Having grown up in The Shires, I’ve come to appreciate just how much our region has to offer. It was not always so. Like many kids growing up, I could not wait to move away from my home town and explore the world. So I traveled around the country and around the world, and in so doing made a surprising discovery… that the place I most loved was right back where I had started. Many agree and our region has long been a destination for travelers to Vermont. Famous for it’s foliage, but not just that, I hope these suggestions will give you some ideas on how you can create your own memories of a lifetime in The Shires.
Each of these suggestions represent a full day of activity. For a more relaxed pace, split over two days and include a night’s stay at a local motel or bed and breakfast. To include a show, do a half tour and then an early dinner to leave time to see a play at Oldcastle Theater or the Dorset Theater.
Arts & Culture Tour #1
• Visit Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home in Manchester
• Drive Historic 7A to Bennington
• Lunch on Main Street and walk the downtown.
• Visit the Bennington Center for the arts
• See a play at Oldcastle Theater
• Dinner at Pangaea in North Bennington
Arts & Culture Tour #2
• Breakfast at the Rooster Cafe in Manchester
• Visit the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester
• Lunch on Main Street in Manchester and walk the downtown
• Drive Historic Route 7A to Bennington
• Visit the Bennington Museum
• Dinner at the Bennington Station Restaurant
Historic Figures: Lincoln, Rockwell, Frost
• Breakfast in Manchester at Up for Breakfast on Main Street
• Visit Hildene – the Lincoln Family Home
• Drive Historic Route 7A
• Stop at the Battenkill Gallery in Arlington to see the Norman Rockwell Exhibit
• Stop at Robert Frost Stone House Museum in Shaftsbury
• Visit the Old First Church just down from the monument to visit Robert Frost’s grave.
• Dinner in Bennington at Lil’ Britain (authentic British Fish & Chips at it’s best!)
• Breakfast at the famous Blue Benn Diner in Bennington located on North Street (route 7)
• Visit the Bennington Museum – Military Gallery and Regional History
• Visit the Bennington Battle Monument
• Take a walking tour of Downtown Bennington (available at Downtown Welcome center)
• Lunch in Bennington at the Madison Brew Pub on Main Street
• Drive Route 7A to Manchester
• Visit Museum of American Fly Fishing
• Shop historic Main Street in Manchester
• Dinner in Manchester at Ye Olde Tavern on the northern end of Main Street
Nature Enthusiast (mellow)
• For the Northshire: Fill a lunch basket at Al Ducci’s in Manchester and walk the trails at the Equinox Preserve and eat lunch at Equinox Pond.
• For the Southshire: fill a lunch basket at Powers Market in North Bennington and walk the trails in the Mile-Around Woods by the Historic Park McCullough Mansion in North Bennington, or at Woodford State Park, on Route 9 east of Bennington.