Travel Guide: Manchester, VT

 Downtown Manchester Downtown Manchester

I love Manchester.

Outlets, great food and drinks, a beautiful golf course, AND beautiful fall foliage—all less than a 4 hour drive from Manhattan? Sign me up.

Wiff and I usually make one trip a year to Manchester. And this year is no exception, even if it was a bit by accident.

We spent a few nights in Stowe to catch the last of Vermont’s fall foliage. We got there in the middle of a storm, which served to wipe out pretty much all the foliage they had left. Lack of leaves aside, we loved Stowe [Travel Guid pending]. We wanted to stay longer but they had no rooms available.

So we went crawling back to the ex we shared some wonderful times with, and headed south to Manchester.

WHERE TO STAY

The Kimpton Taconic. I love Kimpton hotels. They’re all pet friendly. They have great bars and restaurants. I asked my wife to marry me at a Kimpton—me and Kimpton go way back.

They have a social hour every day from 5-6pm where they give out free beer and wine. If you hypothetically spent the morning hiking and the rest of the day working in your hotel room, the social hour is a good motivation to shower and get out of the room.

The Equinox Resort. Our first two visits to Manchester had us staying at the Equinox. The place has history. Four U.S. Presidents stayed here: Taft, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, and ol’ Bennie Harrison.

Lincoln was supposed to head here [poor choice of words] but couldn’t on account of his being assassinated. His son, Robert, built his family home in the neighborhood, and you can visit it today.

The building shows its history. The rooms are cozy and large [we have Taft to thank for that]. The structure feels old, the grounds are in need of a nice sprucing up, and they need to do something about all the pesky ghosts.

It is a Marriott [née Starwood] property, which is wonderful news to SPG loyalists like me trying to rack up their nights.

WHERE TO EAT

The Copper Grouse at the Taconic. They have some of the more knowledgable bartenders in town. Wiff ordered a Vesper and was surprised when it came out perfectly.

“This Vesper is perfect!” she said. “Thanks!”

“That’s an O.G. cocktail right thar, Miss,” the bartender said. “We don’t get many folk orderin’ that round these parts.” He paused to polish a pint glass with a dirty rag. “Mainly city folk like yourself. And mayhap a few country dudes spoilin’ to tie one on.”

“I don’t know what half of those words mean,” I interrupted.

Wiff took a sip as the bartender continued. “Tain’t another barkeep in town who can conjure a cock-tail like that. Y’all come back know ya hear?”

Things To Do

Outlets! Like Catholics genuflecting each time they enter a pew, Wiff and I always take a minute to pay our respects to the Manchester outlets. We always stop at Theory for dresses and Kate Spade for jewelry. Vineyard Vines also has an outlet here for you whale tail fans out there.

HIKES

Lye Brook Falls Trail. This one came highly recommended from the staff at the Taconic. It’s also rated the top hike in the Green Mountain National Forest area. We didn’t do this hike, partially because we also heard it was crowded, but also because we’re not really falls people. Based on the pictures, it looks pretty good. I just can’t comment on it since I didn’t do it.

Prospect Rock Trail. This hike is only 3.1 miles out-and-back. That’s less than walking a 5K. The only catch? It’s entirely uphill so it feels more like stair-mastering a 2.5K and on the way back, stumbling a 2.5K. Some people complain that the trail is boring, which I could see in summer when everything’s lush and green and—kinda boring. Just look!

 dAd! WaiT uP! als0 whY ArE u LeaNInG WeiRDlY dAd! WaiT uP! als0 whY ArE u LeaNInG WeiRDlY

 HeY, m0M. YoU’vE G0t BetTeR trEATz AnyWay. HeY, m0M. YoU’vE G0t BetTeR trEATz AnyWay.

But fall? Holy crap, it was like walking through an autumn wonderland. We were pretty late in the leaf peeping season but there were still tons of beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds.

And once you reach the top—completely winded and drenched in sweat, despite working out regularly—your reward is the view from Prospect Rock. Note: The actual viewpoint is hard to find if you’re terrible at reading signs. Near the top, you’ll see a sign that says “LOOK UP!”, which leads you to a smaller sign on the same tree that says, “Prospect Rock ➡️.” If you’re good at following directions, you’ll see a little path off to the right. The viewpoint is 20 yards down that path.

And this is what you’ll see.

 View from the top. View from the top.

 Gratuitous foliage shot. Gratuitous foliage shot.

Not bad, right?!?

If you’ brought a telephoto lens, you can sneak up on the local cows in town. Click the photo below to zoom in, you little bovine voyeur, you.

 Well hello there, Cow. Well hello there, Cow.

It gets chilly when you stop hiking so be sure to pack layers. If you look closely enough, you’ll see me, Wiff, and Pom, wrapped in Wiff’s vest and sitting on her lap.

 Can you see us?? Can you see us??