How to See Vermont’s Upper Valley?

Vermont’s Upper Valley, nestled between Norwich and Woodstock, offers a delightful blend of picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and local hospitality. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie seeking local delights, or simply looking to unwind in a serene setting, this guide will help you navigate through the best experiences the region has to offer.

Getting Started: Planning Your Trip

I am planning for a trip to New Hemisphere/ Vermont for fall foliage on 1st  of October 2023. What locations I should target to get the best views? -  Quora

When to Visit

Vermont’s Upper Valley experiences distinct seasons, each offering its own appeal:

  • Spring: From late March to May, spring brings blooming flowers, budding trees, and vibrant green landscapes. It’s an ideal time for hiking, as trails begin to thaw and nature comes to life.
  • Summer: June through August offers warm temperatures perfect for outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and biking. The days are long, allowing ample time for exploring the region’s natural beauty and attending local festivals.
  • Fall: September to November is peak foliage season, when Vermont’s hillsides transform into a breathtaking tapestry of red, orange, and gold. It’s a photographer’s paradise and a great time for scenic drives, apple picking, and hiking amidst the colorful forests.
  • Winter: December to February brings snow-covered landscapes, making it ideal for skiing, snowboarding, and cozying up by the fire. The Upper Valley offers numerous winter sports opportunities, from downhill skiing at resorts to cross-country skiing on scenic trails.

Accommodation Options

Choosing where to stay in the Upper Valley depends on your preference for experience and comfort:

  • Farm Stays: For a unique and immersive experience, consider staying at places like Fat Sheep Farm & Cabins in Hartland. These offer cozy cabins with rustic charm and often include hands-on farm activities like collecting fresh eggs or participating in cheese-making workshops.
  • Inns and Resorts: If you prefer more traditional accommodation with luxury amenities, historic inns such as the Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock provide comfort, fine dining, and access to recreational facilities.

Planning Activities

Once you’ve decided on the timing and accommodation, plan your activities based on your interests:

  • Outdoor Adventures: Depending on the season, explore hiking trails, go kayaking on the Connecticut River, or enjoy scenic drives to viewpoints overlooking the valley.
  • Culinary Delights: Vermont is renowned for its farm-to-table dining. Plan to visit local restaurants and cafes that emphasize locally sourced ingredients. Attend food festivals or visit bakeries like King Arthur Baking in Norwich for delicious treats and baking supplies.
  • Cultural Exploration: Discover the region’s history and arts scene by visiting museums, galleries, and historical sites. Engage with local artisans and craftsmen who showcase their work in studios and shops throughout the Upper Valley.

Practical Considerations

  • Transportation: Renting a car provides flexibility to explore the region at your own pace, especially if you plan to visit multiple towns and attractions. Alternatively, consider using local bus services or taxis for shorter distances.
  • Packing Essentials: Pack according to the season, including layers for variable weather conditions. Comfortable footwear is essential for exploring outdoor trails and walking around town.
  • Local Etiquette: Embrace Vermont’s laid-back culture by respecting local customs and engaging with residents respectfully. Support the community by shopping at local stores and dining at independent restaurants, which often showcase the region’s culinary diversity.

Must-Visit Destinations

Woodstock: Quintessential Vermont Charm

The Best Things to Do in Woodstock,Vermont in the Fall - Casual Travelist

Woodstock serves as a gateway to the Upper Valley, offering a quintessential New England experience with its:

  • Yankee Bookshop: Established in 1935, this independent bookstore is a beloved spot for book enthusiasts. Browse through a wide selection of books while soaking in the cozy atmosphere.
  • Billings Farm & Museum: Immerse yourself in Vermont’s rural heritage at this working dairy farm and museum. Learn about historic farming practices, interact with farm animals, and explore exhibits that showcase the region’s agricultural history.
  • Local Eateries: Indulge in artisanal dishes at restaurants like Santé, known for its farm-to-table menu emphasizing locally sourced ingredients. While Mangalitsa, currently under renovation, is famous for its gourmet offerings centered around the Mangalitsa breed of pig.

Norwich: Home of King Arthur Baking

Norwich offers a delightful blend of culinary delights and outdoor activities:

  • King Arthur Baking: Visit the renowned King Arthur Flour campus, a mecca for bakers and pastry enthusiasts. Explore the bakery’s store offering baking supplies, gadgets, and freshly baked goods. Attend baking classes or demonstrations to hone your culinary skills.
  • Outdoor Activities: Enjoy outdoor adventures such as hiking on nearby trails or kayaking on the Connecticut River. Norwich provides access to scenic natural landscapes and recreational opportunities.

White River Junction: Revitalized Hub

White River Junction has transformed into a cultural and culinary hub in recent years:

  • Piecemeal Pies: Delight in British-inspired savory pies at Piecemeal Pies, crafted by Justin Barrett, a former architecture student turned chef. From classic meat pies to innovative vegetarian options, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
  • Cultural Hub: Explore local shops like Gear Again, a quintessential Vermont consignment store specializing in outdoor clothing and equipment. Enjoy a meal at Trail Break Taps & Tacos, offering a fusion of craft beer and tacos in a relaxed atmosphere.

