Experience Summer Adventure, Arts, and Festivals
With the first day of summer beginning today, it’s time for outdoor festivals and adventure! Come discover what makes Manchester, VT the place to be all summer long.
Located on 412 acres in Manchester Village, Hildene – the historic Lincoln family estate, built by Presidential son Robert Todd Lincoln – is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a fan of gorgeous architecture, Hildene offers amazing grounds and gardens, trails, informative tours, engaging exhibits, and more. Stop by their goat farm to see how their famous soaps and cheeses are made. Don’t miss the restored 1903 Pullman railcar “Sunbeam” and the “Many Voices” exhibit (the southernmost stop on Vermont’s African American Heritage Trail). Complete the experience with a trip to their fabulous museum store.
See more of the surrounding area and take in some history on a guided adventure with Backroad Discovery Tours! Their guide will regale you with fun facts, history, and local lore about the area. They’ll show you around and quench that need for VT info with tips on local adventures, attractions, food, and more from the comfort of a 10-passenger tour vehicle. Expect to see mountain/valley vistas, the oldest marble quarry in the U.S., quintessential Vermont villages, an iconic covered bridge, a Norman Rockwell exhibit, the “birthplace of Vermont”, and more!
If you’d rather stretch your legs among a beautiful Green Mountain garden, visit the Seven Springs Garden and Sculpture Park. The name “Seven Springs” refers to the seven springs that run on the surrounding property. The land was first settled before the Revolutionary War and farmed for generations. The 20 acres of gardens, fields, and orchards are a labor of love that has been built and cared for by four generations of dedicated gardeners and art lovers. Get inspired and in touch with nature. Tours are available on Thursdays and Saturdays, by appointment only.
The Manchester Music Festival engages, inspires, and grows a supportive audience for classical music; performs at the highest level of artistic excellence; and trains exceptional young performers in the art of chamber music. The Festival’s 48th season will kick off on July 7, 2022, and features an impressive lineup of outstanding musicians and exciting performances.
If it’s theater you seek, then be sure to check out the Dorset Theatre Festival. Don’t miss the 45th Main Stage Summer Season at the Dorset Playhouse featuring Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Wait Until Dark (June 23 – July 9); the World Premiere of Scarecrow, written and performed by Heidi Armbruster (July 14 – 23); Back Together Again, a new concert featuring the music of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (July 27 – August 7); and the World Premiere of Thirst by Ronán Noone (August 18 – September 3). All performances will take place indoors at the Dorset Playhouse, beginning June 23.
Taconic Music‘s Summer Festival brings internationally acclaimed musicians and Chamber Music Intensive students from across the country together for four weeks of chamber-music performances and master classes. Taconic’s resident ensemble, Taconic Chamber Players, offers a broad repertoire of Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and contemporary works, including pop, rock and jazz arrangements. They perform across the region at a variety of fun and interesting venues–from bespoke concerts in private homes to performances in local galleries and traditional concert halls.
Broadway stars will shine bright at the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s (SVAC) Arkell Pavilion this summer at Broadway in Vermont, a Concert Series hosted by TONY AWARD® Winner CHRISTIAN HOFF. The celebrity line-up includes: Broadway’s original “Annie,” TONY AWARD® Nominee ANDREA McARDLE in Confessions of a Broadway Baby on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. EMMY AWARD® Winner and International Star, LUCIE ARNAZ in I Got The Job! Songs From My Musical Past on Thursday, August 18, 2022. Broadway’s “Rocky,” 3-time TONY AWARD® Nominee ANDY KARL and TONY AWARD® Nominee ORFEH in Legally Bound on Friday, September 2, 2022. TONY AWARD® Winner DONNA McKECHNIE (A Chorus Line), in Take Me to the World: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim on Saturday, September 17, 2022.
The Vermont Summer Festival is Vermont’s premier equestrian event just 10 minutes north of Manchester from July 6 – August 14, 2022. The entire family will enjoy this boutique-style riding competition, which features divisions for every level of equestrian, from the Short Stirrup Classic to the weekly Grand Prix. Plans for this year’s Festival include an enhanced VIP experience, weekly exhibitor parties, and additional food service options. Spectators are welcome with competitions taking place each week, Wednesday through Sunday, 8 am to 4 pm. For details – CLICK HERE.
After a COVID hiatus, we are thrilled to welcome back the Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival from August 19 – 21. GMBR features a variety of bluegrass, roots, and Americana music from both icons of the industry and innovative up-and-coming artists. Come and enjoy the multiple stage performances, camping, local food trucks, Vermont craft beer and wine, and all in our magical Green Mountain setting!
Join us for an evening of fun at the Annual Manchester Streetfest! Locals and visitors alike are welcome to party together on Main Street this summer. Join us on either Friday, June 24th, or Friday, July 15 from 6pm – 9pm for an evening full of fun and music. Main Street will close down between Thai Basil and The Mountain Goat for the community and visitors to gather, listen to live music, taste local specialty food, browse booths, and more. Entry is FREE
Our Neighbors – Taste and Shop
Had your fill of all that Manchester has to offer or just looking to venture out beyond Manchester’s town limits? Taste and Shop at some of our surrounding areas’ hidden gems. Start with a trip to Dorset and experience an incredible selection of quality Vermont goods at H.N Williams store. Open since 1840, the store has been run continuously by 8 generations of family owners. From footwear and apparel to cheese and wine (and even tools for the farm!), you’ll find it at H.N. Williams. Stop in today!
After completing your shopping excursion head over to Dorset Bakery. From its inception, it has been admired for its classic American baked goods; Provincial-style décor; and warm, inviting atmosphere. The bakery features hand-made crusty breads, delicious pastries, unique sandwiches, healthy salads, tasty soups, decadent sweets, and more! All of their goodies are made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. It’s the ideal place to stop for a lunch date, grab a quick chat with friends over a cappuccino, hold a breakfast business meeting, or pick up cupcakes for the kids.
Within a 15-20 minute drive of downtown Manchester, discover two unique culinary experiences serving up dinner most nights of the week. For fresh fare rooted in tradition, head up Route 11 and stop at Johnny Seesaw’s restaurant! They serve up simple, inventive food with deep connections to the surrounding area. Incorporating local ingredients with a fresh twist, their menu celebrates Vermont and elevates comfort food. With the main dining room in the footprint of the 1924 roadhouse, every effort has been made to recreate the wonder, look, and feel of the original Johnny Seesaw’s. Inside, you will see the original log beams in the ceiling, the legendary circular fire pit with the original black hood and copper cutouts, and the old fieldstone fireplace with authentic wood relief carvings. Make your reservations today to experience the history!
Another option for a great meal, with its barn board paneling and multiple fireplaces, is The Publyk House in Bennington. Just one step into the lobby, and you can feel the warmth of the brick hearth and smell the aroma of baked bread. The dinner menu includes some old-time favorites…Baked New England Cod, Blue Ox NY Strip, Slow Cooked Prime Rib, and Herb Roasted Chicken. With every meal, diners are treated to the bountiful salad bar and fresh, honey-wheat bread loaf with whipped maple butter.
Manchester offers wonderful opportunities to make a most memorable summer for you and your loved ones. Whether you are here full-time, or are currently planning your next visit, we thank you for being a part of the Manchester, VT community!
And don’t forget to take pictures and tag us at #manchestervt