“The snow is sparkling like a million little suns.” – Lama Willa
White-capped mountains, icy ponds, and snow-covered meadows make winter in Vermont so beautiful. So does the warmth and coziness of many Vermont towns, where you’ll find ski areas, inns, sledding hills, general stores, and restaurants. Here are six of my favorite towns to visit in the winter.
My hometown of Manchester manages to feel festive all winter long. Stroll through Manchester Village to see the Equinox Resort and historic homes along Historic Route 7A. Go ice skating at Riley Rink or go sledding across the street from Burr and Burton Academy. Shop at the locally-owned Northshire Bookstore, or ski at Bromley, Stratton or Magic Mountain. For dinner, try Bistro Henry in Manchester or J.J. Hapgoods General Store in nearby Peru. Visit www.manchestervermont.com.
Woodstock is the perfect New England town to visit, and winter is no exception. The first rope-tow opened here in 1934, and the town is picture perfect when there’s a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Visit the historic Billings Farm and Museum, see raptors up close at Vermont Institute of Natural Science Nature Center in nearby Quechee, or hit the slopes at Suicide Six Ski Area. If nothing else, take a walk around this beautiful town and enjoy a winter cocktail or dinner at the Woodstock Inn & Resort. Visit www.woodstockvt.com.
For a small town, Burke has a lot to offer in the winter. Not only is this Northeast Kingdom community home to Burke Mountain Resort, it’s also where you’ll find Burke Mountain Academy—a world-renowned school for ski racing (its famous alums include ski racing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin). Another way to enjoy the outdoors is to head over to Kingdom Trails for fat biking and Nordic skiing. While visiting East Burke, enjoy pastries and coffee at Café Lotti and dinner at Juniper’s Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn. Visit www.burkevermont.com.
Warren is like a second home to me. I lived there in the late 1990s and rented a drafty converted barn in Warren when my husband and I moved back to Vermont 11 years ago. I tell people that my heart is in southern Vermont, but I also adore Warren and the rest of the Mad River Valley. While you’re visiting, be sure to stop by The Warren Store and dine at The Pitcher Inn. Go skiing or snowboarding at Sugarbush Resort. Try Nordic skiing or snowshoeing at Ole’s Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe or Blueberry Lake Cross Country & Snowshoeing Center. Visit www.madrivervalley.com.
Stowe is one of Vermont’s most popular winter destinations, and it’s easy to understand why. Take a stroll on Main Street (Route 100) and see the classic Stowe Community Church. Stop by the fantastic Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum, Shaw’s General Store, or the Country Store on Main. After a day on the slopes at Stowe Mountain Resort, head over to the Alchemist Brewery and Visitor Center, and grab dinner at Piecasso or Idletyme Brewing. Visit www.gostowe.com.
Weston is another town that is close to my heart. Dave and I were married in Weston in 2004 and we’ve returned over the years to stay or dine at the lovely Inn at Weston. Weston is a romantic place, and it’s absolutely magical during the winter months. Explore the famous Vermont Country Store or stop by the Weston Village Christmas Shop, Village Green Gallery, and Weston Village Store. If you want to ski, try Magic Mountain in Londonderry or Okemo in Ludlow. Visit www.weston-vermont.com.