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This part of the state is home to several picturesque small towns, those that combine the Green Mountain State’s pastoral quaintness with good shopping, dining and cultural activities. Southern Vermont is packed with outdoorsy attractions between towns, making this area ripe for road trips. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors picked the five best things to do in Southern Vermont:
1. Visit the other Woodstock. Not to be confused with New York’s Woodstock where the famous music festival took place years ago, Vermont’s is home to the state’s only National Park, the historic Woodstock Inn & Resort, and is the legacy of onetime resident Laurance Rockefeller who bestowed the town with vast improvements and reserves that keep it quintessentially Vermont. It is full of charming shops and excellent restaurants.
2. Go beer tasting. Vermont was one of the first states to embrace craft brewing more than two decades ago, and is now home to many respected beer makers. Two have excellent visitor facilities with brewery tours and good restaurants — the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor and the Long Trail Brewing Company Bridgewater.
3. Stop by Manchester. Tucked in the state’s southwestern corner near the Massachusetts and New York borders, Manchester is perhaps the most visitor-friendly Vermont town. It has the state’s preeminent resort, The Equinox Resort & Spa, a slew of excellent restaurants, a historic downtown Main Street, a newer area with one-of-a-kind factory outlet shopping, the headquarters and flagship store of retailer Orvis and historic sites including Robert Todd Lincoln’s Hildene estate.
4. See stuff get made. Vermont is all about craft, and in a relatively small region around Quechee, Norwich and Bridgewater, you can see the best of the best at work: famed glassblower Simon Pearce; Charles Shackleton, a renowned fine furniture manufacturer; the bakery and impressive headquarters of King Arthur Flour, well known to foodies nationwide; and cheese and maple syrup producer Sugarbush Farm.
5. Take a Hike. Excellent outdoor adventures can be found all throughout Vermont, but this region is especially rich for hiking: the famed Appalachian Trail enters the state in Norwich on the New Hampshire border, and runs east to west all the way to Killington ski resort. Here the trail is crossed by Vermont’s Long Trail, another long distance route that runs the length of the state from Canada to Massachusetts. Both offer plenty of options for day and multi-day hikes.