landscape transformed into seemingly endless miles of green.
My retreat of choice was the tiny and quiet small town of Manchester, which I’d discovered completely by chance a few years ago. Although I’ve already shared a few fun things to do there, a return trip late last spring yielded four more things to love in and around Manchester, Vermont.
Breakfast at Sherrie’s Cafe
I found a new favorite breakfast spot at Sherrie’s Cafe along the main thoroughfare into Manchester. Breakfast offerings are standard but superb: properly fluffy buttermilk pancakes, thick cuts of salty bacon pan-fried to perfection, and it wouldn’t be Vermont without honest-to-goodness maple syrup. The umbrella-shaded tables on the patio merely added to the experience, allowing for the al fresco enjoyment of the crisp, clean Vermont air. [Update: Sherrie’s is permanently closed after a fire damaged the building.]
A Turn at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home
The home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the only one of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln’s children to survive to adulthood, this Georgian Revival mansion was built in the early 1900s and contains many historical artifacts from that era. As beautiful as the house is, the views of Vermont’s Green Mountains from the Hoyt Formal Garden are the real attention-grabber at this expansive estate that housed generations of Lincolns until 1975. Don’t miss the the fully restored Pullman train car just a short walk away from the house, a reference to Robert Todd’s one-time presidency of the Pullman Company.
Hiking Lye Brook Falls Trail
I’ll pretty much travel anywhere there’s a waterfall, so when I read about Lye Brook Falls Trail, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to hike to Vermont’s tallest. Although the trailhead was a bit difficult to locate, the trail to the falls is fairly easy, a little rocky, and only about four and a half miles out and back. At 125 feet tall, the falls are a nice, cool spot to relax with a made-on-the-trail picnic lunch.
Dinner at The Other Woman’s Tavern at The Perfect Wife
A great way to refuel after a day of sightseeing and physical exertion, an evening meal at The Other Woman Tavern is a definite indulgence. With rich dishes made using fresh, seasonal ingredients that are locally grown and produced and incredibly generous portions, the laid back cabin-like atmosphere is a great way to close out a day in the Manchester area.
What’s your favorite close-to-home, small town escape?