Here in the Shires of Vermont we take our traditions and freedoms seriously.  We also know how to celebrate, focusing on the things that matter the most (family, friends, and community).  

Independence Day was about freedom; freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear as was captured by Rockwell’s iconic portraits.  Those portraits along with other Rockwell accolades are featured in this year’s Four Freedoms Festival taking place right here in the Shires.

July 4th is also about community and family as we get together to fire up the grill, have a special cocktail, enjoy in the fun, and take in summer in the Shires.

Here are a handful of survival tips to make the most of your 4th of July in the Shires:

Downtown Bennington, Vermont

Downtown Bennington, Vermont


1.     4 Freedoms Festival: Rockwell Model Reunion

Norman Rockwell's "kid" modes are no longer kids, but their mischievous humor and charm are more present than ever. A special gathering will take place as the models share stories of their time in Rockwell's studio and reflect on their youth in Arlington. A presentation by local art historian Don Trachte, Jr. will take place at the high school's MACK Performing Arts Center. In keeping with tradition, The Arlington Lions Club will prepare a fundraising barbecue luncheon following the presentation. 2018 commemorates the 75th anniversary of Rockwell's Four Freedoms paintings in The Saturday Evening Post. Saturday, July 7, 11:00 AM  1:00 PM.  For more info:

2.     The Best Fireworks Locations and Schedule

o   Mountain Friends and Freedom (Sunday, July 1): Celebrate summer and Independence Day at Stratton Mountain’s Annual Mountain Friends and Freedom Festival. The whole family can enjoy fireworks, gondola rides, live music, barbecues, face painting and more at the party of the summer.  Fireworks start around 9:15 at the Main Base Area.  Fore more info:      

o   Bennington's Fourth of July Celebration (Wednesday, July 4): Beginning at 4pm at Willow Park with craft vendors including: jewelry, hats, sundresses, purses, t-shirts, dream catchers, light-up novelties.  Food to include: fried dough, hot dogs, sausages, cotton candy, fresh squeezed lemonade, and ice cream. Crossover Cloggers live performance at 6pm, 7-9pm Buddy Madison performing acoustic music and a final celebration with fireworks starting around 9:30pm: For more info:

o   Manchester Fireworks (Wednesday, July 4):  Join the community of Manchester at Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park (340 Recreation Park Rd) for their spectacular fireworks display! For more info visit:

3.     Master BBQ Supplies

Of course nothing says the 4th of July like firing up the grill and getting your BBQ on!  For some of the areas best hot dogs, burgers (try the bluecheese peppercorn burger), marinade-infused chickens and steaks check out Henry’s Market in Bennington.  Looking for your supplies?  We recommend Hannaford and Home Depot located in North Bennington. Check out some of the local farms for your local veggie kick!

The final resting place of poet Robert Frost in historic Old First Church Cemetary Bennington, VT.

The final resting place of poet Robert Frost in historic Old First Church Cemetary Bennington, VT.


4.     Old 76 Strong Ale, Really All You Need To Survive

Of course for the full independence feeling and a salute to our founding fathers, check out this iconic brew, Old 76 Strong Ale, at Madison Brewing Company in downtown Bennington. This rich English Yorkshire style ale has a strong malt backbone and smooth finish and is dark amber in color.

5.     Camping On The Battenkill

If your idea of celebrating our independence looks more like a quiet family getaway look no further than Camping on the Battenkill. Just north of the town of Arlington on Historic Route 7A you’ll find your hosts, Neil and Leanne, and their Camping On The Battenkill park.  The Battenkill River is known as one of the best trout streams in the East. The challenge is in landing the native trout that reside in the stream. Swimming in the campground is done at the natural swimming hole in the Battenkill where the water is clear and refreshing. For little children who need a quiet area for swimming, there is the local recreational park, located 1000 feet from the campground. Many campers enjoy bringing their own tubes or canoes and floating down the river. Children and adults alike enjoy our open field for playing ball games, swinging on the swings, or digging in the sand pile. For more info visit: 

Downtown Manchester, VT

Downtown Manchester, VT


6.     Abolitionist Frederick Douglas’s 1852 Speech read at Hildene

At 10:00 am on July, 4, Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, will host a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’s fiery 1852 speech, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro.”  The shared reading will be followed by a discussion led by Hildene President, Seth Bongartz, and light refreshments. The program is free and members of the community are invited to take part in the communal reading. By hosting such events during the celebration of this nation’s independence – its freedom from Great Britain and its tyranny – the community is invited to think about and discuss race and citizenship now, more than a century and a half later. For more information, please contact or 802. 367.7960.

7.     Reading of the Declaration at the Bennington Battle Monument

Historic games and colonial fun, leading up to the reading of the Declaration of Independence is an annual tradition on the grounds of the Monument. A replica declaration is available for all to sign!  Join the friendly staff on Wednesday, July 4 from 10am-2pm.

Historic statue at the Monument in Bennington, VT...visit the site to find out more 🙂

Historic statue at the Monument in Bennington, VT...visit the site to find out more 🙂


8.    Wilburton Inn Farm Night Dinner

On July 4th from 7pm to 9pm enjoy organic vegetarian food from Wilburton’s fields to your table! Farm Night dinners at the Wilburton Inn are a joyful celebration. Garden cocktails, live music, abundant fresh food and great people make these nights a sold out success for the past 5 years! Each week is a different internationally themed vegetarian feast with flavors from Greece, Italy, Mexico, India and more. The most delicious and festive weekly dinner party in Vermont! Live music, dancing & the best views in Vermont. Only $25 per person including tax and gratuity.


Share your July 4th photos with us with #exploretheshires. We want to know how you spent your Fourth of July with us.  Tag your photo with the #exploretheshires and you could win a free “I Explored The Shires of Vermont” T-Shirt!

TPW Real Estate in Manchester, VT. Make The Shires of Vermont your home! 

TPW Real Estate in Manchester, VT. Make The Shires of Vermont your home!