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Favorite Springtime Hikes


Favorite Springtime Hikes

With longer days and milder temps, springtime hiking is just fabulous! But – choosing trails with care is key. The Vermont Park Service reminds us to tread lightly, opening high elevation ascents only after May 1, once paths have had a chance to dry out. Rule of thumb, if it’s super muddy, turn back. Safer for you, and better for the ecosystem.

The moderate elevation hikes we’ve collected here are perfect for this time of year! They run through mixed hardwood forests on open, easy-to-navigate trails, past budding trees, and babbling brooks. Find one of Vermont’s prettiest falls and overlooks with dramatic views of Manchester and the valley. If you snap a photo, tag us on Instagram – @manchestervermont!

Groundcover coming back for spring

Prospect Rock

This trail follows old Rootville Road up along Downer Glen Ravine. It winds along a mountain brook before departing into birch-beech forest on a wide and open logging path. The trail crisscrosses the Appalachian and Long Trails at approximately 1.7 miles (same road) before a spur trail on the right leads to Prospect Rock. The overlook offers a gorgeous view of the Manchester Valley with Mount Equinox to the west.

3.5 miles round trip. (2 – 2.15 Hrs) 

How to find it:

From Route 7A in Manchester, travel a ¼ mile east on Route 11/30 to East Manchester Road. Turn right just past Raven’s Den. At the 3-way stop, drive straight onto Rootville Road and follow for about a mile to parking just before the water tower.

Manchester's Prospect Rock

Lye Brook Falls

This trail follows Lye Brook up a steady gradual slope. You’ll find easy-going, dog-friendly walking for a couple of miles to a spur trail on the right that leads to the falls. At 125 feet, it gushes in the spring and is one of the tallest in Vermont. They are at their most exciting in the Spring, because of the rain and winter thaw. Along the way, watch for industrial relics, including traces of old railroad beds and the footprints of kilns and sawmills from more than a century ago. A little history and gorgeous scenery.

4.6 miles round trip (2.25 – 2.5 hrs). 

Manchester, VT’s Lye Brook Falls. Photo by CrazyZouave.

How to find it:

From Route 7A in Manchester, travel east on Depot Street (Routes 11/30) for a 1/2 mile, turning right on Richville Road, just past Vineyard Vines and Brooks Brothers. At the local Post Office, turn left on East Manchester Road and cross beneath Route 7. After the underpass, turn right on the Lye Brook Falls Access Road and follow to the end. Trail access is at the far end of the parking lot.

Equinox Preserve

Equinox Preserve includes a number of easy to moderate loops of varying lengths that run around Equinox Pond, connect to the Southern Vermont Arts Center, or ascend the summit at 3,850 ft. For right now, early spring, we love Robin’s Lookout; a short relatively steep climb (just a 1/2 mile) to spectacular views of the pond, the green mountain range, and the broader valley. To find a map go to https://www.equinoxpreservationtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ept-trail-map-guide.pdf

How to find it:

From Route 7A in Manchester Village, follow West Union Street to the dedicated trail parking lot. If full, consider grabbing a spot behind BBA or along the street in front of the school, or in the rear parking lot of the Equinox Hotel, where you can pick up a map, as well.

HISTORIC MARBLE RAIL TRAIL

From 1904 to 1925, the Manchester, Dorset & Granville Railroad line moved marble from the quarries in Dorset to Manchester Depot.   After being cut and polished at the finishing mill, blocks of marble left Manchester on another train headed to New York City to build massive structures such as the New York Public Library.  Passengers were added later, but plans to extend the railroad line did not come to fruition and the rails were pulled up in 1934.

In late 2019, a passionate group of local residents purchased a section just north of Manchester Center.  They’ve been transforming it ever since.  It is now a 1.6-mile multi-use path. It is a great place for walking, jogging, or biking down the center of the valley with views of the majestic Taconic and Green Mountain Ranges. For a map visit HTTPS://BIKEMANCHESTERVT.COM/HISTORIC-RAIL-TRAIL/

HOW TO FIND IT:

From Route 7A in Manchester Center, follow Route 30 North towards Dorset. About 1/2 mile on RT 30, turn right into  Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park. Grab a parking spot anywhere designated as parking.

