From Wilmington, it’s a meandering, three-hour drive to Waitsfield and the Mad River Valley. On the way north, several spots merit a closer look. Rawsonville, 30 miles north of Wilmington, is a tiny enclave with a gas station, a coffee shop, a sports store, and Meulemans’ Craft Draughts—a trove of fermented goodness with local and regional beers, ciders, meads, and wines. Across the way, step into Honeypie, a classic roadside eatery housed in an old gas station that turns fresh, locally sourced ingredients into elevated diner fare.
History buffs will enjoy the short detour on Vermont Route 100A to the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, an early 20th-century village tucked into the Green Mountains and one of the country’s best-preserved presidential homesteads. The site includes Coolidge’s birthplace and boyhood home, a general store, a one-room schoolhouse, and the 1924 Summer White House. From there, it’s about an hour to Granville Gulf Reservation State Park, where a short hike leads to the base of Moss Glen Falls, a spectacular 80-foot cascade.
The Mad River Valley could be its own Vermont highlight reel with charming villages, rustic barns, covered bridges, and breathtaking mountain vistas. Get acclimated with a walk along Main Street in Waitsfield. At the Mad River Glass Gallery, husband-and-wife team David and Melanie Leppla create blown and cast bowls, vases, lanterns, and cairns. Browse hand-thrown stoneware made by master potter Ulrike Tessmer at Waitsfield Pottery. Around the corner on Bridge Street, a 19th-century general store houses Artisans’ Gallery, home to a selection of beautifully curated, made-in-Vermont pieces that include everything from wood furniture to ceramics, fiberware, jewelry, paintings, photography, and sculpture.
You’ll find the quintessential Vermont swimming hole on the south side of town at the Lareau Park, where a sandy beach, a wide grassy lawn, and giant boulders for jumping make it a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. If the dinner hour beckons, consider putting your name in across the way at American Flatbread—the wood-fired pizza joint tends to draw a crowd. Or tuck into rustic flavors on the north side at Peasant, an inviting, Tuscan-inspired restaurant with a seasonal menu helmed by Valley locals Chris and Mary Ellen Alberti.