7 Festive Vermont Towns to Visit This Winter
November 09, 2023
“The snow is sparkling like a million little suns.” – Lama Willa
White-capped mountains, icy ponds and snow-covered valleys make winter in Vermont hard to beat. In Vermont towns, you’ll find ski areas, festive events, sledding hills, skating rinks, general stores and restaurants. Here are seven of the best Vermont winter towns to visit.
Stroll through Manchester Village to see the Equinox Resort and historic homes adorned with wreathes along Historic Route 7A. Ice skate at Riley Rink or go sledding on a scenic hill on Seminary Avenue. Ski at Bromley, Stratton or Magic Mountain. Not an alpine skier? Twelve miles of trails are open for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing at the scenic Hildene estate.
Woodstock is the perfect New England town to visit, and winter is no exception. The first rope-tow opened here in 1934, and the town is picture perfect when there’s a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Visit the historic Billings Farm and Museum, see the Forest of Lights at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science Nature Center (VINS) in nearby Quechee, hit the slopes at Saskadena Ski ski area or go cross-country skiing at the Woodstock Nordic Center.
Be sure to take a walk around this beautiful town, which is filled with locally owned stores and cafes, including the Yankee Bookshop, F.H. Gillingham & Sons general store and Mon Vert Cafe. Enjoy a winter cocktail at Au Comptoir followed by dinner at The Prince and The Pauper or the Woodstock Inn & Resort. Visit www.woodstockvt.com.
For a small town, Burke has a lot to offer in the winter. Not only is this Northeast Kingdom community home to Burke Mountain Resort, it’s also where you’ll find Burke Mountain Academy—a world-renowned school for ski racing (its famous alums include ski racing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin).
You can also try skiing or riding at the Lyndon Outing Club in nearby Lyndonville, which offers weekend and night skiing with slope access from a vintage T-bar and rope tow. Another way to enjoy the outdoors is to head over to Kingdom Trails for fat biking and Nordic skiing. While visiting East Burke, enjoy pastries and coffee at Café Lotti or dinner at The Wildflower Restaurant. Visit www.burkevermont.com.
Winter event picks: St. J Sparkle Holiday Weekend on Dec. 8-9 in St Johnsbury.
Vermont’s Mad River Valley is stunning anytime of year. In the winter, it shines. Go skiing at Vermont’s iconic Mad River Glen in nearby Fayston or opt for a classic winter resort experience at Sugarbush in Warren. Try Nordic skiing or snowshoeing at Ole’s Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe or Blueberry Lake Cross Country & Snowshoeing Center.
Home to Okemo Mountain Resort, Ludlow is a ski town and so much more. After being hard hit by summer flooding, most downtown businesses are reopened for the 2023-24 winter season. Head up to Okemo for skiing or snowboarding, take a ride on the resort’s Timber Ripper Coaster or lace up your skates at the Ice House indoor rink at Jackson Gore.
Head downtown to browse at the Book Nook, Depot Street Gallery & Mercantile, and Green Mountain Sugar House before grabbing dinner and drinks at Main + Mountain. The downtown grocery store is still closed from flooding, so your best bet is to drive six minutes to nearby Proctorsville to shop at Singleton’s General Store. Visit www.yourplaceinvermont.com.
Winter event picks: New Year’s Fireworks and après at Okemo on Dec. 31; Full Moon Snowshoe Hikes at Okemo on Jan. 25, Feb. 24, March 25, 2024. Visit Okemo.com for details.
It’s no secret that Stowe is one of Vermont’s most popular winter destinations. Take a stroll on Main Street (Route 100) and see the classic Stowe Community Church. Stop by the fantastic Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum, Shaw’s General Store, or the Country Store on Main.
After a day on the slopes at Stowe Mountain Resort or Nordic skiing at Trapp Family Lodge, head over to the Alchemist Brewery or Cork Restaurant and Natural Wine Shop. Grab dinner at Doc Ponds, Flannel at Top Notch, Piecasso or Idletyme Brewing. Visit www.gostowe.com.
Explore the famous Vermont Country Store or stop by the Weston Village Christmas Shop and Weston Village Store. Grab coffee or breakfast at The Hub @ Weston or dinner at The Left Bank restaurant at The Weston. Ski at local favorites Magic Mountain or Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry. Visit www.weston-vermont.com.
-This story was updated from an earlier version first published in 2017.