The holiday season is here, and Manchester is ready to celebrate! Restaurants are planning their special holiday menus and seasonal offerings, while the Inns and hotels are “decking the halls” to prepare for the return of the Shires’ Holiday Inn Tours! Learn about upcoming events (and more!) as we get closer to Manchester Merriment!
On The Town
This Saturday and Sunday (November 12 and 13), get into the holiday spirit with the Holiday Craft Market at SVAC! You will find various arts and crafts, including baskets, ceramics, decorative fiber, wearable fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, and wood. The SVAC Holiday Craft Market is the perfect place to find handmade, local gift items this holiday season. Admission to the Holiday Craft Market is FREE!
While in Manchester for the Holiday Craft Market don’t forget to take a stroll around downtown. Many of our local shops, boutiques, designer outlets, and artisan galleries are offering incredible deals throughout the weekend. Come celebrate with us and Shop Early, Shop Local, and Save. If this weekend doesn’t work into your schedule, plan on visiting during our Black Friday shopping sales. Many of our stores are opening early and staying open later which provides you with more time to find great deals.
On Saturday, November 12, be sure to join the Northshire Community Center and “party on” at Riley Rink’s 25th Anniversary Celebration! Enjoy this throwback to the 90’s from 6:30 pm-9 pm. Celebrate 25 years of Riley Rink with ice skating, raffles, and more!
Hungry for the Holidays? With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa all just around the corner, it’s time to start planning. Make your reservations now at your local favorite, or order ahead for take-home meals and some special dessert, or shop for the needed supplies to make your favorite holiday meal at home. Planning ahead will help take the stress out of your holiday festivities.
Dining Out for the Holiday
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful meal or need a place to entertain friends or family, our local restaurants have you covered. Not only can they quench your appetite, but they have incredible accommodations on site, to boot. Don’t have an extra bed for your visiting guests? Too stuffed to get in your car and drive? Had that one-too-many holiday cocktail? Not to worry, book a room at any one of these lodging properties and eat and drink to your heart’s content!
In the heart of Manchester Village is The Equinox Golf Resort and Spa. Welcoming guests from near and far for over a century, they have become masters at the art of food and hospitality. This Thanksgiving, locals and visitors alike can feast on their Thanksgiving Day Brunch Buffet from 11:30 am – 3:30 pm in the Colonnade. Enjoy chef-attended stations including made-to-order omelets and pancakes, too. Chef’s carvings stations will be serving up Wilcox Farms Pork Loin, Local Tom Turkey, or Roasted Prime Rib. Of course, all the other fixings will be available to complete your meal, capping it off with a “to die for” selection of desserts. Enjoy a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, or try their delectable maple donut bread pudding, perhaps their dark chocolate mousse is in your future, or better yet, try them all! Reservations are required. (And looking ahead – join them on December 11 for Breakfast with Santa, and on December 25 for a Christmas Day Brunch!)
Just a short drive from downtown Manchester you will discover the quintessential Vermont town of Dorset. This town features two distinct Inns, both with their own unique and outstanding bar and restaurant.
Barrows House Inn & Restaurant will also be hosting some holiday festivities that are sure to be a blast! Under the creative direction of owner Lauren Bryant, the Dorset Inn, Dorset Bakery, and Barrows House are all transformed into magical wonderlands during the holiday season. Decorated inside and out by a team of local designers, craftsmen, and artisans, all three properties are filled to the brim with Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, and charming ornaments. The Dorset Inn alone has no less than three fully decorated trees throughout the public areas. The newly decorated Inns will be on display to the public Saturday, December 10, during the Shires of Southwestern Vermont Holiday Inn Tours. Both the Dorset Inn and Barrows House can host end-of-year celebrations of any size – from a table for two in the restaurant to a large corporate dinner for 100 or more.
The Dorset Inn has served traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to visiting guests and local families over the past 225 years. Each year, the chefs assemble a special menu of American favorites including Roasted Misty Knoll Turkey, Slow Roasted Prime Rib, and classic New England Baked Cod. Set in the elegantly appointed dining room, and complemented by an award-winning wine cellar, a holiday dinner at the Dorset Inn is truly an exceptional Vermont experience. Similarly, Barrows House will be celebrating the holidays with special menus, but with a slightly more contemporary flair. Dishes like Chilean Sea Bass and Whole Roasted Beef Tenderloin, along with vegetarian specialties, highlight the menus, including with the Barrows House version of the traditional Turkey dinner. And be sure not to miss a visit to Dorset from Santa Claus!
Reservations are required and guests are urged to book as early as possible. Dates and times for seatings are as follows:
Dorset Inn ~ Thanksgiving Day from 12 to 4 pm; Christmas Eve from 5 to 8 pm; and Christmas Day from 4 to 7 pm
Barrows House ~ Thanksgiving Day from 2 to 6 pm; Times for other holidays can be found on their website at barrowshouse.com.
