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Visit Manchester, Vermont for a Fun Day Trip Near Albany

Just 1 hour and 20 minutes northeast of Albany lies the historic town of Manchester, Vermont. This community offers a unique blend of New England charm, style, arts, and culture that lies at the foot of Mount Equinox.

The area is also a four-season destination that features outdoor adventures, colorful fall foliage, challenging golf, winter sports, and more, making it well worth a visit. Here are some suggestions for things to do on your next day trip from Albany to Manchester.

Spring & Summer

Shop at the Manchester Designer Outlets

flowers on a sunny day with buildings in background
Photo credit: Manchester Designer Outlets

Welcome to 5th Avenue in the mountains, with up to 70% off retail daily! This upscale outlet center lies in the heart of Manchester with beautiful, New England-style buildings. From Yves Delorme and Kate Spade to charming boutiques and cafes, the outlets have something fit for everyone’s tastes.

Visit the Manchester Farmers Market

The Manchester Farmers Market has over 30 vendors made up of local farmers and artisans. Besides fresh vegetables and fruit, you’ll also find cheeses, meats, bread, and more. Stop by anytime from 3-6 PM on Thursdays (approx. late May - early October). The farmers market is located at Adams Park.

Plan a Round of Golf

The Golf Club at Equinox features a world-class course, designed by Walter Travis and Rees Jones, with amazing views. Located right in Manchester Village, our golf fans won't want to miss out on playing these well-manicured, pristine greens.

Take in the Fresh Vermont Air on a Hike

view of the mountains from the top of mount equinox
Photo credit: Craig Light, courtesy of Old Mill Road Media

Manchester has plenty of options to experience the outdoors in the summer, including hiking trips. The Lye Brook Falls hike is an excellent option, as the trail is fairly easy, dog friendly, and leads to one of the tallest waterfalls in Vermont. We recommend doing this hike in the spring once the waterfall is fully flowing again after winter.

For a more challenging hike, check out Mount Equinox, the highest mountain in the Taconic Range. Once you make it to the summit, trek a little further to reach Lookout Rock where you can see views of Manchester Village from above. If you want to see the views but don't want to hike, Mount Equinox is also a great option because you can drive up the mountain on Skyline Drive.

Go for a Scenic Bike Ride

One of the most popular things to do in the warmer months is to go biking. Bike Manchester VT offers local weekly group rides every Wednesday from spring through fall throughout different parts of Southern Vermont. These guided rides are the perfect opportunity to explore the area and enjoy some scenic views. Or, you can map out your own bike route and travel at your own pace.

Travel Through Southern Vermont By Water

Warm summer days call for activities where you won't overheat, and we've got the best excursion just for that. Relax in a kayak or lazy tube while you soak up the sun and float down one of Vermont's best rivers with Big Big on the Battenkill Kayaking and Tubing in nearby Arlington.

Prepare for Upcoming Events

Manchester is a very artsy town and has annual festivals to show off the local talent. Throughout the summer, the Manchester Music Festival welcomes performers and music lovers from around the area to enjoy live music in downtown Manchester. More information on the music festival can be found at

The annual Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival is another exciting event for music lovers in the area. Traditionally hosted in August, the music festival features a variety of bluegrass, roots, and Americana performers.

To browse a full calendar of upcoming events, see the Manchester Business Association's website:

Fall & Winter

Explore the Region’s Fine Arts Scene

a museum on a sunny day

Manchester has a lot to offer if you’re looking to delve into the world of fine arts. The Southern Vermont Arts Center (pictured above) showcases changing exhibits in its stunning Georgian mansion. It was founded over 50 years ago by a group of local artists and started as a private estate. The original building remains today but has been joined by a museum complex, studio facilities, an auditorium, and Vermont’s most extensive sculpture garden. This spot is definitely worth adding to your itinerary!

Go Leaf Peeping

From around mid-September to late October, Vermont's trees transform into a beautiful sight where bright, full colors cover the area around you. To get the full experience, we recommend going hiking during these months. The Prospect Rock trail in Manchester is considered easy, and offers great views of Manchester, Mount Equinox, Battenkill River Valley, and Dorset Peak.

Savor the Season's Bounty

Visit the Equinox Valley Nursery during fall and try cider doughnuts, pumpkin delights of all kinds, and search for the best pumpkin to take home too. Kids (and adults!) can make their way through a corn maze and take a wagon ride to their North Field, where visitors can experience spectacular views of the Green Mountains and Mount Equinox.

Step Inside the Specialty Shops

shelves filled with books in a bookstore

Make sure you stop by the original Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, a family-owned store that is one of New England’s biggest bookstores. Close by, you’ll also find Manchester Hot Glass, a glass-blowing studio and gallery open daily to the public. You can watch the glassblowers at work or take a class to learn for yourself. Or, check out Manchester Woodcraft, a local favorite for handmade souvenirs like gifts, kitchenware, and more.

Check Out a Top Fall Festival

A highlight of early fall, the Southern Vermont Art & Craft Festival features live entertainment, food vendors, adult drinks, kids’ crafts, and more for the whole family. Throughout the event, exhibitors from all over the New England states display and sell their craftwork.

Live craft demonstrations, including glass, jewelry design, painting, and more can be seen around the festival. Within the dining tent, different local or regional bands perform each day while guests enjoy delicious fare, ranging from pizza and burgers to Asian food and homemade falafel.

Visit One of Manchester's Most Popular Attractions - The Hildene Home

Step back in history at Hildene, the Lincoln family home. This home was built in 1905 by Abraham Lincoln's only surviving son, Robert. The estate includes a farm, a trail system, the grand home, and more for people to explore. Guided, self-guided, and group tours are offered and welcome visitors to traverse the grounds.

While the estate can be visited in the summer, the wintertime is also a great time to experience the property, as the 12 miles of trails are available for hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.

Ski at Nearby Stratton Mountain

a snowy mountain for skiing with trees along the side on a sunny day

Stratton Mountain offers incredible downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing about 30 minutes from Manchester. Spend a day on the slopes before celebrating your trip with a bite to eat. This ski resort isn't just for the winter seasons, either! Stratton has become a year-round vacation destination with a bike park, scenic lift rides, golf, and more.

Head Out Into Vermont's Backcountry

Is there a cooler way to explore Southern Vermont than by snowmobile? If there is, we haven't found it yet! In winter, Vermont Mountain Adventures offers daily two-hour guided tours of backcountry areas. View gorgeous sites covered by pristine snow on this unforgettable adventure.

Plan Your Day Trip Today!

Take a trip off the beaten path and discover what Manchester, Vermont offers. You’ll have a fantastic time visiting local venues, attractions, and other hotspots.

Try some family-friendly adventures in the Albany area >>

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