My husband is the King of Spontaneous Trips – from 24 hour beach getaways in college to last minute World Series games in another state, he has been there and done that. When he told us we were spending a weekend in Manchester, Vermont, I was so excited to escape the rain here in Connecticut for a snowy adventure. Here is a guide to the perfect weekend in Manchester, Vermont, including where to eat and things to do during with kids during the winter.
Manchester is the quintessential Vermont town with gorgeous mountain views, an exciting downtown with unique businesses, an abundance of delicious restaurants, and even a cozy bookstore with a kids playroom. If you’re visiting Manchester, there are quite a few places to stay – from hotels to inns to Air BNBs, the options are endless.
Where to Stay
My family of four stayed at the Inn at Willow Pond in Manchester, VT. The Inn is located just a few miles from the town center, which is perfect if you’re looking for a beautiful view and a property you can explore (20 scenic acres to be exact). Located in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, The INN at Willow Pond was originally a dairy farm built in the 1770’s. The Farmhouse is where you will find the Main Office, plus a secret library in the loft.
We spent quite a few hours in the library working on our laptops while the girls played with toys provided by Alyssa, the front desk manager. There were brand new crayons and paper, Legos, and even a matching game. Plus, there is a small DVD library you can borrow from to bring back to the room. Each room has a DVD player and flat screen t.v..
You MUST ask for Alyssa, the front desk manager, as she is absolutely amazing. I was absolutely blown away by her hospitality. She made sure there was a new pack-n-play in our room for our youngest, with a tiny blanket and pillow. The lights and heat were on in the room upon our arrival, as well as fresh toiletries and even sleds for the girls to use on the hill right outside our door.
The Inn at Willow Pond was family friendly and perfect for our quick trip to Manchester. I loved the crackling fireplace in the family room, where the girls loved to sit and watch “Frozen.” We brought snacks to keep in the mini fridge and plenty of activities to keep the girls busy.
Note: If you travel to the Inn during the summer, there is a pool where you can swim!
Where to Eat
While in Manchester, VT, there are so many different restaurants to choose from that you could probably spend a week without eating at the same place. The Inn at Willow Pond offered continental breakfast – fresh bagels, fruit, and yogurt – so we didn’t have to drag our daughters out early in the morning. I loved that there was also fresh coffee cake and coffee served late afternoon at the Inn.
Before we headed home, I ran into The Works: Bakery and Cafe for breakfast sandwiches to eat in the car. The homemade cream cheese and steaming fresh bagels were mouthwatering, as was the Juevos Hamcheros Wrap and giant Cinnamon Roll. Brandon and I really enjoyed the coffee as well, it was fragrant and a great pick-me-up for our three hour ride home.
We did eat lunch the same place twice because it was delicious, cozy, and kid-friendly. Mulligans Pub & Restaurant has an easy menu with lots to choose from. I ate the Cobb Salad, French Onion Soup, and stole a bite of Brandon’s Burger. The girls had the chicken fingers and hot dog from the kids menu – everything was very tasty. The kids portions were so large we had leftovers both times, which was great to bring back to the mini fridge in the room for later.
When we travel, we don’t like to necessarily go out to eat for all three meals. We ordered takeout to eat in our room because dinner time with kids can be tricky. Christos’ Pizza & Pasta was easy to pick-up and affordable. The restaurant looked to be family friendly and had booths, large tables, plus televisions playing the SEC Tournament. For dinner, we enjoyed juicy oversized meatballs in a homemade marinara, spaghetti, garlic bread, and a giant Greek Salad – all for $20.
Another great meal was from Sam’s Wood Fired Pizza. We ordered a large Meatball, Spinach, Black Olive White Pie that had a crisp thin crust and kept well in the fridge overnight so Ailey could eat it the next morning (haha). The girls ate a Meatball Parm Grinder, which was on the small side for the price and came with potato chips. I think the meal would have been better if we ate in the restaurant, as both items were on the cold side by the time we brought them through the hotel room door.
What to Do
The Northshire Bookstore has to be one of the greatest book stores I have ever been inside. From the cozy corners with lounge chairs where you can peruse a purchase, to the giant kids room with toy tables, to the coffee shop in store, Northshire Bookstore is a dream place for any book lover, young or old!
We walked around Manchester for a little while – exploring some great handmade art and spying on a few kitty cats that live inside one of the stores. We did some shopping at the outlets (there’s everything – J.Crew, GAP, etc). I would’ve liked to visit more of the small businesses, but it was hard to pop into the stores with the little ones.
Enjoy Manchester’s Natural Beauty – The Great Outdoors
We were so lucky that there was a fresh blanket of snow for us to frolick in while we were in Manchester. The girls had so much fun sledding with their Daddy and I built snowmen for Ailey to knock down. The Inn at Willow Pond had a perfect property to explore and complimentary sleds to use on the back hill – which was right outside our room.
If the weather is too crazy to go outside, you can always cozy up by the fire with your family.
Sometimes you just have to get away from every day life to reconnect with your family. We were in Manchester for a quick trip, but had just the right amount of time to explore, eat, and have fun. Manchester was perfect for our snowy adventure!