It might seem strange at the height of summer to begin thinking about fall. (I know the back-to-school ads begin way too soon!) But scheduling a fall getaway to Vermont during the very popular foliage season takes a lot of pre-planning. Rooms in hotels and inns book up very quickly, especially for the weekend dates.
The popularity of this time of year in Vermont isn’t just about the magnificent foliage and apple cider donuts! Fall festivals – the modern evolution of the traditional harvest festival – abound. These fall festivals include everything from old-fashioned country fairs to arts & crafts exhibits to craft brew expos. There is literally something for everyone. For an extensive listing of the fall festivals in Vermont, check out the Vermont.com’s Fall Festivals page.
Here’s a little sampling of what you will find in southern Vermont.
Festivals in Manchester
If you’re coming from New England or New York, southern Vermont is practically in your backyard. Why not plan a getaway to Manchester for the Manchester Arts & Crafts Festival (9/29-10/1)? Exhibits include pottery, jewelry, clothing and so much more. These are not the crafts you find at a local church fair; these are magnificent works of art created by extremely talented artisans. Or you might be more interested in Antiques at Stratton (9/29-30) held at nearby Stratton Mountain. For something totally different, consider the ITVFest in Manchester (10/11-15). ITVFest is the original public festival and creative network of the world’s best independent TV pilots and webseries. Although there will be entertainment industry folks in attendance, you will also find those who just love TV as a creative art form.
Lodging choices in Manchester include everything from the luxurious boutique hotels like the Kimpton Taconic to historic inns like the Wilburton Inn to the family-friendly, newly-opened Hampton Inn & Suites. Dining choices are extensive and outdoor activities are many and varied.
Food-Lovers Festivals in Southern Vermont
Food lovers (as well as cooks) will love the Bennington Garlic & Herb Festival (9/2-3). Taste garlic delicacies, buy garlic, and enjoy live entertainment. You won’t believe how much fun garlic can be. In the southeast corner of the state is Brattleboro, Vermont, and the Brattleboro Bacon Festival (9/9)! If you like bacon and love to eat, you need to put this festival on your schedule.
Oktoberfest in Vermont
The craft brewers of Vermont embrace the tradition of Oktoberfest and offer you a chance to sample their unique brews at a number of festivals during the fall. Choose from the Mt. Snow Brewers’ Festival in W. Dover (9/2-3), Bennington Octoberfest (10/8), Columbus Day Weekend & Harvest Fest at Stratton (10/7-9), and the Annual Mt. Snow Octoberfest at Mt. Snow in W. Dover (10/7-8). If wine is more to your taste, you might decide to take in Vermont Wine & Harvest Festival (9/23) at Mt. Snow Resort in W. Dover instead.
For accommodations in Brattleboro, opt for a traditional hotel or get outside the city and find a quaint country inn like The Grafton Inn in Grafton. There are a number of inns near the ski resorts of Stratton and Mt. Snow also. Dining choices in southern Vermont offer fine dining, brew pubs, and eclectic restaurants.
The Peru Fair - Something for Everyone
For a festival that offers a little bit of everything – traditional harvest fair, arts & crafts expo, as well as food and entertainment – visit the Peru Fair (9/23) in Peru, Vermont. The main street of the village transforms into a pedestrian mall with booths offering food and crafts of all types. Throughout the day there is music, dancing, and a parade all culminating in the famous, outdoor pig roast. A good time for all!
Vermont.com is an excellent source for other events and activities, lodging or dining choices, or shopping opportunities. Play a round or two of golf, go for a hike, rent a bike for a ride along country roads. Focus your search by region and category.