a weekend in southern Vermont
words + photo by Karen J. Covey
There’s something quite magical about Vermont, especially in the fall. The changing colors of the leaves, the cool, crisp air—it’s a place unlike any other. Of course I may be partial because I grew up there, but every time I return, I still feel the same way—like it’s a place I want to stay for awhile.
Last weekend, my husband Dave and I, along with our lab Indie, headed to Manchester in the new 2019 Chevy Equinox to enjoy the fall foliage. The weather was great and the leaves were still beautiful, despite being at the end of the season (it actually snowed briefly Sunday morning!)
We stayed right in the heart of town at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel and it would be hard to find a more perfect place to settle in for the weekend than this hotel. From the moment we arrived, we absolutely loved this (very) dog-friendly hotel. There was a welcome sign with all the visiting pups names on it, dog bowls of water, and a jar of cookies too. Indie loved feeling this welcome, and it really made traveling with him such a pleasure.
The hotel has an afternoon happy hour, an inviting fire in lounge area, as well as a fire pit outside, where we happily hung out in the afternoon chatting with new friends. The food at the hotel restaurant The Copper Grouse was great as well.
The next morning we started our day exploring the 5.2 mile drive up to summit of the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive. It’s the longest, privately owned, paved toll road in the United States, and is also one of my favorite ways to enjoy the sweeping sights of the region including the Green, White, Adironack, and Taconic mountains. The top part of the drive was incredibly cloudy, cold, and windy, but it was totally worth the drive for the panoramic views.
I think one of the things I love most about visiting Vermont is the abundance of outdoor activities you can do, no matter what the season. The Equinox Pond Loop was one of our favorite trails, just outside town. The short quarter mile loop is wide open and mostly flat, with a pond at the end for swimming. It’s a quick trail for a morning or afternoon hike, but if you’re looking for some others, check out the other trails of the Equinox Preservation Land Trust, as well as Prospect Rock, Lye Brook Falls Trail, and The Long Trail.
Despite its growth over the years, Manchester still manages to hold onto it’s small town charm. It’s evident in the restaurants and shops and it makes it such a great place to visit. A few standouts in particular (but there are tons more than I mention here: Up for Breakfast, which has the best blueberry pancakes with local maple syrup (of course), great coffee, and friendly service. Get there early as there is almost always a line; The Equinox Resort is a must stop visit for a cocktail or an appetizer downstairs at the Marsh Tavern. If time allows, definitely stay for dinner and get the chicken pot pie, it’s to die for. The resort also has a world-class spa that offers day passes to those not staying at the resort. For the history buff, Hildene, the family home of Robert Todd Lincoln, on 412 acres of forestland, is a great way to spend part of the afternoon on a self-guided tour of the property. For the avid reader, the Northshire Bookstore is a must. The bookstore, founded in 1976 by Ed and Barbara Morrow is now a 10,000 square foot space filled with everything you want it a bookstore-a tremendous selection of books, gifts, and souvenirs of all kinds. The Southern Vermont Arts Center is also one of my favorite spaces to visit. It also offers classes and camps (seasonally). There is no shortage of outlets to visit so if you love to shop, than this is your place to visit. One spot not to miss is The Orvis Company. While they’re known as a fly-fishing brand, they also offer a wide range sportswear, home furnishings, luggage, and dog accessories, and have been doing it since 1856.
Our Chevy Equinox was the perfect car for our weekend exploration and it was super comfortable too. With the back seats down, Indie had tons of space to stretch out during the trip. The car has all the features you’d want including a rear seat reminder (not that Indie would ever let us forget him!), blind spot detection on the side mirrors, lane departure warning, and a speed limit display, which actually came in really handy on the drive up and back. Our trip took us through some back roads and small towns and when the speed limit changed quickly, it was super helpful to know what it was. A huge thank you to Chevrolet for giving us this amazing experience.