EXPERIENCE MANCHESTER, VT

Hiking isn’t the only favorite Spring activity in the area. Southern Vermont is home to world-class fly fishing thanks to the Battenkill River. In Vermont, April into May provides some of the best conditions for flyfishing on the Battenkill, as long as you follow the rule of catch & release.  This April, check out the 1st Annual Battenkill Fly Fishing Festival! This three-day event includes guided tours of habitat restoration of the Battenkill; fisheries and habitat talks and interactive displays showcasing the Battenkill’s wild trout and critical trout habitat; fly fishing workshops and seminars led by partner groups; and an art exhibit featuring internationally-acclaimed sporting artists. The Orvis Company and its expert fly fishing staff will offer free casting instruction and demos to festival attendees. The event will feature a keynote presentation from Tom Rosenbauer, acclaimed fly fisherman, author, and host of “The Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast” and Orvis’ chief enthusiast. Learn more at VTFlyFest.com!

Stop by the American Museum of Fly Fishing located on Main Street in Manchester, where the Museum serves as a repository for and conservator of the world’s largest collection of angling and angling-related items, numbering in the thousands. Their collections and exhibits thoroughly document the evolution of fly fishing as a sport, art form, craft, and industry in the United States and abroad, dating as far back as the sixteenth century. Rods, reels, flies, tackle, art, photographs, manuscripts, and books form the Museum’s permanent collection.

To enjoy a different kind of “tackle”, why not tackle the Vermont terrain in a whole new way by booking a session with the Land Rover Experience Driving School. If learning how to drive a really nice Land Rover through rough Vermont terrain sounds fun to you (and it should!), take a lesson or two from the Land Rover Experience Driving School on their 80-acre, purpose-built course. Open year-round and offering off-road driving instruction in all conditions, drivers face numerous challenges and learn techniques on ascents, descents, side tilts, and rocky terrain. Course terrain and technique difficulty are matched to each driver’s skill, and more advanced drivers are invited to explore the school’s expansive trails through the Green Mountains.

ARTS & CULTURE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

If you’re in the mood to stroll down the streets of Manchester, stop at one of the area’s wonderful art galleries. A local artist collective, Epoch Artisan Gallery, houses the work of a group of dedicated local artists who got together to offer a wide variety of beautiful pieces and products. You never know what uniquely beautiful object may catch your eye! On the other side of town is the elegant Tilting at Windmills Gallery, now celebrating its 50th year in business. Tilting at Windmills features a broad selection of work by important regional, national, and international artists. While quality and visual appeal are paramount in choosing the artwork they offer, they also select with an eye towards investment and potential appreciation in value for our collectors.

Gerald Lubeck
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 12 in. x 24 in.

Another stunning gallery, Helmholz Fine Art, was launched in 2014 and offers works from all over the world. A percentage of proceeds are channeled to a good cause, benefiting humanitarian issues and concerns around the world. Hunger Free Vermont is the first of many organizations to receive generous financial, PR, and press support from Helmholz Fine Art through their initiative, Global Reach.

READY, START, SHOP

You can always get your day started by browsing Manchester’s internationally recognized designer outlets, small boutiques, and unforgettable shops.

Pendleton Outlet

Pendleton is known for wool, but now those same iconic patterns are available in cotton, too! Quilt and coverlet sets make the same statement with a soft, breathable touch. Along with fine wool blankets, apparel, and accessories, they also offer an array of other luxury fabrics – all backed by their “Warranted to be a Pendleton” assurance of quality.

Tumi Outlet

Tumi’s commitment to design excellence, functional superiority, and technical innovation has made it the brand of choice for the world’s most discerning and demanding consumers. Enjoy substantial savings every day on Tumi for business, travel, and gift-giving.

