Vermont is well known for its picturesque towns, and at the heart of these is often a village centered around the town’s main street (often aptly named Main Street). Here main streets often have grand architecture, eclectic small businesses, and community-oriented features like a park or theater. Often it thrives thanks to locals who have made a conscientious effort to fight the general decline of Main Street. Here are some of Vermont’s best main streets to visit.
1. Montpelier –
Montpelier is the smallest capital city in the country and it has a bustling main street full of farm-to-table restaurants, book shops, a record store, and much more, with daily farmers’ markets in the summertime.
2. Woodstock –
Woodstock is often referred to as the quintessential Vermont town by travel guides and magazines. This village historic is full of charm and is impeccably maintained. Forget about finding any national chain stores in town because the shops, boutiques, and restaurants are locally owned. You won’t find a Bed Bath and Beyond or Barnes and Noble here folks. Instead, there’s Aubergine’s, Yankee Bookshop, F.H. Gillingham & Sons, and The Woodstock Inn and Resort, which provides the perfect home base for strolling adventures.
3. Burlington -
Church street marketplace is a great place to wander and you can find anything on this street from a distillery, quaint clothing shops, chocolate, pubs, gifts, tea, coffee and plenty of food choices. The giant Christmas tree is spectacularly lit at the top of the street throughout the holiday season.
4. Bristol -
The entire downtown is a National Historic District, so step back in time and explore the friendly village shops including art, home accessories, gifts, vintage collectibles, books, toys, clothing and Vermont products. The dining options are a plenty, too! Bristol loves festivals and they have one of the best July 4th celebrations in the state.
5. Bennington –
A great place to get your blood flowing with a stroll around downtown Bennington. From The Saint Francis De Sales Church to old mills to the Bennington Bookshop to The Chocolate Barn to The Sugar Shack, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for (and more) here!
6. Ludlow -
Ludlow is a small village surrounded by wooded hills and located at the base of Okemo Mountain. There is plenty to do all seasons of the year, and in the heart of Ludlow there are about 5 blocks of shops and restaurants on Main Street that are a great stroll when the weather is nice.
7. Manchester –
Manchester, with its gilded mansions and upscale factory outlets, draw more shoppers than ski bums. But this rural town in southern Vermont Valley offers more than high end retail stores – Manchester is full of local arts-and-crafts shops and artisanal restaurants.
8. St. Johnsbury –
St. Johnsbury, or rather "St. J," as its known to residents, is the hub of the North East Kingdom. This downtown is a classic New England original with late 19th-century Victorian homes, a Main Street, and hardly a drop of sprawl. An active effort is under way to lure newcomers; the entire Northeast Kingdom region has development programs for small-business entrepreneurs—an important part of the local economy.
9. Johnson –
Johnson Village represents the community’s cultural, commercial and institutional center. The Village is a compact community that is home to a number of unique businesses, heritage buildings and residential neighborhoods. The Village has long been a center for education and today approximately 42% of in-town jobs are in educational services. Johnson State College’s roots go back to Johnson Academy School, founded in 1828. Today, Johnson State College has approximately 1,950 students.
10. Chester -
Windsor County’s town of Chester is best known for its Stone Village and Chester Village Historic Districts, both of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
11. Dorset -
A quiet and charming community, Dorset is nestled in the highest valley between New York City and Montreal. With its charming center and welcoming locals, Dorset has been a summer destination since the early 20th century.
12. Grafton –
Be sure to visit Grafton if you enjoy historic buildings to get a glimpse into America’s early colonial days. This picturesque village lies in the mountains of southern Vermont, and the residents have restored many of its original buildings to preserve its authentic New England atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy snow-covered hills and cross-country skiing, or wander the town’s array of shops and galleries. The Grafton Inn has a great Main Street location and is the perfect place to sit back with a lemonade and soak in the ambience of this lovely village.
13. Stowe -
The dynamic town of Stowe is an ideal destination in all four seasons, and attracts a large amount of visitors for both it’s outdoor adventures and it’s charming downtown. In town, visitors can wander arts and crafts studios, museums and galleries, attend musical and theatrical performances and partake in seasonal activities such as outdoor block parties and parades.
14. Weston -
The small town of Weston, located in Windsor County, offers visitors an authentic, New England country experience. Visit quintessential country stores and shops where you’ll find everything from Christmas ornaments, crafts and artisanal goods, unique galleries and craft studios (all of which are still family owned and operated), wonderful experience with historical museums and houses to visit and theatrical
productions. Weston is the perfect place for a quiet change of scenery in a picturesque town with a charming and well-preserved heritage.
Vermont has so many quaint villages that it’s impossible to list them all, but we’d love to know: What is
your favorite main street?