Yes, Orvis is a pricey retail store, but it’s so much more. Its flagship store in Manchester has the ambiance of an Adirondack lodge, but one where you can buy all the outdoor clothing and gear you would ever need. Beyond that, Orvis runs fly-fishing and wing-shooting schools from its Manchester operation, and the price includes all the equipment you need to make it happen.
The Vermont Country Store is not so much a retail experience as a trip down memory lane. The store, which takes up much of downtown Weston, sells things that nobody else does anymore: antique-style gadgets, soaps and powders that no longer appear on drugstore shelves, candies that were once sold in a glass jar for a penny or two. If you’re over 50, this will bring you back. If you’re under 50, well, you can Tweet about it.
Woodstock is a classic 18th-century New England town — minus the avaricious loggers. George Perkins Marsh, a noted naturalist and statesman, was one of the first to see the error of those ways. He set aside 500 acres of conserved forestland that is now the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. More than 20 miles of carriage roads weave through the park, making it a spectacular place for a leisurely amble.
Rain or shine, VINS is a fascinating place to connect with the natural world. Check in on rehabilitating raptors, see how falcons hunt their prey or explore any of the nature trails around the perimeter of the facility. Just off Route 4 in Quechee, it’s an easy, and educational, walk on wild side.
It’s easier to negotiate Stowe on a bicycle than in a car, and the popular year-round bike path is a welcome alternative to the congested Mountain Road. The 5.3-mile trail starts next to the Stowe Congregational Church and crosses the West Branch River 11 times as it meanders north past shops and restaurants.
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