While strolling through many of Vermont’s historic downtowns and village centers, visitors are taken by the historical architecture and impressed by the repurposing of many of the buildings which keeps our history alive. Many of our museums feature history unique to the area that you won’t find anywhere else. Travelers explore tree-lined streets and discover locally-owned retail businesses with unique specialty goods, casual and fine dining featuring fresh, local, and award winning food, wines and brews, and arts, culture and historical attractions that add to the small town charm. Vermont downtowns are a centerpiece of community life, and you will be welcomed with warmth and enthusiasm.
There are many wonderful communities to visit throughout Vermont and these are just some of them.
12. Bellows Falls
Bellows Falls is full of beautifully preserved and repurposed architecture. As an early railroad town with a canal system, bridges, and water-powered mills, Bellows Falls today includes three districts listed on the national Register of Historic Places. Beautifully restored and repurposed homes and commercial buildings provide the backdrop to a lively arts community and downtown, and nearby residential areas include Victorian-era homes known as “painted ladies.”
Bradford’s historic downtown offers a diverse range of activities. Be sure to take in a play at the Old Church Theater, visit the Bradford Historical Museum or the Falls at Boch Park, or stop for a meal and enjoy the many locally grown, organic homemade products.
10. St. Albans
This classic town hosts events such as the Spring Maple
Festival, summer concerts and living history events commemorating the site of the Northern-most land action of the Civil War.
9. St. Johnsbury
National Geographic Adventure named St. Johnsbury the “#1 Small Town for Adventure.” Discover beautiful Victorian architecture and a walking tour that exposes the town’s layers of history. Visit the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, which is a National Historic Landmark and includes monumental paintings by Albert Bierstadt. Explore Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium and Catamount Arts.
Middlebury is full of museums for your historical entertainment, including the Middlebury College’s Art Museum, Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, Vermont Folklife Center and National Museum of the Morgan Horse. The historic town center straddles scenic views of the falls at Otter Creek, and shops include bookstores, collectables, clothing, and destination art and craft galleries.
Poultney is known for its quintessential New England village appearance with its white steepled churches and expansive town. Combine this with a town walking tour that unearths centuries of captivating history, and you’ll be glad you visited this little gem.
Woodstock is a quaint old town with beautifully maintained historic homes and businesses. Enjoy shopping and dining along the main streets, the National Historic Park to interpret land conservation, a working 1890s dairy farm and museum, and a museum of Woodstock history just a short walk from the town’s center.
Founded in 1761, Bennington attracts visitors for history, art, craft, theater, music, dining, and festivals. The Bennington Museum exhibits paintings by Grandma Moses, and some of New England’s best historic furniture. Pottery has been produced in this town for more than 200 years, and Bennington Potters invites visitors on factory tours of their craft production history and methods. The Old First Church and the Bennington Battle monument provide Colonial-era history.
Nestled in the mountains, Grafton is one of New England’s prettiest villages. Many of its beautiful and historic buildings have been restored by its residents and the Windham Foundation, so today’s town looks much like it did years ago.
Grafton’s uniqueness comes from being a real town rather than a museum-like replica.
Springfield’s historic attractions include the 1910 Hartness Equatorial Turret Telescope, one of the first tracking telescopes in America, the late 18th century Eureka Schoolhouse, and the Baltimore Covered Bridge. Downtown is home to The Gallery at the Vault, one of only six Vermont State Craft Centers, and many fine local restaurants.
History, a quaint downtown, and a record of innovation that spans centuries, are among some of the attractions that make Windsor a great destination for a visit. Enjoy Windsor’s “Artisan Park” and Main Street shops, and explore unique dining opportunities. Windsor features over 40 historic structures that connect to local and national history.
1. Plymouth Notch
Plymouth Notch looks much like it did in the 1930s, and is the birthplace and boyhood home of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States. This National Historic Landmark village with the family homes, community church, cheese-making factory, schoolhouse, general store, and Summer White House has been carefully preserved, many with original interiors. Today much of it is preserved as the President Calvin Coolidge Historic Site with interactive exhibits, revolving exhibitions and friendly tour guides staffing the historic exhibits.
Let us know about your favorite historical town in Vermont. Share this with others who love Vermont’s history.