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Attractions ~ Exploring Hawk Country ~ Manchester, Vermont

The bustling Vermont shopping village of Manchester has long been a favored afternoon jaunt for Hawk residents and guests, owing mainly to its preponderance of upscale designer outlets coupled with quaint, small-town New England charm. Standing in the shadows of Mt. Equinox, the town attracts legions of day-trippers hailing from as far south as New Jersey to hunt for treasured bargains. Numerous art galleries and museums occupy colonial structures along elm-shaded streets, offering one of the largest selections of enrichment opportunities in southern Vermont. Skiers and snowboarders from nearby Stratton and Bromley mountains descend from the slopes at the end of the day to partake of the numerous cultural and dining options available in Manchester. Of course, the centerpiece of this historic village is Robert Todd Lincoln's wonderfully preserved and beautifully manicured Hildene, where polo matches are held on sprawling lawns in the summertime. Set in the majestic Battenkill Valley, the town maintains a year-round population of approximately 3,600 people, making it slightly larger that the town of Woodstock. The 45 minute drive south to Manchester will also bring you through the lovely Vermont town of Weston, where summer theater and the world-famous Vermont Country Store attract visitors year round.

Manchester, Vermont

Hawk Tips: As Manchester generally draws its largest crowds on weekends (sometimes bringing with them plenty of traffic), try heading down Rt. 100 from Hawk on your way home Sunday afternoon. Most of the crowds have usually left by then and you'll be ready to hook-up with Rt. 91 South nearby, right after your shopping excursion.

Noteworthy Attractions in and Around Manchester

Hildene, Manchester
Abraham Lincoln's descendants lived until 1975 in this 24-room Georgian Revival mansion, the interior of which has been carefully preserved intact with the original furnishings and personal family effects, including an 1908 Aeolian organ. Open May through October. (802) 362-1788

American Museum of Fly Fishing, Manchester
A one-of-a-kind institution housing the largest collection of fly-fishing paraphernalia in the world, including a collection of over twelve-hundred rods, four-hundred reels, thousands of flies and the tackle of many famous Americans. Publishers of the quarterly journal, The American Fly Fisher. (802) 362-3300

Hildene, where Abraham Lincoln's descendants lived until 1975

Southern Vermont Art Center, Manchester
Ten galleries of contemporary and classic art in a National Historic Trust Mansion set on the side of Mt. Equinox. Works of art are placed both on display and for sale in a series of rotating exhibits. Dance and theater performances are scheduled on a regular basis. An outdoor sculpture garden and beautiful botany trail featuring native flora are also available. (802) 362-1405

Bushee Battenkill Valley Farm, Manchester
This working farm homestead offers a unique glimpse into the Vermont farming experience for the entire family. Offering demonstrations of wool processing, milking, care of animals and petting corrals. (802) 362-4088

Manchester Music Festival, Manchester
A nonprofit organization whose purpose is to offer Vermont music lovers programs of fine classical music performed by world-class artists. It also provides gifted students the opportunity to study with distinguished artist/teachers and to perform chamber music concerts for the community throughout the year. The Festival presents its summer programs at the Southern Vermont Art Center's Arkell Pavilion, Burr and Burton's Smith Center for the Arts and the First Congregational Church in Manchester. (802) 362-1956

Vermont Wax Museum, Manchester
Three restored Victorian buildings near the center of town contain over 85 realistic, life-size, famous figures displayed in interactive exhibits. (802) 362-0609

A Brief History

Shopping in Manchester

The town of Manchester was first chartered on August 11, 1761. Here, the first Council of Safety met and Ira Allen originated the plan of financing Vermont's participation in the Revolution by confiscating the Tory estates. Mt. Equinox, standing 3,816 feet high, towers above all other peaks in the southern part of the state. On the mountain's slopes are the natural curiosities of a disappearing brook, a rocking 35-ton stone and an icy spring. Mrs. Abraham Lincoln and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant used to spend summers here. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Lincoln, made his home and died in Manchester. His estate, Hildene, has been authentically restored and is open to the public throughout the warm-weather months.

See Also

Hawk's Guide to Vermont Shopping and check-out some of the wonderful shops in Manchester and the surrounding towns.

Plymouth / Calvin Coolidge Homestead (Our hometown...)
Ludlow / Okemo (10 minutes)
The Killington Region (10 minutes)
Woodstock (20 minutes)
Weston (25 minutes)
Rutland (30 minutes)
Quechee (35 minutes)

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