Manchester, Vermont
Manchester, Vermont (Courtesy of Lee Krohn Photography)

The holiday season is one of the best times to visit Vermont. Churches, shops and town halls in the heart of Vermont’s downtowns and villages are decked with festive lights, decorations and wreaths to celebrate the season and ring in the New Year. Hopefully, there is plenty of snow on the ground, too.

I can find something to love about all of Vermont’s 251 towns and cities. But in the month of December, these Vermont communities have my heart.

I am partial to my hometown, but that’s not the only reason why Manchester is a wonderful holiday town. Manchester always feels quite festive around the holidays. Stroll through Manchester Village to see the Equinox Resort and historic homes along Historic Route 7A. Shop at the locally-owned Northshire Bookstore and take a Christmas tour at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home.

Woodstock is the perfect New England town to visit, especially during the holidays. The town hosts its annual Wassail Weekend in December celebrate the season. While you’re in town, check out Billings Farm and Museum for old-fashioned holiday festivities and sleigh rides. If nothing else, take a walk around this beautiful town and enjoy a winter cocktail at the Woodstock Inn & Resort.

Chester was the setting for the fictional town of Santaville in the 2008 television movie Moonlight and Mistletoe. It’s easy to see why this vibrant little town of 3,000 people was chosen for a holiday film. If you’re in town overnight, book a room at the Inn Victoria. If you’re just passing through, stop by the Moon Dog Cafe for organic fare.

Waitsfield and Warren
The Mad River Valley is like a second home to me. I lived there in the late 1990s and rented a drafty converted barn in Warren when we moved back to Vermont seven years ago. I tell people that my heart is in southern Vermont, but I also adore Waitsfield and Warren. Visit the shops on Bridge Street in Waitsfield or take a drive to Warren Village and stop at The Warren Store.

An obvious choice, right? Stowe is probably Vermont’s most popular destination during the holiday season. Main Street between the Stowe Community Church and the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum is my favorite part of Stowe during the holidays. Stop by Shaw’s General Store and the Stowe Mercantile, and grab a bite to eat at The Whip at the Green Mountain Inn.

Here’s another town that is close to my heart. Dave and I were married in Weston in 2004 and have returned nearly every year to the Inn at Weston for our anniversary (we missed our trip this year but will be there for our 10th anniversary in 2014!). Weston is a romantic place, and it’s absolutely magical during the holidays. Visit the town’s lovely village green and explore the famous Vermont Country Store. The Inn at Weston is perfect for a quiet dinner or weekend getaway.

They say the best thing about Burlington is that it’s so close to Vermont. That may be true. But if I need to get into the Christmas spirit, all I have to do is walk down Church Street in Vermont’s largest city. The lights and giant Christmas tree do the trick every time.

Happy holidays!


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