Four Seasons of Fun: Things to Do in Wilmington VT

Nestled in the picturesque heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, Wilmington stands as an inviting haven for travelers seeking a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and small-town charm. Here, we invite you to explore the enchanting array of things to do in Wilmington, VT.

Yes, the old skier’s favorite, Poncho’s Wreck is no more, but Adam’s Farm (and those classic Winter Sleigh Rides) are going strong. And so are Mount Snow and Haystack ski resorts. So come to ski, certainly. But stay to shop, eat, and experience a town that has risen from the flood.

Where Is Wilmington VT?

Wilmington, Vermont, is a charming town located in the southern part of the state, nestled within the stunning Green Mountains. Situated roughly 30 miles west of Brattleboro VT and about 40 miles east of Bennington VT, Wilmington enjoys a strategic location that places it between two prominent Vermont destinations.

This idyllic town is known for its scenic beauty, with the Deerfield River meandering through its heart and the Green Mountain National Forest surrounding it, making it an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Wilmington’s proximity to Brattleboro and Bennington allows visitors to explore the unique cultural offerings, shopping districts, and outdoor activities in these nearby towns while still enjoying the peaceful serenity of Wilmington’s natural landscapes.

Looking for more weekend getaway ideas? Check out our list of romantic getaways in New England.

Best Things to Do in Wilmington VT

Vermont Welcome Center, I-91

START: Vermont Visitor’s Center on I-91

Get your bearings, and grab a free cup of Green Mountain coffee at this extremely friendly State Visitor’s Center. Helpful staff will point you in the direction of their favorite back-roads ambles.

Maple Syrup at Vermont Maple Museum Gift Shop, Wilmington VT

STOP: Vermont Maple Museum – Marlboro VT

On Route 9 about 4 miles from Wilmington VT, this Gift Shop has been here since 1948. It’s not much in the way of a museum. But you can purchase all kinds of Vermont maple products and meet the owner who’s been here for 38 years. A real pip.

Hogback Mountain Overlook and Giftshop, Marlboro VT

VISIT: Southern Vermont Natural History Museum – Marlboro VT

Most people confuse this attraction with the Gift Shop attached to the Hogback Mountain Overlook (on Route 9).

But make no mistake. Stopping here is well worth your time. Why? This long, low-slung building not only houses a small Natural History Museum replete with both mounted and live animals, but it’s also the Tasting Room for Metcalfe’s Vermont Distillers.

Metcalfe's Vermont Distillers Liqueurs, Hogback Mountain Gift Shop, Marlboro VT

Adults will want to start at the tasting table, where you’ll get tiny free samples of some of the best liqueurs in the country.

A distillery rarely focuses on these sweet beverages. But Ed Metcalfe’s Vermont Distillers does them well, especially the favorite Maple Cream (which puts Bailey’s to shame). And the Raspberry Liqueur.

Recently renovated inside of a gutted roadside inn, you’ll access the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum through the gift shop and walk through a long enclosed hallway to get to the slew of live reptiles, birds, and waterfowl- both alive and stuffed.

Metcalfe’s Booze and Birds

In 1996, Ed Metcalfe purchased a collection of 250 mounted animals assembled by Lumen Ranger Nelson in the 1920s and 30’s. He then added his own, accumulating over 650 taxidermied creatures representing 220 species.

Owl, Southern Vermont Natural History Museum, Marlboro VT

One of the coolest aspects of this collection is a focus on albino animals; “red” fox, deer, squirrel, porcupine, woodchuck – and even a live albino California King Snake.

Though some visitors might be happy seeing dead animals in glass cases, most come to gaze at rescued birds. Among them are several species of owl, a Red Tail Hawk, two Bald Eagles, and a very friendly American Kestrel who, imprinted on a human, thinks he’s one of us.

*Morrow passed away in June ’19 from natural causes. His gallery remains open.

Though a cartoonist since he was 22 (when he first saw someone laugh at one of his drawings), Skip Morrow’s claim to fame was his very first book, published in 1980. I Hate Cats became a New York Times Best Seller.

You can get a gander at his work in a gallery off a dirt road, humorously named “Not-A-Road,” just outside of downtown Wilmington. Morrow was a gentle man who poked gentle fun at everything, from religion to politics.

Art of Humor Gallery, Wilmington VT

Morrow’s art fills the walls of several rooms on two floors. Though you might have planned to stop in for a few minutes, the cartoons – sort of Mad Magazine meets the New Yorker – drag you in and keep you entertained for much longer.

