The Manchester & the Mountains region offers self-guided driving tours of the surrounding countryside, featuring covered bridges and many other points of interest. You will really get a taste for this beautiful region of Vermont, known as The Shires of Vermont.
Prefer to take a guided tour? Backroad Discovery Tours® offers tours designed for people who only have a day or two to spend in the area, and who wish to explore the region’s best-kept secrets! They offer Southern Vermont Sampler tours, Revolutionary & Civil War tours, Vermont Fall Foliage tours,and Winter/Spring Sampler tours.
The Shires Byway
The Shires ByWay, approximately 75 miles. The Shires of Vermont Byway is named for the scenic region it passes through from Vermont’s southern border with Massachusetts to its northern point where it intersects with the Stone Valley Byway in the heart of Manchester.
This ribbon of road, Route US7 from Pownal to Bennington, and Route VT 7A from Bennington to Manchester, is the historic stretch that has connected the communities of the north shire and south shire for centuries. Historically, a “shire town” was a county seat otherwise known as the governmental center of the county. Enriched by the waters of the famous Battenkill that runs through the “Great Valley”, The Shires is a popular four season destination for those seeking the authentic Vermont experience. Nestled between the Taconic and Green Mountains the region includes the historic towns of Bennington and Manchester and 15 quintessential New England towns and villages. The Shires of Vermont Byway winds its way from south to north through the towns of Pownal, Bennington, North Bennington Village, Shaftsbury, Arlington, Sunderland, Manchester Village and Manchester Center for approximately 75 miles including side trips.
Southern Vermont Loop
Southern Vermont Loop: 104 miles From Manchester Center follow Route 7A from Manchester Center, south to South Shaftsbury. From South Shaftsbury take Route 67 to Route 67A in Old Bennington. Continue to Pownal Center via Bennington and South Stream Rd (Morgan St) Drive Route 7 from Pownal Center to Williamstown, Massachusetts. Take Route 2 east to Route 8 north to Searsburg, Vt. From Searsburg, take Route 9 east for a short distance, then, via Somerset Rd, an unpaved road, you can take a beautiful side trip to Somerset Reservoir. Retrace your steps to Route 9 and travel west to Bennington. Take Route 7 north from Bennington to Manchester Depot. Danby / Mt. Tabor Loop: From Manchester Village head north on Rte. 7A past the junction where it turns into Rte. 7, and past the Villages of East Dorset and North Dorset to the Danby / Mt. Tabor Road junction. Turn right onto Danby Road, which starts out paved but turns to gravel, and follow over the Green Mountains past the the left turn to Weston and the right turn to Peru and through the Village of North Landgrove to the junction of Rte. 11. Turn right onto Rte. 11 and follow to Barnumville and the junction of Rte. 30. Follow Rte. 30 South back to Manchester Village.
The Stone Valley Byway
Passing near the western border of Vermont, the Stone Valley Byway (Route 30) extends from Manchester in Bennington County to Castleton in Rutland County. It extends along the shoreline
of beautiful lakes, traverses verdant pastures, and provides accessibility to outdoor recreation and historic village centers. The marble and slate quarries and mills that were scattered about the hillsides and along the highway shaped much of the development in the area and remain important today, either as active economic assets or as important historic and recreational sites.
Vermont Cheese Trail
Peggy Galloup, head cheesemaker and farm manager at Hildene in Manchester, adores her goats. “We take extremely good care of our girls,” she said, as a fluffy herd of impossibly cute kids approached us. It was spring on the farm — kidding season — and Galloup was busier than usual, attending to birthing mothers, bottle-feeding the newborns, and milking the herd so she could make her award-winning chevre. Later, she would guide about 36 goats and kids into a rolling pasture overlooking the Green Mountains, where, “the kids will do the milking for us and the mothers will get to bond with their babies,” Galloup explained. Source: The Boston Globe
Hildene Farm is one of the stops along the Vermont Cheese Trail. There are 46 cheesemakers in the state, producing approximately 150 varieties of some of the best artisan cheeses in the world. Visit local farmer’s markets throughout the state and you’re likely to see a selection of these hand-crafted cheeses. For more information on Hildene’s cheese-making visit their website.