The Manchester Business Association,** representing Manchester, Vermont, one of the most beautiful New England places, has cooked up a grand idea for a President’s Day (or week) tour of this historic place: a presidential-themed tour of its great homes, bookstores, and restaurants.
Manchester, in the state’s southwestern corner, is aside Route 7, a beautiful state road that ambles through pristine countryside from Williamstown, in northern Massachusetts, to Burlington, Vermont (we’ll save those places for a later post).
First up on a Manchester visit is Hildene, the mansion built in 1902 by Robert Lincoln, the only son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood. Robert became a successful businessman, and Chairman of the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturing corporation at the turn of the 20th century.
His Georgian Revival home, open daily, year-round, is a trove of fine objects from his times, including a 1,000-pipe Aeolian Pipe Organ. Railroading enthusiasts will enjoy the Pullman car “Sunbeam”. Take a self-guided tour and you will make a promise to yourself to return in the green seasons to see the Hoyt Formal Garden, the Observatory, and Hildene Farm.
Next up: read about the presidency or any other topic of your heart’s desire at independent, family-owned Northshire Bookstore on Main Street in Manchester Center. In business since 1976, Northshire is is a paradise for browsers and literature fiends of every variety. All kinds of books for all kinds of readers, along with DVDs, gifts, music, readings by authors, and book discussions. Lots of Vermont authors and Vermont-oriented reading matter. And if you don’t know quite what you want, the well-read staff is on guard to offer big ideas. The neighboring Spiral Press Café offers sustenance to keep you going.
If an evening meal with a side of history is your thing, put these two gems on your list; the Marsh Tavern in Manchester Village and Ye Olde Tavern, north of the roundabout on Main Street. Dine where the Green Mountain Boys schemed and planned, enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere, and sip a vintage cocktail or two. Map
** The Manchester Business Association (MBA) was formed in the summer of 2016 by a group of local Manchester business owners and operators with the purpose to discuss the business climate, opportunities, and challenges within the Manchester area business community. In early 2017, the MBA formed with an 11 member board and with the mission to promote & market the Town of Manchester & its businesses by developing strategies that include advertising, promotion, and events to increase the number of visitors to Manchester.