Vermont is a year-round destination from maple syrup production in the spring to beautiful foliage in the fall. Brattleboro is a small town in Southern Vermont – and it is pretty magical. It feels isolated from the hustle and bustle of the world and has such a relaxed vibe with a true neighborhood feel. Visiting a local shop here is like seeing an old friend. The people in town are genuine and passionate – they have turned their passion into work and it shows. I was overwhelmed with the sense of community in Brattleboro, and it was easy to relax and fall in love with Vermont.
Now that I have given you a sense of the vibe, let me paint you a picture of this gorgeous town! Downtown is vibrant and lively, lined exclusively with locally owned shops, breweries, and restaurants. Best of all, it is incredibly walkable! Venture out of downtown and you will find picturesque covered bridges, local community farms, and miles of hiking trails.
I have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Brattleboro or our trip please send me an email!
We stayed at the Latchis Hotel, centrally located in the middle of Downtown Brattleboro. Walking into this Art Deco hotel is like taking a step back in time. The decor is quirky, the vibe is retro, the staff is welcoming and I loved every minute of it! There is history at the Latchis Hotel dating back to the 1930s, and the charm is strong as ever. The Latchis Hotel is also home to an in-house multi-screen cinema adorned with gorgeous murals of Greek deities, adding a stunning element to your theater experience.
We stayed in the Gotham Suite, which I would highly recommend for families. The Gotham Suite has two bedrooms that are connected by a sitting room. One room has a queen bed, the other has two twin beds. All three rooms have great views of downtown. My personal favorite is being able to hear the train nearby, it only added to the retro aspect!
Harris Hill Ski Jump – Since 1922 visitors and locals alike can experience the Olympic sport of ski jumping up close. This long-standing, two-day Brattleboro tradition is held on an Olympic-size, 90-meter hill, Harris Hill! While this is a winter sport, Harris Hill Ski Jump is worth visiting year round. It is a bizarre and amazing sight to see a ski-jump of this size without snow. Hike up to the top or climb the 209 stairs (we went up the stairs) and witness the view from the top. All I can say is, that sport is for the brave!
West Dummerston Covered Bridge – At 280 feet, West Dummerston is the longest covered bridge in the state of Vermont. Built in 1872, this bridge is not only historic – but it is picturesque and peaceful. The sound of the river mixed with the fall leaves really sets a tone for the area. Bonus – it is a perfect area for kids to play. If you walk down the beach area kids can skip stones and play on the beach area (we could have spent half a day here).
Retreat Farm – An icon of Brattleboro, Retreat Farm is an oasis for all things outdoors. It encompasses 500 acres of conserved forests, farmlands, trails, and waterways. They are on a mission to connect people to the land and to nourish the community. Stop by and visit Carlos the Ox – he is a beautiful long time resident here. Just up the hill from Carlos you can find a forest playground that will ignite your child’s imagination. The farm itself is beautiful, a quintessential red barn welcomes you, there is a storybook walk, animals, flowers and veggies, and everyone is welcome. It is hard not to feel at home instantly, and the staff are so kind and knowledgable.
Grafton Village Cheese – Located next to Retreat Farm, Grafton Village Cheese is a must stop! Here you can sample and purchase traditional Vermont cheeses made just down the road. The staff was generous and more than willing to chat about cheese and offer you all the samples you wanted – and then some! I think it is safe to say, this is the best cheese I have ever had! The store itself carries local products (there is that community support again!) from jams to maple syrup and everything in between.
The Latchis Theatre – Located within the Latchis Hotel, the Latchis Theater is a great option when visiting Brattleboro. We had a private showing in the theater, and were able to select any movie to play. The picture quality was fantastic, the popcorn was buttered, and we had an amazing time. It was something my kiddos will not stop talking about, you too can book your own private viewing on their website (go ahead and win the best parent of the year award for your kids!). If a private showing is not for you, be sure to plan dinner and a movie to see one of the current new releases in the evening!
Tierra Botanics – You all know how much I love my plants, so visiting the perfectly curated plant shop – Tierra Botanics – was a little slice of paradise for me! Our visit was lovely, everything is very zen here and the collection is outstanding – everything from easy care plants to rare tropics. Our girls visited the terrarium bar and had a great time creating their very own one-of-a-kind terrarium! The owner was so kind and patient with my girls and if we weren’t flying home I would have left with many new additions.
Beadniks – This was by far one of our most unique stops in Brattleboro. The store itself is beautiful, very calming and filled with beads of all shapes, sizes, and colors (step inside and try not to immediately want to craft something). Walk to the back of Beadniks and find the children’s area with a bathtub full of wooden beads and let you child create a masterpiece necklace or bracelet. I love that this store is inclusive of children.
The real gem is Brian, the man who created this store from a love of beads at a young age. His fascination became his work, and his passion shines. In the basement of the store you can find his personal collection which is essentially a museum of rare and ancient beads. I can say firsthand that I learned so much and had a whole new world opened up to me. I encourage you to visit his non-profit research and learning center, The Lost Foundation.