Kimpton Taconic Hotel is a boutique hotel that brings to mind grand leisure inns of days past, while artfully bringing to life all your modern hospitality whims. Surrounded by mountains in this Manchester Village, Kimpton Taconic offers couples, families, and wedding parties a free-spirited take on a New England escape that’s both classic and highly curated to your preferences. Call it quintessential Vermont with a fresh twist. Their restaurant, The Copper Grouse, will be serving up a 3 course pre-fixe Thanksgiving menu from 12 pm – 8 pm. Reservations are required. For a complete list of our restaurant’s Holiday Offerings and hours, find out more here.
A Home-Cooked Meal
For those of you that are dedicated to preparing your home-cooked holiday meal, you can find plenty of helpful places around town offering anything and everything that you may need.
Before you head to the local grocer or farmers market to secure the ingredients needed for your favorite holiday recipe, take a trip to Vermont Kitchen Supply. Whether this is your first time cooking a holiday meal or you’re a master chef, the Vermont Kitchen Supply store offers everything you need to make the preparation, cooking, serving, and cleanup a breeze. They are a one-stop shop for cookware, kitchen tools, gadgets, small kitchen appliances, glassware, tableware, and more. While you are there, pick up one of their many cookbooks to find a new favorite recipe. The friendly staff at Vermont Kitchen Supply are waiting and eager to help you find what you need and discover your hidden chef. Don’t forget, this is the perfect time to check items of your holiday shopping list. With a wide selection of some of your favorite brands like Staub, DeBuyer, Bodum, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Wusthof, and more you’ll find that perfect hard to find gift. Not sure what your culinary loved one needs? Gift certificates to the store are a wonderful holiday surprise.
No holiday meal is complete without dessert! Stop by Mother Myrick’s Confectionery to satisfy your sweet tooth. They offer all your seasonal favorites from pies (ranging from apple, pecan, and pumpkin – to chocolate walnut, caramel apple, & cherry blueberry apple combo), cheesecakes, chocolate turkeys, decorated cookies & more! Be sure to plan and order ahead, as they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Want to avoid a crowded restaurant, but don’t feel like cooking a Thanksgiving meal? Reach out to Pearls Place and Pantry or Amy’s on the Road. Pearl’s Place and Pantry is offering a family-style Southern Thanksgiving feast for 4-6 people that includes all the fixings – slow-roasted turkey breast, house-smoked ham with a brown sugar molasses glaze, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, biscuits, salad, green bean casserole, and right down to the homestyle pie where you can choose between apple and pumpkin. Wash it all down with a gallon of sweet tea. YUM! Order by no later than Fri November 18, and pick up on Wednesday, November 23 from 2 pm – 6 pm. Amy’s on the Road offers a menu of sides and apps for you to help complete your feast! Pickup for these items is from 9 am to 12 pm on Wednesday, November 23rd. Please make sure to pick a time that you would like to pick up your order. If you have any special requests, please email them at [email protected]
The Holiday Season would not be complete without taking the time to enjoy one or all of the events during Manchester Merriment. Merriment kicks off with the town’s Tree Lighting and Menorah Lighting at the Factory Point Green on November 26! Stop by for festivities and fun – and stay for a visit from Santa!
On December 3 and 4, Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home is offering its Annual Holiday Sale at The Museum Store! The Museum Store welcomes neighbors and new friends to kick off the holidays with its annual 20% off weekend. Dressed in all its finery, the spirit of the season abounds in the 116-year-old Carriage Barn. The crisp fragrance of pine boughs and the sounds of the season offer an abundance of holiday spirit. Also, for the entire month of December, take a tour of Hildene to see how the Lincoln Family would have decorated for “Christmas Eve in 1912”.
Stock up on your own holiday supplies at The Barn at Center Hill’s Holiday Craft Fair on December 10! Stop by from 10 am–2 pm to browse holiday wares made by local artists and craftspeople. There is nothing like receiving a handmade gift during the holidays!
You certainly won’t want to miss Manchester’s annual Lighted Tractor Parade happening on December 3rd! This popular event brings a crowd to downtown Manchester as families and friends gather to enjoy the holiday splendor. Decorate your own tractor and join in the fun – or stand with the Judges as the parade rolls through Main Street. Plus, rumor has it that Santa and Mrs. Claus might be making a special appearance!
Continuing over a three-decade-long tradition, The Shires Holiday Inn Tours returns on Saturday, December 3rd, and Saturday, December 10th. This popular event provides our lodging partners the opportunity to showcase their unique properties, while those visiting will enjoy the festive holiday atmosphere. Stop in one of the participating Inns to taste a local treat and sip a local beverage. ‘Tis the season for giving and it couldn’t be a better time to help those in need, as each ticket sold makes an impact on food insecurity. Once again, 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales will once again be presented to the Manchester Community Food Cupboard, the Arlington Food Shelf, and Bennington Meals on Wheels.
For more details on the Lighted Tractor Parade, The Shires Holiday Inn Tours, the return of (newly-named) 2022 Santa Express, and more fun with Manchester Merriment CLICK HERE!