Waterbury, Vermont is a charming town located in the heart of Vermont. It is home to breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and numerous attractions that cater to a wide range of interests.
Originally inhabited by Native American tribes, the area became settled by European colonists in the late 18th century. The town was officially chartered in 1763 and named after Waterbury, Connecticut.
Waterbury played a significant role in Vermont’s development during the 19th century. It became a thriving center for industry, particularly in the manufacturing of wooden goods and products such as chairs, barrels, and woodenware.
The nearby Winooski River provided ample waterpower for the mills and factories that dotted the landscape, driving the town’s economic growth.
One of Waterbury’s notable historic events occurred in 1927 when a devastating flood swept through the town, causing significant damage. However, the resilient spirit of the community led to the rebuilding and revitalization of Waterbury, shaping it into the welcoming and vibrant town it is today.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for a fun day out, Waterbury has something to offer everyone.
Check out the best things to do in Waterbury, VT:
Things to Do in Waterbury, VT
1. Visit the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
One of the most popular attractions in Waterbury is the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. The factory provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how Ben & Jerry’s famous ice cream is made.
Upon arrival, visitors are welcomed into the Visitor Center, where they can learn about the company’s history, values, and commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Engaging exhibits and displays showcase the creative and innovative process of crafting unique ice cream flavors.
After the tour, you can indulge in a scoop or two of their favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavors at the Scoop Shop. The Scoop Shop offers a wide range of delectable ice cream flavors, including classics and limited-edition options.
It’s the perfect opportunity to sample unique combinations and savor the rich and creamy goodness that Ben & Jerry’s is known for.
2. Explore the Waterbury Reservoir
The Waterbury Reservoir is a scenic body of water located in Waterbury, Vermont, USA. It is a man-made reservoir that was created as part of the Waterbury Dam project. The dam was constructed on the Little River, a tributary of the Winooski River, with the primary purpose of flood control.
The construction of the Waterbury Dam and Reservoir began in 1935 and was completed in 1938 as a response to devastating floods that had occurred in the region. The reservoir was designed to store water during heavy rainfall or snowmelt periods and release it gradually to prevent downstream flooding.
It’s worth noting that specific details about the Waterbury Reservoir’s management, recreational facilities, and access may change over time. It’s advisable to check with local authorities or visit the official website of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation for the most up-to-date information regarding the reservoir and its activities.
3. Hike in the Green Mountains
The Green Mountains are a popular hiking destination in Vermont, and Waterbury is the perfect starting point for exploring them. There are numerous trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. As you embark on a hike, you’ll find yourself immersed in nature’s beauty, surrounded by towering trees, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic vistas.
The trails cater to all skill levels, offering options for leisurely walks or challenging treks to mountain summits. Whether you’re hiking a section of the famed Appalachian Trail or exploring lesser-known paths, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and a sense of tranquility.
The Green Mountains also provide opportunities for camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities, allowing you to fully embrace the splendor of the region. As you navigate the trails, take in the crisp mountain air, listen to the gentle sounds of nature, and revel in the peaceful solitude that the Green Mountains offer.
4. Visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill
This charming family-owned cider mill has been delighting locals and visitors alike since 1974. When you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the inviting aroma of freshly pressed apples and the warm smiles of the friendly staff.
They take great pride in crafting their cider using traditional methods, pressing the apples right on-site to capture that crisp and refreshing flavor. Trust me, a sip of their freshly squeezed cider is like tasting the essence of Vermont.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill also offers an array of delectable treats and local products. From their irresistible apple cider donuts, made from scratch and dusted with cinnamon-sugar, to homemade fudge, maple syrup, and locally sourced Vermont cheeses, there’s something to satisfy every craving.
5. Go on a brewery tour
One popular brewery tour you can take in Waterbury, Vermont is the tour at the Alchemist Brewery. The Alchemist is known for its world-renowned Heady Topper IPA, and their brewery tour offers a fantastic opportunity to learn about its brewing process and sample its exceptional craft beers.
During the tour, you’ll get an inside look at their state-of-the-art facility and learn about the ingredients, brewing techniques, and the story behind their acclaimed beers.
