A home-style classic in Vermont’s Green Mountains

Vermont evokes the postcard image of a peaceful village of white clapboard encircling a church with trademark spire, nestled amid lush forested hills that validate the name of the surrounding mountains.

Inn at Manchester

As fall approaches and the leaves turn,
guests enjoy the fireplaces

For Montrealers, Vermont is the gem next door that offers an easy escape from the muggy summer air or the slush of winter. And the farther one travels south in the Green Mountain state, it seems, the more picturesque its villages. It’s well worth the three-and-a-half-hour drive down scenic Route 7 to Manchester.

This picturesque small village (actually two, combined with Manchester Center) has great restaurants, top-notch designer shopping and even a fly-fishing museum, and is a short drive from historic sites, covered bridges and terrific outdoor activities, including three ski centers.

Synonymous with the church spire and rugged hills is the country inn, and few are as authentic as The Inn at Manchester. The 130-year-old former home and adjacent carriage house has operated as an inn since the 1940s, and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Inn at Manchester

The Living room of the elegant
Wood Lily suite

While it has grown over the years to 21 rooms and suites, The Inn at Manchester is a home away from home. It’s a place to let it all go and relax, with families, groups of friends or couples equally belong. For good reason –The Inn at Manchester is something of a family home, now operated by the Hanes family, who moved from North Carolina to Manchester to acquire the Inn in 2003, adding a dose of Southern hospitality to the mix.

Visitors are welcomed to the Inn in a large hallway, opening into a spacious living room and bright dining room, where a full breakfast is served, included in your room rate. Next to the living room is a small pub. Throughout are original hardwood floors, beautifully finished but with the requisite hint of a creak. The Inn is decorated with paintings and sculptures from local and global artists.

Inn at Manchester

The Peach Blossom Suite
with a cozy fireplace

The guest rooms range from two-room suites to cozy, under-the-eave bedrooms. All are adorned with antiques and country-pine furniture. It’s the sort of laid back luxury one expects in small-town New England. Most have fireplaces, high-definition television, and the buildings are air-conditioned throughout. The range and style of accommodations will suit anyone from active families to couples seeking a private, romantic retreat.

The Inn at Manchester is also a great place to host gatherings. The property is well equipped for weddings, family reunions or business conferences. The recently opened Celebration Barn can accommodate large groups in its 2,500-square-foot main floor hall. The building also has several oversize suites upstairs, perfect for bridal parties.

Inn at Manchester

The Carriage House and pool

There is free wireless internet and a computer off the lobby for anyone to use – but somehow the Inn’s selection of games, puzzles and books seem a better way to while away your time indoors or on the spacious verandah.

Breakfast is hearty fare with a featured main that changes daily, ranging from omelettes to buttermilk pancakes. You also can order eggs any style, or eat light with a selection of cereals, fruit and homemade muffins. As well, complimentary hot and cold beverages are available 24 hours.

While only breakfast is served at the Inn, Manchester has a wide range of restaurants ranging from the uber-gourmet The Silver Fork, to pub/bistro fare at Mulligan’s, both an easy walk from the Inn. Among other notable eateries are Gringo Jacks, for great Mexican food and an extensive margarita menu, and Ye Olde Tavern, actually a gourmet restaurant in an century inn built in 1790, a year before Vermont became a state. And, on the road east of town on the way to the Bromley and Stratton ski resorts is Bob’s Diner, where you can enjoy simple but healthy, even vegetarian, fare. The restaurant offerings are too numerous to mention. For a more on Manchester area dining, visit www.innatmanchester.com/explore-our-area/area-dining.

Inn at Manchester

Primrose Suite

Travel Planner
To contact The Inn At Manchester, please visit: www.innatmanchester.com or call: 1-800-273-1793. Manchester is about 300 kilometers south of Montreal. There are several routes, the most straightforward being down the east side of Lake Champlain via Autoroutes 10, 35 and Highway 133 to the Vermont border, where you pick up Interstate 89 to Burlington, then I-189 over to US-7 south through Shelburne, Middlebury and Rutland. There are several routes down the west side of Lake Champlain through New York State, via I-87 and then cutting east via several routes best navigated using Google Maps or your GPS.

Inn At Manchester

Celebration Barn

Area attractions

Here are some of the notable things to see in the area:

Hildene: The country home of President Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, built in 1903-05, is a federally designated historic site perched atop a promontory overlooking the Battenkill River. The bright airy mansion is somewhat unique in that it contains much of the family’s original furnishings, beautifully preserved, including wallpaper. The house’s centerpiece is a 1,000-pipe Aeolian organ. Outside are beautiful gardens with spectacular views of the surrounding valley. The younger Lincoln was president of the Pullman rail-coach company, and a 128-year-old luxury coach is on display that was used by, among others, President William McKinley. www.hildene.org

Art: The Southern Vermont Arts Center comprises several galleries and a theatre, as well as educational programs. A few miles south in Bennington is the Bennington Center for the Arts, which has top exhibitions of fine art, ceramics, jewelry and other works.

Theatre and music: There is a plethora of performing arts in the area, including the Dorset Theatre Festival, Weston Playhouse and the Old Castle Theatre Company. The Manchester Music Festival presents a renowned chamber-music programme.

Designer outlet shopping: Head to Manchester Center, where you’ll find several dozen designer stores in small clusters along Depot Street, including Armani, Brooks Brothers, Loft, Bass, Eddie Bauer J. Crew and Ann Taylor. among many others. www.manchesterdesigneroutlets.com

The history of fly fishing: Next door to the Orvis flagship store, an outdoors enthusiast’s mecca, is Orvis’s American Museum of Fly Fishing. This world-class display of fly-fishing equipment includes collections of, and rods used by Ernest Hemingway, Bing Crosby and several U.S. presidents, including Herbert Hoover. Orvis is a major fishing-equipment outfitter and operates a fly-fishing school.

Outdoors activities: The various hiking trails near town include relatively easy Lye Brook Falls and the more challenging Prospect Rock. The Long Trail passes a few miles to the east. There are several fishing outfitters and guides in Manchester with great fly and spin-reel fishing nearby. Manchester appeals to golfers, too, with half a dozen top courses in and around town.

Skiing: The nearest downhill ski center is family-friendly Bromley Mountain, less than 10 minutes from Manchester Center. A bit further up the road is Stratton Mountain, and big resort with varied terrain and a base village. An hour north near Rutland is Killington Mountain, New England’s largest ski resort. For cross-country skiing, the Hildene estate has 15 km of trails. Other options are Viking Nordic Center and Wild Wings Ski Touring.