It’s a calm, scenic drive along the back roads from Troy to Manchester, Vt. Though breathtaking in autumn, when the vibrant colors take over the woods along the way, the bare trees of winter don’t disappoint, their branches webbing out in dense clusters. Right before you hit that gorgeous mountain view welcoming you into Vermont, they begin to shimmer, heavy with the weight of sparkling, heavy snow.

It’s hard to put your finger on Manchester. It was recently named the “Next Luxury Vacation Destination” by Saratoga Living, but there’s still a very down to earth feel here. It’s in sweet donut shops like Mrs. Murphy’s—delectable baked goods nested between the laundromat and discount beer and wine store, near the outlets and Greener Pastures Smoke Boutique—or the secluded, aging homes that belong in nostalgic Norman Rockwell paintings–whose exhibit at The Sugar Shack you can explore, not too far away, in Arlington. 

If you’re feeling particularly curious and in the mood to shake up your world view, make a pitstop at the Museum of the Creative Process (above). The outdoor sculpture trail on the grounds of the gorgeous Wilburton Inn is meant to delve into “new understanding of how we experience being creative” based on the theories of one Dr. Albert Levis, unraveling legends, stories, mythology, religion and moral science. I’ll let you untangle this one for yourself, as there’s an interesting collection of sculptures and statues to check out–and even more to puzzle over–but maybe wait for spring to thaw it out. The shroud of snow on this scenic hill makes it all too quiet and it feels a bit eerie. 

Get your American history fix at Hildene, the home of Abraham Lincoln’s only surviving son Robert Lincoln. Tour Lincoln’s 1905 home, the elegant Pullman railcar belonging to his manufacturing corporation and the accompanying Many Voices exhibit. A site on the Vermont African American Heritage Trail, the display explores the lives of the primarily black porters employed by the Pullman Company–who endured harsh conditions, long hours and low pay–from the time of emancipation in 1863 to the March on Washington in 1963.  

If you’re sticking around Manchester Center, look around for the quaint little home to WEQX station on Elm Street. When you get hungry, Main Street provides plenty of options. Try fresh, locally sourced eats from casual hangouts like Cilantro Taco or try the fantastic Burmese menu at Moonwink, where you can find hearty rice bowls, noodle and fish stews, Burmese falafel, wonton and more. If you’re looking for drinks, The Crooked Ram is up the road a bit but worth a stop for a fun selection of craft beer and wine. It’s small, simple and cozy.

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We got wontons up the yin yang! ☯️☯️☯️

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Complete your trip by taking something home with you. Stop by Northshire Books, the original twin to the Saratoga Springs shop for an enthralling new addition to the stack on your bedside table. 

Rambling On is a monthly feature exploring the towns and cities outside of the Capital Region harboring exceptional creatives and artistic hotspots. Know of a place we just can’t miss?