Remember to check Alchemist Brewery’s website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on tour schedules, reservations, and any specific requirements or restrictions. Cheers to a memorable brewery tour experience in Waterbury, Vermont!
6. Learn about Vermont’s history
Waterbury is home to several historic sites that offer a glimpse into Vermont’s past. You can visit the Vermont History Museum, the Green Mountain Cultural Center, and the Little River Historical Society Museum.
While you visit these places you can learn about the history of Vermont. It has a captivating and diverse history that spans centuries. From its early days of Native American habitation to the present, the state has experienced significant milestones and played a unique role in American history.
In the 18th century, Vermont declared its independence from New York and New Hampshire, establishing the Vermont Republic.
This spirit of independence and resilience is exemplified by the famous Green Mountain Boys, a militia group led by Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, who played a crucial role in the American Revolutionary War.
Vermont’s journey continued with its admission as the 14th state in 1791, and it became known for its progressive stance on issues such as abolitionism, women’s suffrage, and environmental conservation.
Vermont’s history has shaped its identity as a place of resilience, innovation, and natural splendor, making it a unique and captivating destination for residents and visitors alike. So, make sure you set some time apart for these historic places and immerse yourself in some Vermont history.
7. Go skiing
If you’re in Waterbury looking to spend a day skiing, you’re in luck! Waterbury is conveniently located near several ski resorts in the Green Mountains, offering fantastic winter recreational opportunities. One popular ski destination near Waterbury is Stowe Mountain Resort, located about 13 miles northeast of the city.
You can spend the day gliding down the slopes, enjoying the exhilarating rush of skiing, and taking in the breathtaking mountain scenery. Most resorts also offer ski lessons for beginners or those looking to improve their skills, so you can take advantage of professional instruction if needed.
During your ski day, you can also take breaks to warm up and refuel at the resort’s cozy lodges or slope-side cafes. Grab a hot drink, indulge in a delicious meal, and recharge your energy before hitting the slopes again. Ski resorts often provide amenities like equipment rentals, ski shops, and comfortable facilities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
If you’re planning a day of skiing near Waterbury, you can typically rent all the necessary equipment at the resort or at nearby rental shops. These rental services make it convenient for visitors who don’t own their own equipment or prefer not to travel with it.
8. Attend a concert at the Rusty Nail
The Rusty Nail is a popular music venue in Waterbury that hosts concerts and other events throughout the year. When you attend an event at the Rusty Nail in Stowe, Vermont, you’ll be treated to a vibrant and eclectic music scene. The venue offers a diverse range of live music performances that cater to various tastes and genres.
From rock and blues to reggae, funk, and folk, the Rusty Nail presents a dynamic lineup of local and touring musicians throughout the year. Whether you’re a fan of high-energy rock bands, smooth jazz ensembles, or soulful singer-songwriters, there’s something for everyone at the Rusty Nail.
9. Visit the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Cafe
The Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Cafe is a great spot for coffee lovers. You can sample some of their delicious coffee and learn about the history of the company.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is dedicated to producing high-quality coffee. At their cafe, you can witness the art of coffee roasting firsthand. The aroma of freshly roasted beans fills the air as skilled roasters carefully monitor and roast the coffee to perfection.
The cafe offers a wide selection of coffees, including single-origin beans and various blends. You can explore different flavor profiles, roast levels, and brewing methods to find the perfect cup of coffee that suits your preferences. Whether you enjoy a bold espresso, a smooth medium roast, or a unique specialty blend, Green Mountain Coffee has something for everyone.
10. Take a scenic drive
When in Waterbury, Vermont, you’re in the perfect location to embark on a scenic drive and soak in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding area. One popular route to consider is the scenic drive along Route 100, which offers stunning vistas and a glimpse of Vermont’s picturesque landscapes.
As you journey along Route 100, you’ll encounter charming small towns, rolling hills, and panoramic views of the Green Mountains. The route takes you through quaint villages like Stowe and Waitsfield, where you can explore local shops, galleries, and restaurants that showcase Vermont’s vibrant culture.
Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the changing seasons’ splendor, from vibrant autumn foliage to snow-covered landscapes in winter. The scenic drive offers glimpses of tranquil rivers, sparkling lakes, and meandering country roads that epitomize Vermont’s natural beauty.