Brownsville: Community-Driven Businesses

Brownsville exemplifies community spirit and local entrepreneurship:

  • Brownsville Butcher & Pantry: Experience the warmth of community at this local butcher shop and pantry. Enjoy locally sourced meats and pastries, and participate in their occasional “supper club” nights, which have become a local institution.
  • Supper Club Nights: Attend special dining events where locals gather to enjoy delicious meals made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. These events highlight the region’s culinary diversity and community engagement.

Unique Experiences

Scenic Drives in the Upper Valley | Housing Solutions Real Estate

Culinary Delights

Vermont’s Upper Valley is renowned for its farm-to-table dining and culinary traditions:

  • Local Food Festivals: Participate in local food festivals celebrating Vermont’s agricultural heritage. These events showcase fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and locally crafted beverages.
  • Farm-to-Table Dining: Indulge in meals made from locally sourced ingredients at restaurants like Santé in Woodstock. Enjoy dishes that highlight the region’s seasonal flavors and support sustainable farming practices.
  • King Arthur Baking: Visit the campus in Norwich to explore the legendary King Arthur Flour store. Stock up on baking supplies, attend baking classes, and sample delicious treats made fresh on-site.

Outdoor Adventures

Embrace Vermont’s natural beauty with outdoor activities suitable for all seasons:

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: During winter, visit the Nordic Center of the Woodstock Inn for cross-country skiing or head to nearby ski resorts for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
  • Hiking and Biking Trails: Explore scenic trails that wind through forests, along rivers, and offer breathtaking views of the valley. Trails cater to all skill levels, making them perfect for both leisurely walks and challenging hikes.

Cultural Immersion

Discover the region’s rich cultural heritage and artistic offerings:

  • Local Artisans: Visit galleries and workshops showcasing the work of local artists and craftsmen. From pottery and jewelry to paintings and sculptures, these artisans embody Vermont’s creative spirit.
  • Historical Sites: Explore museums and historical landmarks that provide insight into Vermont’s past. Learn about early settlers, Native American history, and the region’s role in shaping American agriculture and industry.

Unique Local Businesses

Engage with community-driven businesses that define Vermont’s Upper Valley:

  • Kiss the Cow Farm: Experience the honor-system ice cream shop where you can enjoy delicious ice cream made from local ingredients. This unique spot embodies Vermont’s laid-back charm and trust in its community.
  • South Woodstock Country Store: Stop by for a hearty breakfast sandwich or browse shelves stocked with locally made goods. The store’s cozy atmosphere and friendly service make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Tips for Travelers

How to See Vermont's Upper Valley

Transportation and Logistics

  • Car Rentals: Consider renting a car to explore the region at your own pace. Having a car allows you to visit multiple destinations, access remote trails, and take scenic drives through the countryside.
  • Local Transportation: While a car is convenient, local bus services and taxis are available for short-distance travel within towns like Woodstock, Norwich, and White River Junction. Some accommodations may offer shuttle services or bicycles for exploring nearby attractions.
  • Parking: When visiting popular attractions or downtown areas, check for available parking options. Some places may have designated parking areas or street parking with time limits.

Packing Essentials

  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Vermont experiences four distinct seasons. Pack accordingly with layers suitable for varying temperatures and weather conditions. Include waterproof gear, especially if you plan to engage in outdoor activities like hiking or skiing.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Bring sturdy shoes suitable for walking and hiking. Comfortable footwear is essential for exploring trails, navigating uneven terrain, and walking around town centers.
  • Camera and Binoculars: Capture the scenic beauty of Vermont’s landscapes, historic sites, and wildlife sightings. A camera with a good zoom lens and binoculars can enhance your experience, especially during outdoor excursions and birdwatching activities.

Local Etiquette

  • Support Local Businesses: Vermont’s Upper Valley prides itself on community spirit and local entrepreneurship. Support local stores, artisans, and restaurants by shopping for handmade crafts, dining at farm-to-table eateries, and attending local events and festivals.
  • Respect Nature: Practice responsible tourism by staying on designated trails, respecting wildlife habitats, and disposing of waste properly. Vermont’s natural beauty thrives on sustainable tourism practices that preserve the environment for future generations.

Cultural Immersion

  • Engage with Locals: Vermonters are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Strike up conversations with locals at cafes, shops, and cultural events. They can provide insider tips on hidden gems, local traditions, and upcoming events.
  • Attend Local Events: Check local event calendars for festivals, farmers’ markets, art exhibitions, and live performances. These events offer opportunities to immerse yourself in Vermont’s culture, music, food, and arts scene.

Safety and Health

  • Emergency Contacts: Familiarize yourself with local emergency services, including hospitals, clinics, and emergency contact numbers. Carry a list of emergency contacts and health insurance information.
  • Weather Updates: Vermont’s weather can change rapidly, especially in mountainous areas. Stay informed about weather forecasts and road conditions, especially during winter months when snow and ice may affect travel.


Exploring Vermont’s Upper Valley promises a unique blend of natural beauty, culinary delights, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, the region offers something for every traveler. Embrace the charm of small-town Vermont and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Plan your trip today and embark on a journey through Vermont’s Upper Valley that will leave you with lasting memories of serene landscapes, flavorful cuisine, and genuine hospitality