Southern Vermont Gay Vacation Guide – Romantic Weekend in Manchester, VT
Tucked amid the soaring Green Mountains of southwestern Vermont, Manchester offers all the elements of a classic New England retreat, and it’s a short drive from several smaller hamlets with their own considerable charms, including Dorset, Chester, and Grafton. Famous for its brilliant fall foliage, which hits its prime around the third week of September through mid-October, this easygoing town of 4,500 is also a top winter draw for skiers headed to the nearby slopes of Bromley, Stratton, and Mt. Snow, while in summer, it’s a lush, generally temperate locale that’s perfect for a magical outdoor wedding.
Manchester is made up of an endearingly sleepy historic village center and a larger and more modern downtown teeming with quirky cafés and independent boutiques as well as a clutch of upscale retail outlets, including Michael Kors, Marimekko, and Eileen Fisher. The flagship Orvis store is a must for fly-fishing and other outdoors enthusiasts. For breathtaking foliage views, drive to the top of 3,855-foot Mt. Equinox. Be sure to take one of the engrossing tours of Hildene, the former home of Robert Todd Lincoln (Abe’s first son). For a bite to eat, Depot 62 serves tasty wood-fired pizzas and is also a stylish houseware store. Fancier meals are had before the stone fireplace of renowned and refined Chantecleer, in nearby East Dorset.
One reason destination weddings are popular in Manchester is the town’s wealth of diversions, which range from traditional to trendy. In the latter category, the urbane Kimpton Taconic Hotel is a stylish overnight roost and wedding setting. In-room spa services are offered, and the lively Copper Grouse serves deftly prepared creative American fare. Up the street, the legendary Equinox Resort has hosted dignitaries—from Ulysses Grant to Teddy Roosevelt—since 1853 and offers championship golf, tennis, falconry lessons, and fly-fishing. If you’d rather hole up—or get hitched—in a small village, consider the cozy 45-room Grafton Inn, which dates to 1801 and lies 30 miles east of Manchester. It’s home to a superb farm-to-table restaurant, the Old Tavern.
Vermont Gay Travel Resources
Featured image: Vermont’s Grafton Inn and Old Tavern; photo by Andrew Collins