Fire Arts Vermont – If you have never seen the art of glass blowing in action – you need to visit Fire Arts Vermont. Here you can find a gallery of hot glass and cool clay from a collaboration between Randi Solin and Natalie Blake, each successful artists for over 25 years. On Monday, Thursday and Friday you can join them for live glassblowing. The artists working are so enthusiastic and passionate (an infectious theme here in Brattleboro) that they talked us through everything they were doing, and answered every question my 5 and 7 year old could at them. And who am I kidding, I asked just as many questions! We were able to watch two gorgeous vases created, it is such a therapeutic art that none of us wanted to leave! It is also super warm in the room, making it feel so cozy. Upon your visit, check out the bathroom – by far the most beautiful bathroom I have ever seen.. I mean it!
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center – Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is a non-collecting contemporary art museum located next to the Connecticut River in Brattleboro. Their mission is to inspire, inform, and connect people from all walks of life. Mission accomplished, I say! We had an immersive tour, where my girls were challenged to share their own interpretations of art and learn that people all see things differently. We had an incredible visit that ended with a craft to go alone with one of the immersive arts, a true highlight of our trip!
River Gallery School of Art – Imagine a haven for children to create and express themselves without boundaries. The River Gallery School of Art is just that, and I wish we had something similar in our town. I have never seen an art school that truly lets the kids lead. Upon arrival, children are encouraged to draw or color, to start the creativity. After “warming up” they are then set loose un the studio, with the option to pick a room and project. These projects range from sketching, watercolors, clay, sculpting, and then a room purely dedicated to creating anything they could possible imagine. Needless to say, my kiddos picked the latter. They hot glued, sawed, hammered, bedazzled, and had the time of their lives. The class is 1.5 hours, and both were devastated to leave. Kudos to River Gallery School of Art – I wish more played embraced children’s creative processes!
Echo Restaurant – If you are in the mood for some brick-oven pizza or Italian food, Echo is the place for you! They are known for their creative pizzas, and for good reason. We had a delicious dinner here our first night and I was delighted by the Bee Sting – a gin cocktail with jalapeños, it was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy!
Hermit Thrush Brewery – I don’t even know where to begin with Hermit Thrush – we had the BEST time here! As I have mentioned, the businesses in Brattleboro have a passion for their craft, and this brewery is the embodiment of that statement. Fermenting since 2014 with only wild Brattleboro mixed culture yeast, Hermit Thrush is fueled by fueled by wood, not fossils – and only crafts makes sour beers. Yes, all sour all the time! If you have never had a sour beer, I encourage you to go there and try something new. If you have – stop by and try some truly remarkable brews, all with their own unique twist (and all DELICIOUS!). Sustainability is a core focus for Hermit Thrush Brewery, they are committed to protecting the environment. So – stop by, say “hi” to Nate for me, and bring the kiddos to play a great game called “Gravitas” – a fun rock stacking game invented by a local and handmade from quarried stones.
Amy’s Bakery Arts Cafe – Amy’s Bakery and Arts Cafe is an artisan bakery where everything is made from scratch using the finest ingredients. We stopped by one morning and fueled up on an avocado toast, quiche, and some delicious seasonal chai tea! Bring your food to the back room and enjoy a view of the Connecticut River surrounded by bright cheery wallpaper… Great start to our day! Oh and side note – order the grilled cheese… mmmmm.
Stone Church – Stone Church Supper Club was so kind to cater our lunch at Retreat Farm! While we did not visit the church, I have heard amazing things about the architecture and structure. The church has an amazing supper club, not to mention a full calendar of events and live music!
Brattleboro Food Co-Op – The Brattleboro Food Co-op is community-owned, with over 8,000 active shareholders. They are a grocery store supporting local farmers and an amazing place to grab some lunch! With a full service deli , pizza, and hot meals – you are sure to find something you love. The staff here were very accommodating and the sandwich was delicious!
Fire Arts Bakery and Cafe – Previously an accomplished glass blower, Lucy is now a talented baker! Fire Arts Bakery and Cafe curates sweet and savory pastries and breads – I felt as if I was transported to France! Our kids enjoyed the ham and cheese croissants, while I was treated to a delicious cinnamon twirl and chai tea. I also had the best pastry that was the perfect mix of sweet and salty but cannot remember the name (shown below). Grab a seat at the bar and mingle with the locals, we met the sweetest man whom we chatted with for over an hour. This is a place to relax and unwind – the perfect start to your morning! This is located next door to Fire Arts Vermont (the perfect morning duo!).
Tine – Tine is a a farm to table casual fine dining restaurant in Brattleboro, sourcing from local growers, foragers, and artisans as much as possible. The staff here was remarkable, and went above and beyond for our family. You can tell they really want you to enjoy your dining experience, and we had the best evening. You cannot go wrong with anything you order, but whatever you choose – make sure you get one of their scratch made biscuits with apple butter. I am drooling just thinking about it…
Whetstone Station Brewery – If you are in the mood for some great local brews and a fun atmosphere – Whetstone Station Brewery is the spot for you! Let me cut to the chase, this was an exciting place to visit purely because the New Hampshire and Vermont state line runs through the bar! Yes, you can drink a beer in both states at once, something I thought was pretty darn cool. Go in the evenings and sit outside for a sunset dinner next to the Connecticut River… you can’t beat it!
The Works Cafe – The Works Cafe is another great local spot for food that support local suppliers and buys sustainable products. Their founding principle is good food for great people and a better planet. This is a great place to enjoy meal you can feel good about, both for the plant and your body. They make artisan sandwiches, and I would also recommend their salads – delicious!
Until next time…