When one thinks of winter in New England, many places come to mind, but none perhaps as quintessential as Vermont. The land of maple syrup, vast countryside, mountains, and snow for miles and miles beckons a winter wonderland. Some of New England’s biggest ski areas are in Vermont, and people from all over the East Coast head to this northern state to hit the slopes. We recently went on a ski trip and stayed with friends in the adorable town of Wilmington, in the county of Windham in Southern Vermont.
Wilmington in Winter
Wilmington is everything I love about New England – 18th and 19th century brick and carpenter style Gothic buildings, charmingly settled along a river; a classic main street with pubs, farm houses, antique stores and restaurants still outfitted with their Christmas décor. Time seems to have stopped in Wilmington. Located in the Deerfield Valley of the Green Mountains High Country, it is said that Wilmington gets some of the highest snow-fall in the entire state. Snow-fall can vary in its neighboring towns, but in Wilmington, with its elevation, it is consistently heavy. Snow banks drift from one into the next, making local eateries and shops more picturesque than ever. The town almost looks like a wintertime movie set.
Though Wilmington is also a summer destination with all of its green country land and abundance of outdoor activity, there is something about visiting in the winter that makes it so appealing. The cutest of restaurants (Dot’s, Cask & Kiln Kitchen, The Anchor, Mangia e Beve to name a few) with their snow-banked entrances just beg you to come in and get a hot drink and a bite to eat. Quirky antique stores, cheese and maple syrup shops, hand-made jewelry boutiques, art galleries such as the popular The Art of Humor Gallery, and quaint inns are all there to wander about after a day of skiing or snow shoeing. The business owners are all very nice in a salt-of-the-earth kind of way; Wilmington is a town that feels genuine in so many ways.
Activities in and beyond Wilmington
Walking about town is a pleasure, but if you want to explore further out of “downtown” (Vermont is, after all, most known for its outdoor beauty, vast farmland, mountains and recreation), there are plenty of options. Mount Snow ski area is a 15-minute drive away, and a popular ski mountain with New Englanders. Wilmington is also home to Haystack Mountain which is owned and operated by The Hermitage Club, a private club; however, the Ice Skating Rink at the Hermitage is open to the public, should you fancy a skate about.
Adams Family Farm in Wilmington
The Adams Family Farm is one of Wilmington’s highlights – a family owned and operated farm since 1865, the farm is open year round with seasonal activities. Winter activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, which by all accounts are a fun and dreamy way to see the Vermont countryside; the Indoor Live Stock Barn, where you can see the farm animals brought inside for the wintertime; or visit their farm store in a renovated dairy barn and stock up on those cooking essentials. During the rest of the year, other activities include pony rides, wagon rides, fishing and more. Adams Family Farm is a beloved part of Wilmington, and a real-working family farm.
Harriman Reservoir, also known as Lake Whitingham, is technically in the town of nearby Whitingham, yet just 5 minutes away from Wilmington. A beautiful lake full of hiking trails and water activities in the summer months, however I did see people out and about on the lake this past weekend, perhaps ice fishing, a past time here. Regardless, it’s a scenic place to see in the wintertime, even for a drive, with its pristine wintertime landscape. Personally, I love driving around the New England countryside and mountains in the winter, as I’ve talked about before in our road trips through the Berkshires.
The fascinating thing about Harriman Reservoir, though, is not its beauty, but its history. The site of what is now the reservoir used to be an old logging village called Mountain Mills. In the 1920’s the New England Power Company deemed the Deerfield River, which makes its way throughout the area, the perfect place to build a dam and generate power. So they flooded Mountain Mills and built a hydroelectric lake called Harriman Reservoir. Homes and businesses had to be vacated, and three cemeteries had to be moved. Today, when water levels are low and clear, you can occasionally see remnants of tree trunks and old buildings, including a mill. How intriguing. Now you know when you look out onto the lake, there is an old village below it, a sign of an era long ago, a time passed.
Wilmington is a special little town, one that has beauty and character, and one I hope to visit again soon. I definitely recommend a stay or pass through.
Enjoy this post and want to save it or share with others? PIN IT!
Linking up with WANDERFUL WEDNESDAY and FARAWAY FILES
Charmed, I’m sure.
Gorgeous photos – looks such a beautiful place and I love the winter wonderland scenes! 🙂
Thanks Rosemary – we loved this little town and indeed it felt like a winter wonderland!
Awww what a gorgeous little place!!! I would love to visit Vermont in winter, it looks so charming!!
Based on what I’ve read in your blog so far I think you would love it!
Not my idea of fun, Corey, but I’d happily visit in Summer 🙂 🙂
That’s right, Jo, I forgot you hate snow! ;).
Love this! Nothing better than snowy picturesque towns filled with history! Pinned! #WanderfulWednesday
Aw, thanks – glad you enjoyed it!
To be fair you do winter properly. We’ve had no snow here and I almost crave a few metres of the white stuff.
I figure if it’s gonna be cold might as well have snow ;).
it looks like a town from a Hallmark channel Christmas movie:) love those cheesy movies:) #wanderfulwednesday
Oh me too – Lifetime too ;).
Always had a hankering to visit Vermont, would love to go in summer but winter looks so magical too! We need to start saving up!! To me this is just perfection and the amount of things to do sounds incredible. Who couldn’t love a place with a Haystack Mountain!
Thanks Joy! It really is such a perfect little winter town, I just loved it. If it’s going to be cold, it better be cozy 😉
Charming in the winter as well as the Autumn! New England perfection for me. #farawayfiles
Always great to find those places that are perfect year-round ;).
Oh look it’s New England packed up in one beautiful package. Amazing photos and I love the pops of colour against the snow. I’d love to visit there one day. Thanks for joining us on #farawayfiles
The pops of color against the snow were one of my favorite things about this town. So much snow and character :).
We love New England, but never seem to get there in the winter. A definite goal of ours is to see those snowy fields and quaint towns in their winter white. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! For many New England is a place to visit in the summer, and it is. But winter certainly offers its fair share of charm too ;).
I saw this photo of yours on Instagram and loved it. Wilmington sounds wonderful – the shops and cafes and I clicked through to The Art of Humor for a peek too. An inviting place, summer or winter.
Thanks Trish – yes, summer or winter. That’s the great thing about towns like these in New England – they really are year-round destinations. Enjoy the weekend!
Adorable Corey! I have been to Vermont many years ago and remember it’s charms. I love the old houses up there, so different from the West Coast where I grew up. Thank you for sharing this corner of the world with #FarawayFiles, Erin
Thanks Erin! Thought I replied to this already, but I was traveling when I did so maybe it didn’t go through. Obviously it didn’t.
We are proud to have converted 20 West Main Street after the flood devastated the area. The Village Roost Cafe & Marketplace offers non gmo/organic food and drink and we cater to dietery restrictions. Come see us for a great cup of coffee in a beautifully restored historic building.
We will for sure pay you a visit when we’re next in town, and I will pass along to my friends :).
Looking forward to meeting you! Check out our website http://www.villageroost.com
That’s my shed with the buoys!
What a special shed you have, Willow, I just love it!
Thank you I grew up in Wilmington, my brother Doug Baker still lives there, my sister Joyce Brooks also
Thanks so much for reading 🙂