Winter Things to Do in Central Vermont

A Winter Vacation in Central Vermont

In the winter, central Vermont’s historic downtowns are frosted with snow and the outdoor terrain comes alive with sledders, skiers, ice skaters, snowshoers, and ramblers. Join them or plan a cozy winter vacation indoors at central Vermont’s many cultural and heritage stops.

Outdoor Activities

Fayston’s Mad River Glen (ski it if you can.) is home to the famous single chair lift. Skiers love it for its indie resort status and its focus on skiing over riding. Skiers and riders will both find the goods at Warren’s Sugarbush Resort, where two mountains, Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen, offer a wide variety of terrain and experiences. Find 2,600 feet of skiable vertical at Mt. Ellen (the third longest skiable drop in the state) and 2,000 acres of backcountry solitude at Slide Brook Basin.

Bolton Valley Resort offers night skiing starting at 4 p.m. – catch a sunset from the top of the slopes and keep shredding until 10 p.m.  On Friday nights, ski under bright lights until 8 p.m. at Richmond’s Cochrans Ski Area. Further south, point yourself right into fresh powder uphill or down at Woodstock’s Saskadena Six, which also offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking. Generations of family skiers have honed their turns at Middlebury College’s Snow Bowl.

If Nordic skiing is more your thing, Bolton Valley Resort offers that too, with 15 kilometers of groomed trails and a total of 100 kilometers of cross-country adventure. Ripton’s Rikert Nordic Center boasts more than 55 kilometers of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking trails. Read more about winter adventures there. The The “TAM” (Trail Around Middlebury) is another cross-country spot and its terrain also beckons snowshoers. The Woodstock Nordic Center’s more than 45 acres of groomed trails appeal to both skate and cross-country skiers. In Warren, find Ole’s, offering trails for all skills and ability levels, including a new trail that explores the Warren Pinnacle.

For more information and planning inspiration for a ski or ride Vermont vacation, visit Ski Vermont.

Ramble – a cross between a hike and a walk – on Montpelier’s North Branch Trails. Explore the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail to better get to know the one-time U.S. Poet Laureate.

Woodstock’s Aqueduct Trails network is a great spot for adventuring on two fat tires, or those setting out on cross-country skis and snowshoes. Use these resources to plan your Vermont fat biking adventure.

Looking for a singularly Vermont outdoor adventure? Trace the edge of Lake Morey under open winter skies on skates at Lake Morey Resort’s 4.3-mile outdoor ice skating trail, the longest such skating trail in the country.

Families can enjoy time outside while learning more about Vermont’s wildlife and ecosystems at Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee, which rescues raptors (wild predator birds) and seeks to educate the public about their role in the food chain. While you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon! Quechee Gorge is a gut-dropping 165-foot natural wonder.

In nearby Woodstock, Billings Farm lets visitors explore livestock barns, a museum of Vermont history, and the roots of a working farm. Buy Vermont products made there to enjoy later.

Indoor Activities

Central Vermont is a cornucopia of arts, culture and local food and craft beverages.

Simon Pearce’s Mill restaurant has been voted one of the most romantic restaurants in America by TripAdvisor. With the Ottauquechee river as your backdrop, explore downtown Woodstock and discover the restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts that set it apart, like the Woodstocker B&B. While there, sip finely distilled pours at Vermont Spirits.

In the Mad River Valley, discover local samplings at Mad River Taste Place, a carefully curated cooperative stacked with flavor.

Kids will love exploring the interactive exhibits at Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, a childhood tradition for both Vermonters and visitors. While you’re in the neighborhood, head to King Arthur Baking Company, a well-established baking school, supplies company, and restaurant.

Heading north, Vermont’s capital, historic downtown Montpelier, is home to many of the stories of Vermont’s beginnings. Though it closes for the month of January, Vermont History Museum showcases the Green Mountain State’s roots. The Vermont Statehouse is open for self-guided tours to learn about the state’s government. Nearby North Branch Nature Center seeks to connect visitors with the ecosystems that help Vermont thrive.

It’s never too cold for a classic Vermont maple creemee (creemee is Vermont slang for extra creamy soft serve ice cream). Sample one at Bragg Farm Sugarhouse or Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks and learn what goes into making pure Vermont maple syrup.

There’s a lot to discover in central Vermont. As you plan your trip, explore the whole region’s offerings.