Stone Valley

Two people ride mountain bikes toward the camera across a mossy forest trail.
A group of musicians play music together on the porch of a historic stone house.

Stone Valley

Much like the prized marble and slate that’s been dug from its soil over the decades, the Stone Valley is a treasure lying below the surface. It lies at the narrow, quieter southern end of Lake Champlain, and sits on the outskirts of the lofty northern Green Mountains. With its off-the-beaten-track location, the Stone Valley is as much a discovery as a destination. But in fact, one doesn’t have to dig deep into this pocket of southwestern Vermont to uncover its appeal.

Two of the Stone Valley’s biggest draws can be found in its great outdoors. Here is where to tackle the Northeast’s largest ski area, Killington, which keeps the sporty crowd happy all year round with its bike park, golf course, and adventure center. Meanwhile, anglers drop their lines for bass, perch, and northern pike in Lake Bomoseen, the biggest lake completely within the state’s borders. Whether skiing or fishing, hiking or biking, today’s outdoor adventurers are following in the footsteps of early tourists who “took the waters” at Middletown Springs in the 19th century, and vacationed (like President Eisenhower) at Chittenden’s Mountain Top Resort, still a favorite getaway.

The mountains and hills that host the Stone Valley’s four-season recreation scene also provided the raw material that gave the region its name. Quarries here have yielded marble for the U.S. Supreme Court, the United Nations headquarters in New York, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. And for generations, slate from the hills around Fair Haven has been crafted into fine, durable roofing. A vision of the heyday of Stone Valley quarrying awaits in Proctor, where sidewalks and even a bridge are made of snowy-white marble. Set on Main Street is the Vermont Marble Museum, which invites visitors to explore marble’s vast range of colors and patterns, learn about Vermont marble’s worldwide fame, and watch an expert carver at work.

The city of Rutland is the Stone Valley’s busy center. Its walkable downtown is dotted with locally owned brewpubs, sidewalk cafés, and restaurants that include Roots, an upscale farm-to-table destination, and zesty international eateries like Taco Fresco and Masala Corner. Among the standouts of the city’s arts and culture scene are the splendidly restored Paramount Theater, a 1914 movie palace repurposed as a performing arts venue, and the Chaffee Art Center, a rambling Victorian mansion whose galleries showcase works by Vermont artists.

Not all of Rutland’s art is indoors, as a stroll around downtown quickly reveals. This is a city of murals, more than two dozen in all, that turn up everywhere from lively Merchants Row to quiet back alleys. In one mural, Batman appears to burst through a brick wall. In another, three tropical fish swim across the side of the Art Deco–style Service Building, a seven-story mini skyscraper that was once the tallest in Vermont. Scattered about the city, too, are sculptures of notable locals, such as ski champion Andrea Mead Lawrence and Martin Henry Freeman, the nation’s first Black college president.

The only thing more abundant than local art may be local food, as one of the oldest and largest farmers markets in Vermont makes its home here. From May to October, the Vermont Farmers Market and Rutland County Farmers Market combine forces in the heart of downtown, offering everything from hemp-infused honey to heirloom vegetables. Often with live music and always with a warm welcome, it’s an essential Stone Valley experience for visitors of all ages to share in.