Begin your Scenic Vermont Route 100 drive up near the Canadian border and make your way down through the middle of Vermont to see all the charm of this New England state. The drive takes you through some of the most charming towns and rural stretches, along pretty rivers, with the famous Vermont mountains always in the background. Famous for skiing and for fall foliage, much of Route 100 has been designated a Scenic Byway. The drive has many towering and intimate charms.
The northernmost town on the drive, Troy was chartered on October 28, 1801. See Troy Falls, a beautiful natural cascade of the Missisquoi River, from the rocky promontory. They are a favorite spot for summer picnics and autumn corn roasts. Consider a stop at Coture’s Maple Shop between Troy and Lowell. You’ll pass the big white impressive turreted house at Berry Creek Farm. Lowell is mostly rural; here, you can stay at the Rendezvous B and B. South of Lowell the route becomes more rolling and is tree-lined on both sides, making a pretty drive in any season, and especially in the fall “leaf peeping” weeks. In Eden, there are some soothing overlooks and picnic spots at Lake Eden.
Eden Lake, Vermont
At the roundabout at Hyde Park, follow Church Street into town, which is dominated by the, county courthouse, an impressive Victorian structure. Along Main Street are several lovely white clapboard churches. Among the interesting old buildings are the Governors House in Hyde Park, dating to 1893, which was built by Vermont Governor Carroll S. Page; it’s now an inn. The Hyde Park Opera house is home to a season of little theater productions every year.
The Noyes House Museum offers seventeen rooms, and barn exhibits, all about life in the 1800s in Morristown. The museum’s collection includes, pottery textiles, furniture, clothing, photographs, military objects, fine art and folk art, and many of the tools and objects of daily life. Morristown’s Debs Place and Thompson’s Flour Mill both have good food and a friendly atmosphere.
Red Bridge in Morristown
Stowe is everyone’s idea of Vermont, from skiing the slopes in winter to the Trapp Family Lodge year round. In the early 1940s, the von Trapp family toured the United States singing, until they settled in Stowe. They bought a farm with mountain views that reminded them of their beloved Austria. In 1950, they first welcomed guests to their family home and lodge. If you feel the urge to twirl around on the lawn in front of the lodge and sing about the hills being alive, we do not blame you, we’ve done it ourselves. Follow the Stowe Recreation Path, ascend Mount Mansfield, enjoy the natural beauty of Moss Glen Falls and Smugglers Notch State Park, and be sure to visit the wonderful craft shops and boutiques that make Stowe a prime Vermont vacation destination. Favorite Stowe restaurants include Harrisons, McCarthy’s and the Bistro at Ten Acres. A short drive out of town takes you to Gold Brook Covered Bridge, also known as Emily’s Covered Bridge.
Continue through Waterbury Center with its smattering of vintage buildings and charming brick church; visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Then on to Waterbury, where Ben and Jerry’s and Ziemke Glass Blowing Studio are the notable attractions. At Duxbury, the south Duxbury Congregational Church is the quintessential New England church, and is eminently photographable. Along the way to Waitsfield, the route flirts with the Mad River. The Mad River Glen is a hiking paradise. Highlights in Waitsfield include the shops, homes and other buildings that cozy up to Route 100, chief among them, the neo-classical Joslin Memorial Library.
Moss Glen Falls, Vermont
In Warren, pause to photograph the Warren Covered Bridge. Take the short walk to the amazingly beautiful Warren Falls. A bit further south, stop to see Moss Glen Falls. In Grantville visit The Bowl Mill, and the Glass Blowing Museum and Gallery. Hancock is a quaint crossroads with some very old structures. Rochester’s motto is “The Heart of the Green Mountains” in which the town nestles; the gazebo on the Park and the village that surrounds it are very lovely. The White River flows alongside the village. The meeting house was moved from the Park in 1801, and became the Congregational Church on the hill. Stockbridge is your jumping-off point for river tubing, a nice way to enjoy the beautiful countryside. Have a meal at The Wild Fern, where the bread, pizza, and desserts are fresh and unique, using locally sourced ingredients.
Pittsfield was hard hit by the flooding due to Hurricane Irene. As pretty as the White River is as you drive through the area, it turned destructive on that occasion. The residents of Pittsfield have been rebounding resolutely. Pittsfield is home to the Pittsfield General Store; for lodging, consider the Swiss Farm Inn B and B. Killington is justly famous as a ski resort; the grand spa, resort dining, golfing and more are milder weather attractions. Walk the Thundering Falls Trail to view the waterfall. The downtown is a great place to explore. For dining, visit the Foundry at Summit Pond or McGraths’s.
Calvin Coolidge State Forest, with its 16,166 acres is found on both sides of Route 100. Coolidge State Park is the hub of the forest, and offers a campground, picnic area, and an established hiking trail system. In Bridgewater, for breakfast it’s the Maple Diner (have the meatloaf cupcakes or slice of the fresh blackberry, raspberry, or mixed berry pie), and for pizza and calzones, its Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza.
Plymouth is famous as the home of President Calvin Coolidge; his State Historic Site is a must-see for everyone. Begin with the video at the welcome center and move on to the tiny circa 1890’s village Coolidge in which he grew up and was inaugurated. Many buildings to explore including a cheese-making operation. All of the buildings are filled with original family and period artifacts. Coolidge was buried in the family plot in Plymouth Cemetery, a one-minute drive from the welcome center. His grave is very simple and unadorned. Visiting here gives a great sense of the man and his impact in public service.
In Ludlow, visit the Okemo Mountain Resort, as well as beautiful Buttermilk Falls, a short stroll from the road. The three cascades and rugged rocks are a delight for the eyes. Dining options in Ludlow include Mr. Darcy’s and Sam’s Steakhouse. Weston is home to the Weston Playhouse with its white columned portico and lively little theater productions. Like so many of the towns along Route 100, Weston has a General Store worth exploring. For those who enjoy just being still, visit the Weston Priory beckons. Enjoy a meal at the Bryant House or the Inn at Weston.
A visit to Londonderry is not complete without a visit to the family run Taylor Farm, famous for delicious cheese. Take the whole family, to see pigs, cows, donkeys, horses, chickens and more in a great farm, setting. New American Grill, Red Slate, Maple Diner all offer memorable meals. Wardsboro, is the home of the delicious heirloom and official State Vegetable – the Gilfeather Turnip, first grown by John Gilfeather on the Gilfeather Farm. The Gilfeather Turnip Art Show honoring Vermont’s State Vegetable opens October 1 and runs through the end of the month, featuring artists and fine crafters from Wardsboro and Stratton, on display during regular hours at the Wardsboro Public Library. Look for the Gilfeather Turnip cookbook on sale there.
In Wilmington, you can laugh away your troubles at the Art of Humor Gallery, located on Not-A-Rd. Skip Morrow is the artist and your host; you will recognize his artwork from greeting cards you have given and sent. Hogback Mountain Gift Shop has a great viewing overlook outside, and lots of fun Vermont related gifts inside, including maple syrup, cheese, moose items, and souvenirs. Shop at Tallulah’s Antiques and More, three levels of amazing things to discover. Enjoy a meal at Dot’s or The Anchor. Whittingham is Mormon pioneer Brigham Young’s birthplace. You can see his birth monument there.
As you read, scenic Vermont 100 is full of things to do for all likes and all ages. Have you been to any of the towns along this route? We’d love to read your experiences.