An Explorer’s Summer Guide to The Shires of Vermont

A Merck Forest morning in The Shires of Vermont

A Merck Forest morning in The Shires of Vermont

Home of the famed Revolutionary War heroes, the Green Mountain Boys, it doesn’t take long to see that there is an explorer’s heart in most citizens of The Shires.

Looking for a little adventure yourself, want to get your explorer on?  Check out some of these top spots for the explorer-at-heart:

Merck Forest - Rupert, Vermont

Also well known beyond Vermont borders is the Merck Forest & Farmland Center, whose mission is to teach and demonstrate the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland. Its 3,100 acres, with 30 miles of trails, are open year round at no charge. The Visitor Center is open daily, and there are special programs on offer year round. Recommended times for a visit: maple syrup season (March); spring lambing season; summer (with the popular “Farm Chores for Children”); fall; and winter.

Dorset Quarry - Dorset, Vermont

On hot summer days the sight of dozens of families jumping, swimming, and basking in the sun around this massive 60-foot-deep swimming hole makes it one of the most wholesome and picturesque recreational spots in the region. The first commercial marble quarry in America opened in Dorset in 1785. More quarries followed, and Dorset stone was used for the New York Public Library and for buildings in Washington, DC. The marble era is over in Dorset, but visitors can see – and safely swim in – the beautiful quarry located beside Vermont Route 30 east of town.

Bike - All of The Shires

It’s a beautiful time to hike and bike while the weather is mild and the woods are waking up. Clear your mind and recharge your spirit as the trees bud and the birds sing. Road biking and mountain biking are the most popular forms of biking in Vermont, and Vermont fat biking (riding a bike on snow) has become increasingly popular over the last few years. There are also bike paths in southern Vermont for those who prefer riding on flatter terrain. 

Fishing - Manchester and Shaftsbury, Vermont

Fishing season is underway in April, so you can pack your gear and try your hand on one of our world-class trout streams like the Walloomsac, Mettowee, or Battenkill. Places to fish from the shore are abundant at Bullhead Pond. It's loaded with trout and the best time to catch them is early spring before the water gets too warm. A gorgeous and peaceful lake in Southern Vermont, you'll fall in love with Shaftsbury lake. Fish, swim and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. This is one place that will keep you coming back year after year. For more information:

Horseback Riding - Shaftsbury, Vermont

Kimberly Farms of Shaftsbury, Vermont, offers unique horse riding experiences and panoramic views. The 60-acre farm includes Vermont's oldest marble quarry and a mountainside wildlife preserve. The Green Mountain National Forest and farms carpeting the foothills provide scenic beauty in all directions. From some locations on the farm, one can see three states, as well as three mountain ranges: the Berkshires, the Green Mountains, and the Taconics.

Bromley Mountain - Manchester, Vermont

Bromley is home to 3 marvelous Adventures, creating the premier destination for families in Southern Vermont for summer activities. Your family will find an all day adventure for everyone! Our Mountain Adventure Park encompasses all you've always loved about Vermont's Summer Adventure! The Alpine Slide, Trampoline Things, Climbing Wall, Mini Golf, Space Bikes, Giant Swing, Big Splash Waterslide, Twin Spin, Scenic chairlift rides and Kidzone fun park for the little guys are great for a whole day of fun on their own.If that's not enough, our Aerial Adventure Park is ready to challenge you! Climb, glide & slide through the canopy on five different courses of ropes, ziplines & bridges. Add the Sun Mountain Flyer for a 50 mph, half mile long thrill! They’ve got 4 tracks of straight up awesome flight to satisfy your craving for adventure. 

Fly Fish - Manchester, Vermont

Learn how to fly fish, or hone your skills, in just two days with the world's best fly fishing instructors from Orvis. Their 2-day Fly-Fishing Schools will teach you everything you need to know to embark on a lifetime of angling enjoyment, whether you plan to stalk brook trout in the Adirondacks, cutthroats in Montana, or sailfish off Baja. Even better, their fly fishing lessons are offered in spectacular locations that offer plenty of activities for anglers and non-anglers alike. Their flagship Fly-Fishing School in Manchester, Vermont—the premier such fly fishing school in the country—is set in the heart of the beautiful Green Mountains and just a stone's throw from the famed Battenkill. Book today!

Fly hawks and falcons on Equinox Pond - Manchester, Vermont

Hawk identification, training, conditioning and hunting methods, the falconers’ furniture (equipment), and a rich history are just some of the fascinating aspects of this amazing sport covered during Green Mountain Falconry School’s lessons.  All programs are private bookings and include hands-on interaction with a trained hawk. Although these sessions do not certify you to practice falconry, you will be guided by one of our licensed falconers, keen to share their passion with you.  Book now!

The Green Covered Bridge - Arlington, Vermont

The Arlington Green Covered Bridge is a covered bridge located off Vermont Route 313 in Arlington, Vermont. The Town lattice truss bridge carries Covered Bridge Road across Batten Kill. It was built in 1852 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It is one of Vermont's oldest surviving bridges

The Northshire Bookstore - Manchester, Vermont

Of course to wrap up a day of exploration, make sure to stop by this nationally-renowned independent bookstore to stock up on books for explorers! Famous for its nooks and maze like store, the building was formerly known as the Colburn House until being converted into a bookstore in 1985. A large (10,000 square feet) general bookstore with a large floor devoted to children, the family-owned store fosters browsing and discovery. 

Continue to use #ExploreTheShires in your social posts so we can follow along as you explore (and be entered to win free giveaways!)