From Manhattan to Manchester (Vermont), With Love
By Susan Cava

So, you are a Manhattanite who can’t afford a summer share in the Hamptons, are
Long Beach’ed out and need an escape from the city before cold weather.  

Don’t fret; a fabulous weekend is a short car ride away!  Pack your overnight bag
and head to Manchester Village, Vermont –- one of New England’s greatest
overnight getaways and you don’t need snow or foliage to enjoy it.

First, you’ll need a car to get there; a two-day rental averages $100-120.  The ride
is three and a half hours north of Manhattan with much of the trip on the scenic
Taconic Parkway.  You cannot consider yourself a true Vermont-bound visitor if
you do not stop at the infamous diner, now called O’s Eatery, 125 miles north of

In operation since 1953 (formerly Roscoe’s Diner) one might wonder if they have
made any updates since then, however, it is a pilgrimage one’s bladder usually
must make.  One look at the menu and you’ll see that Manhattan prices are long
gone.  For around five dollars you can eat a hearty brunch of eggs, home fries,
bacon, toast and coffee which will leave you understanding the rest of the
country’s disdain for New York City prices.

Returning to the Taconic, just a mile past the diner, be sure to look up at the
grassy hills on the right –- you will see an enormous sculpture of a head, among
other statues, residing on a front lawn.  If you look real close you will see the
giant head mouth, “Eighty miles to Manchester.”  Okay, maybe not, but it’s still
an oddly wonderful sight.

From the Taconic, head to Route 22, the scenic route to Manchester.  As you pass
through Lebanon, New York you’ll see a multitude of true blue antique stores,
well worth a stop.  And just one mile out of Lebanon on Route 22, be sure to
drive slowly and stop at the infamous watering pipe located on the right,
protruding from a concrete slab with little fanfare.  Some days there are scores of
cars waiting to fill up water bottles, other days there are none.  Be sure to get
some water from this mythical water pipe, supposedly from the purest springs in
New York, it’s quite refreshing.  

Continuing on you will hit the picturesque town of Bennington, home to the
famed Bennington College, location of the film Baby Boom, and the monolithic
Bennington Battle Monument (a mini Washington Monument); you are now just
twenty minutes to Manchester Village.

Manchester Village

Arriving in Manchester Village you will see a perfectly manicured region
featuring exquisite homes, breath-taking mountains and the best factory outlet
shopping your eyes will ever see!  From Polo to Movado to Nine West to Coach,
it’s a smorgasbord of true discounted shopping!

But first, check in to your inn.  I recommend the dashing
Reluctant Panther, a
Victorian house in the center of Manchester Village that has twenty-one rooms.  
This cozy bed and breakfast is located just steps from the stunning, legendary
(and pricey)
Equinox Hotel and sits at the base of the Green Mountains.  As with
just about everything in Manchester Village, and everything mentioned in this
article, it is located on Route 7A.  Do note that most inn’s run off-season specials
so check the Web before you go.

What to See in Manchester, VT

Aside from shopping, and trust me, the outlets are magnetic, try to fit in a trip to
Bromley Mountain.  Bromley is just six miles from Manchester Village and is
Vermont’s largest outdoor fun park.  It features America’s longest alpine slide,
picturesque miniature golf, an outdoor water slide and of course hiking, all with
spectacular views of Vermont’s Green Mountains.

Somewhere between Bromley and your shopping, head to the
Jelly Mill, a barn
of a shop with a Christmas tinge and a jukebox organ that never stops playing.  
There are four lively floors and on the top they have an adorable café called The
Buttery.  While you might have to wait a short while for a table, the food tastes
just like your mom’s, dare I say better, and is certainly worth it.  Besides, the Jelly
Mill has lots of fun things to look at, be it Native Indian jewelry or folk art or ...

At some point during your stay, be sure to park your car near the Equinox (if you
don’t stay nearby) and walk to Prospect Street where the enormous houses on the
block are breath taking.  Continue to where Prospect Street meets Taconic Road
(about a third of a mile) and up the dirt road slightly to the left.  Walk to the top
of the road and then a bit deeper in the woods.  Off to your left, you will find one
of the most beautiful views you will ever see; a large, gorgeous lake at the base
of the Green Mountains.  The vast lake perfectly reflects the endless mountain
trees –- an incredibly peaceful sight, made more tranquil by the lack of even one
other visitor.  Rumor has it that way back when this lake was created for the posh
guests of the Equinox –- whatever the case, you’ll be thankful someone created it.

The great thing about Manchester Village is that it is small enough to navigate,
but large enough to drive and discover such brilliant finds as
Hildene, the 412
acre public estate formerly of Robert Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s son that
features polo matches, walking tours, antique shows, etc.

Manchester Village never has and never will have a thriving nightlife (greatly
due to strict town codes) but they do have good restaurants.  
Mulligan’s, for
example, is a restaurant that reminds me of the bar in Cheers, good people,
excellent food and a gorgeous wooden bar.  Whether it is the gargantuan nachos
or the enormous burgers, this place not only does their food right, it is the rare
restaurant that feels like home…with better lighting.

Don't Miss Mount Equinox

On your way back to lady Manhattan, do take the time to drive up the skyline of
Mount Equinox, located just outside Manchester Village.  If you can survive the
heart-stopping drive up, you will be greeted with a stunning five state view of
New England.

As you head home, do note that it is normal to ponder living in Manchester full
time.  Matter of fact, I’m convinced Manchester real estate agents put something
in the water at that mystical pipe in Lebanon that leaves every visitor wanting
more Manchester.

May is known as Black Fly Season in Vermont, a time to avoid due to the
abundance of black flies.  Columbus Day Weekend is the single busiest weekend
in Manchester Village due to foliage seekers and the holiday, another time to

Click here to find lodging in Manchester, Vermont

About the author: Susan Cava lives in Manhattan, New York and predominantly writes
about animals and travel.  Aside from having been published in Animal Fair, Pet Gazette,, Technology Reports and other American publications she has had a book
published entitled From The Cage. Currently Susan is working on two screenplays.
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