Vergennes is Vermont's Smallest City that's Big on Charm
August 13, 2009
Vergennes is Vermont’s smallest city — and the state’s oldest — but everything about it feels modern, dynamic and energetic.
National Geographic Traveler took notice of this quirky community and mentioned it in the magazine’s July/August 2009 issue. Walk along Main Street and you’ll find outstanding French fare at Black Sheep Bistro, and breakfast burritos, veggie chili, and hot roast beef panino at 3 Squares Cafe. (2015 update: Try Vergennes Laundry for excellent coffee and baked goods).
Great places to stay in Vergennes include the Strong House Inn on West Main Street, or outside of town along Lake Champlain at Basin Harbor Club.
Vergennes has undergone a magnificent revitalization over the past decade. In the 19th century, this city was a thriving place. Vergennes became the site of a U.S. Navy shipyard during the War of 1812, and subsequently trade on the lake and the arrival of the railroad encouraged extensive commercial development. But in the 20th century, growth slowed and the city went into decline.
The Vergennes Opera House, which stood vacant for two decades before its restoration in the mid-1990s, has been a catalyst for the city’s revitalization. Originally constructed in 1897, the building reopened in 1997 and now serves as a local performing arts and community center.
If you ask anyone in town, they’ll likely tell you that the Vergennes Opera House is the heart of the city. The building’s restoration not only brought Vergennes back to life, it helped Vergennes become one of the most vibrant communities in Vermont.