The Art of Humor Gallery is “self-guided.” However, it’s outfitted with “Help” buttons if you require assistance.

The Art of Humor Gallery is one of 10 quirky-romantic places to propose in Vermont.

DO: Zoar Adventure Center

In winter, rent your X-Country skis or snowshoes here. In summer, it’s time to kayak. Zoar staff will drive you to a great put-in spot. Right across from the Wilmington Inn, you can just walk over. Or, better yet, someone from Zoar will come to the Inn and personally fit you into the proper x-country ski boots.

Vermont Bowl Company, Wilmington VT

SHOP: Vermont Bowl

John McLeod ran a heating and plumbing company in Scotland before moving to, and “falling in love with,” Vermont in 1967. He borrowed $200 to set up a woodworking shop and managed to turn his hobby into a big business.

You’ll most likely recognize McLeod’s designs. His first, a sturdy wood salad bowl that flares out at the top, was sold through Dansk. Subsequent bowl designs are now available at Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, and of course, here at their source. The spotted “Ambrosia Maple” bowls are particularly unique and beautiful.

Norton House, A Quilters Paradise, Wilmington VT

SHOP: Norton House Quilting, “A Quilters Paradise”

This quilter’s mecca occupies a 1760 home that was moved, by oxcart, to this riverside location in the 1830’s. Quilters have been coming here from all over the country for nigh on 50 years.

During the hurricane, water rose to the ceiling rafters, and all inventory had to be tossed due to mold. But the original wide 1760 wooden floors were preserved, if now a bit warped.

Antiquarian Bookstore, Wilmington VT

SHOP: Austin’s Antiquarian Books

This used book-shop focuses on Natural History and Sportfishing. It also happens to encompass the largest stock of Theodore Roosevelt letters and documents in one place.

One, a sad letter from Roosevelt to his friend Arthur Lee, a member of the British Parliament, informed Lee that his (Roosevelt’s) son had died in combat during WWI.

The oldest artifacts include a 1613 framed botanical print ($3,500), and the 1768 “Present State of the British Empire in Europe and America,” printed when our country was still a British colony.

Bartleby's Books, Wilmington VT

SHOP: Bartleby’s Book Store

A great indie bookstore. This is the perfect place to buy an actual paper book to read by a roaring fireplace.

Wilmington VT Restaurants

Wilmington VT Roadhouse

EAT: Roadhouse Restaurant

Who’d have thought they’d hear the words “Roadhouse” and innovative cuisine in the same sentence? Yet, this rustic-fine Vermont restaurant, near Mount Snow, delivers. Food is fresh, and most traditional, but, yes, there are items on the menu for adventurous taste buds.

Dot's Restaurant Wilmington VT

EAT: Locals Love

Dot’s for breakfast (chili omelets!). Folly (small, upscale, in a refurbished home). The Village Roost (coffee, baked goods, sandwiches). And The Anchor Seafood Restaurant (seafood, tasty broth-like chowder).

Where to Stay in Wilmington VT

Approach to Wilmington Inn and Tavern, Wilmington VT

STAY: Wilmington Inn – Wilmington VT

This rambling white antique farmhouse sits up on a hill on the edge of town just beyond the shops, and across from the modest river that became a deathly torrent when Hurricane Irene blew through.

Its tidy, eclectically well-dressed interior isn’t what you’d expect from a country inn – not a doll, doily, or floral bedspread to be found.

Built by carriage-maker, Joseph Courtemanche, in 1894, the Wilmington Inn became a lodging in the 1950’s. As of February 2017, the new owners are Megan and Charlie Foster.

Front Parlor, Wilmington Inn and Tavern, Wilmington VT

About seven miles from Mount Snow, the Wilmington Inn tends to draw people who want to ski in the morning and do other things, like shop and explore the town, in the afternoon.

Guest rooms sport deeply-hued walls and just enough eclectic furniture. Mine, the Wilmington, encompassed a country-cupboard armoire, art-deco leather chair, wood chest, flat screen TV, and a modified sleigh bed clad in a soft and cloud-like white duvet, lending the whole large room a  contemporary air. The bathroom, featuring a Jacuzzi bath/shower, is clean and roomy.

Cast Iron Breakfast, The Wilmington Inn and Tavern, Wilmington VT

Breakfast is the star here; gourmet fine, hearty and fresh. Though you can order several things from the menu, including Pancakes and Belgian Waffles, opt for the signature “Cast Iron Frittata of the Day,” which comes piping hot still in the pan. Divine.


  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine,, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.