Family Footwear

Family Footwear Center takes the word “fit” very seriously. They don’t just sell you shoes, they fit you for shoes, and that is what sets them apart. Relax and enjoy the day shopping in the 6,000 sq. ft. store that’s chock full of classic New England warmth and charm! Family Footwear carries the latest trending shoe styles while offering family-friendly, old-fashioned service. Let their knowledgeable staff professionally measure your feet on an old-world Brannock Device and help direct you to the proper fitting footwear.

Smugglers’ Notch Distillery

Stop in at one of our tasting rooms, and sample our entire fleet of spirits. Let us educate you on the craft distilling process, as well as our own spirits. We will also teach you how to ‘taste’ our spirits, so you get the most enjoyment and appreciation of each spirit. We often have specialty cocktails you might enjoy sampling, as well! At all of our tasting rooms, you can find 750 mL and 50 mL mini-bottles, Packaged Cocktails, Shot Glasses, Rocks Glasses, Glencairn Whiskey Glasses, Flasks, Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup, Decals, Apparel, and More!

NEED A PLACE TO LAY YOUR HEAD?

Check out some current lodging deals in Manchester with our Spring into Savings! Visit between now and June 17th and experience lodging savings and outdoor adventures. Book your trip by this Friday, April 15th to get the best deals!

The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa

Nestled at the base of Mount Equinox in the center of Manchester Village, Vermont, The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa embodies all that is quintessential New England combining a rich sense of history and tradition with superb service and contemporary amenities to make for a peaceful and elegant stay. Rooms and suites feature gorgeous views of the mountains, gardens, and historic village center.

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton

Hampton Inn & Suites, centrally located in downtown Manchester, is a 97-room hotel within walking distance to many local shops, retail outlets, and restaurants. Reminiscent of a historic New England farmhouse, this uniquely designed hotel embodies tradition with modern sensibilities. Outdoor seating areas with a fire pit and lush landscaping welcome you and make you feel right at home. The property offers both traditional rooms and studio suites all under one roof, with microwaves, small refrigerators, and coffee makers in every room. So, whether you’re traveling as a couple, family, or group, they’ve got you covered!

Palmer House Resort

The Palmer House Resort, an Ascend Hotel Collection, is a boutique hotel in Manchester Center, VT.  Enjoy year-round activities on their lush, 16-acre manicured grounds with expansive amenities that offer so much to do.  You won’t need to leave, but you should definitely venture out. Quaint shopping, art galleries, and restaurants are within a mile.

Aspen at Manchester

Aspen at Manchester offers friendly New England hospitality in the heart of Manchester, VT, and a variety of homey, comfortable lodging accommodations to suit all your family’s vacation needs. Spacious grounds encompass nine acres including a swimming pool, shuffleboard courts, lawn games, a variety of sitting areas, beautiful landscaping, wooded paths— something for everyone!

Barrows House Inn & Restaurant

Barrows House Inn is centered on six acres of lovely gardens, expansive lawns, and venerable trees. Lodging options include luxury suites with whirlpool baths and fireplaces, cottages with multiple guest rooms, free-standing homes with living rooms, and outdoor seating areas ideal for extended family & friends. In the summer, enjoy a pool and tennis courts. In the winter, warm up by the outdoor fire pit. Whatever the season…there’s always a reason to stay at Barrows House.

The Dorset Inn

Now completely refurbished, The Dorset Inn is renowned locally and nationally for its gracious, welcoming atmosphere and exceptional cooking. Careful attention to the finer details in restoring the Inn are in evidence throughout the historic building: period furnishings and new carpeting and wallpaper amidst well-preserved architectural details in the Inn’s common rooms, including wide pine board floors in the living rooms, the restored tavern, and the pronounced character of the candlelit dining room.

With Daylight Savings behind us, there are more hours of daily sunshine to enjoy our spring flowers and majestic mountains, as they turn green.  After all, the state’s namesake is derived from ”montagne verte,” French for “Green Mountain”. Make your plans today to experience Spring in Manchester, Vermont!

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