A scenic drive along Route 100 from Waterbury promises a visual feast of Vermont’s natural landscapes, charming towns, and outdoor pursuits. So hop in your car, roll down the windows, and let the beauty of Vermont unfold before your eyes as you embark on this unforgettable journey.
11. Visit the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum
The Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum not only showcases the present state of winter sports but also delves into the rich history that has shaped the region’s skiing and snowboarding culture. Vermont has long been considered a premier destination for winter sports enthusiasts, and its history in this realm is both fascinating and significant.
In the early 20th century, skiing began to gain popularity in Vermont as a recreational activity. The state’s abundant snowfall and picturesque landscapes provided the perfect setting for outdoor winter pursuits. Ski clubs and resorts started to emerge, drawing visitors from near and far.
One pivotal moment in Vermont’s ski history was the formation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. The CCC played a crucial role in building ski trails, constructing ski lodges, and promoting skiing as a means of boosting tourism and creating employment opportunities. These efforts laid the foundation for the development of Vermont’s ski industry.
12. Go on a bike ride
For mountain biking enthusiasts, the Perry Hill Trail Network just outside Waterbury is a must-visit destination. With a range of trails catering to different abilities, from smooth and flowing paths to more technical and challenging routes, riders can experience thrilling rides through wooded areas and rolling terrain.
If you’re looking for a more immersive nature experience, the Cotton Brook and Crosstown Trails in Little River State Park offer a fantastic opportunity. These interconnected trails wind through forests, meadows, and along the Little River, providing both scenic beauty and exhilarating mountain biking adventures.
Alternatively, Waterbury’s local roads and scenic byways offer a chance to explore the charming countryside on a road bike. Route 100 and the winding backroads provide idyllic routes for cyclists to enjoy the peacefulness of Vermont’s landscapes.
13. Attend a farmers’ market
Waterbury, Vermont is home to an amazing farmers market that will make your taste buds dance with joy! Get ready to embark on a delightful shopping adventure at the Waterbury Farmers Market, where the local community comes together to celebrate the region’s agricultural treasures.
Picture yourself strolling through the market, surrounded by vibrant colors and the irresistible aroma of fresh produce. From plump, juicy berries to heirloom tomatoes bursting with flavor, you’ll find an incredible selection of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables that will make your meals truly special.
These goodies are sourced directly from nearby farms, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the very best and supporting local agriculture at the same time.
So, bring your appetite, curiosity, and a sense of adventure to the Waterbury Farmers Market.
14. Visit the Green Mountain Club Visitor Center
Whether you’re interested in day hikes, long-distance treks along the iconic Long Trail, or simply learning more about the region’s flora, fauna, and history, the visitor center offers a wealth of resources to enrich your experience. You can browse exhibits and displays that showcase the rich heritage and conservation efforts of the Green Mountain Club, which has played a pivotal role in preserving and maintaining Vermont’s trails for over a century.
So, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a curious visitor, a stop at the Green Mountain Club Visitor Center is a must to enhance your exploration of the Green Mountains and embark on an unforgettable outdoor adventure.
15. Enjoy the local cuisine
Get ready to embark on a mouthwatering culinary adventure in the charming town of Waterbury, Vermont! This delightful place is known for its vibrant local food scene that offers a variety of tasty treats to satisfy every craving.
One must-try local specialty is Vermont’s famous maple syrup. Indulge in the sweet and rich flavors of this liquid gold, which is produced right in the region. Drizzle it over fluffy pancakes or waffles, savor it in a maple-glazed bacon dish, or sample it in a delightful maple-infused dessert. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you!
If you’re craving comfort food, don’t miss out on a classic Vermont dish: the delectable macaroni and cheese. Made with local Vermont cheddar cheese, this creamy and cheesy delight is sure to warm your heart and satisfy your hunger. Look out for restaurants and cafes that put their own twist on this beloved comfort food, incorporating local ingredients and flavors.
In conclusion, Waterbury, VT, offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages.
Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, history, or simply relaxing and enjoying some delicious food, Waterbury is the perfect destination for your next vacation or day trip.
With so many things to do and see, you’re sure to have a memorable and enjoyable experience in this charming town in the heart of Vermont.