Mountain Biking in Vermont’s Upper Valley

 

Mountain Biking in Vermont’s Upper Valley

Photo of a Man Mountain Biking in Vermont's Backcountry.As we enthusiastically greet summer’s long-awaited arrival, it’s impossible not to ponder the many wondrous outdoor adventures readily available in the Upper Valley, Vermont’s idyllic gully of romance. With operations gradually returning to semi-normalcy, we expect an influx of nature enthusiasts in the coming months who value the valley’s sprawling natural beauty. The region itself is known for its picturesque covered bridges, serene waterfalls, jaw-dropping scenic overlooks, and glorious Artisans Park. And one of the most common thrill-based exploratory activities is mountain biking (or, to a small sect, cycling). Mountain biking in Vermont’s Upper Valley is a visual, muscle-building treat that very few undertake. Thus, the trails near The Norwich Inn are never crowded.

Mountain Biking in Vermont: 10 Upper Valley Trails

It’s no secret that New Englanders cannot resist the call of Vermont’s rolling mountain ranges, particularly during summer’s lush and autumn’s peak. The allure of Norwich, in comparison to other neighboring destinations, is its proximity to everything, including a prestigious Ivy League institution, some of the country’s finest breweries, a bevy of historical landmarks, and, yes, King Arthur Flour’s flagship campus. There’s a lot to love about this densely-thicketed, riverside community. And perhaps the cherry on top is the area’s growing trail network. When examined as a collective whole, this network of singletrack provides some of the most enticing mountain biking in Vermont. So, without further ado, here are 10 distinct trails near modern Upper Valley rentals:

  1. Blue Ribbon
  2. Brookemeade Main Loop
  3. The Rollercoaster
  4. Noodle’s Revenge
  5. French’s Ledges
  6. Fusters Trail
  7. Parcel 5
  8. Boston Lot 3
  9. Heyl-Dothan Connector
  10. Hardwoods

Alternative Routes: Roads and Rails

You’ll notice from the list above that Pittsfield, a nearby community, has a thriving network of mountainside trails. It’s not overly common to discover such magical mountain biking in Vermont near a village of fewer than 550 residents. It’s worth noting that cycling in Vermont is also subtly growing in popularity. The glory of cycling is that the backcountry is your oyster; there’s seemingly no cap on adventure in the countryside. And the Northern Rail Trail is, without a doubt, the prettiest route in the Upper Valley. This mostly-flat, 58-mile path spans two counties, making it the longest rail-trail conversion in the state. Most cyclists pick up the route near Lebanon. It goes without saying that the leaf-peeping on this trek is undeniably awe-inspiring.

Historic Hotels near Hanover, NH

Photo of People Dining at Norwich Inn After a Day of Mountain Biking in Vermont.

A common gathering place following a full day of mountain biking in Vermont’s glorious backcountry is Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse, a cozy, familiar slice of the past. As one of the premier restaurants in Norwich, we’ve expanded the alehouse throughout the decades. Patio seating is a hot commodity during peak seasons, so please arrive early to nab a table. The Norwich Inn provides an idyllic combination of history, gourmet cuisine, fine ales, and outrageous specials and packages. For updates on lodging, dining, and capacity, please bookmark this link (or follow us on our social media channels).

The 5 Prettiest Vermont Waterfalls

 

The 5 Prettiest Vermont Waterfalls

Photo of Moss Glen, One of the Prettiest Vermont WaterfallsIt’s no secret that Vermont boasts a gorgeous, biodiverse landscape. Thus, throughout summer and autumn, hundreds of thousands of nature enthusiasts flock into the Upper Valley to explore the region’s dense forestry in search of heart-stopping mountain overlooks, rolling countrysides, hidden covered bridges, and, of course, quintessential Vermont waterfalls. While it won’t be easy to pry yourself from Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse, Dartmouth College’s breathtaking campus, and nearby King Arthur Flour, we highly recommend embarking on a short journey to a couple of often overlooked Vermont waterfalls.

5 Vermont Waterfalls: A Self-Guided Journey to Serenity

Many of these picturesque, freefalling creeks, brooks, and rivers lie in Windsor County, as well as neighboring Orange and Rutland. In fact, the five prettiest Vermont waterfalls, according to our team of self-proclaimed experts, are within an hour of The Norwich Inn—established in 1797. Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather, bring a waterproof camera, and jot down detailed directions to each site.

Old City Falls, Strafford

The 16-mile drive through the heart of Vermont en route to Strafford’s Old City Falls is as peaceful and scenic as it gets. After enjoying a light picnic in the spacious pavilion area, hike down the short, steep path to the creek’s edge. While it’s not well marked, the creekside trail does lead to this dual waterfall. The top fall disappears behind a stack of rocks and eventually spills back into the creek.

Moss Glen Falls, Granville

The state boasts not one but two “Moss Glen Falls.” Today, we’ll only touch on the Granville fall, which, incidentally, remains one of the most oft-photographed natural sites in the state. Moss Glen is approximately an hour’s drive from The Norwich Inn, but this 35-foot marvel is well worth the trip. Adventurous types can get close enough to touch the rushing water as it spills below.

Photo of Thundering Brook, One of the Prettiest Vermont WaterfallsThundering Brook Falls, Killington

Thundering Brook Falls rests along the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200-mile network that spans from Maine down to North Georgia. Pictures don’t do Thundering Brook justice, as it’s hard to decipher the sheer magnitude of this slippery, 125-foot-tall waterfall via photograph. The easy, wheelchair-friendly boardwalk to the main plunge is a nice perk that you won’t find at many neighboring Vermont waterfalls.

Buttermilk Falls, Ludlow

During the summer months, thrillseekers flock to Buttermilk Falls to bathe in the shallow pools near the upper and middle falls. These classic swimming holes are what summertime dreams are made of, especially for those with a penchant for adventure. While the three midsized falls aren’t jaw-droppingly beautiful, the playful ambiance is unbeatable. 

Glen Falls, Fairlee

Fairlee’s Glen Falls is a short, 20-minute drive from the heart of Norwich. This 25-foot plunge remains an Upper Valley hidden gem. Even many locals don’t know if its existence. The short journey to the main plunge is only about half a mile upstream from the trailhead, and it features several picturesque cascades along the way.

Historic Hotels in Norwich, VT

After a full day of hiking near the very best waterfalls in Vermont, return to The Norwich Inn for a balanced, refreshing pint of Whistling Pig Red Ale and pan-seared Faroe Island salmon. As one of the oldest boutique hotels in Vermont, we offer an elegant, historic, and undeniably romantic alternative to a classic lodging experience. Our on-site brewery pairs perfectly with our sumptuous dining experience. And each of our guest rooms is a visual delight, especially for those with a special place in their heart for 19th-century decor. Please give us a call today at 802-649-1143 to book a long-overdue escape into the breathtaking Upper Valley, New England’s last remaining hidden gem.

An Upper Valley Shopping Guide

 

An Upper Valley Shopping Guide

hanover nh shoppingWith the unofficial start to summer only days away, thousands of couples, groups, and families are finalizing their mid-summer vacation plans to New England’s Upper Valley. Nestled in a quiet neighborhood across the Connecticut River from Dartmouth College rests The Norwich Inn, a charming, historical trip back in time. The Norwich Inn is home to one of the best breweries in Vermont (Jasper Murdock Ales), a top-rated restaurant, and Victorian-style accommodations. If you’re looking for a leisurely summertime activity during your stay, we recommend spending a couple of hours shopping in Norwich VT and Hanover NH. The streets in these two historic cities feature an eclectic mix of shops, galleries, and farm stands. Hanover NH shopping, in particular, is a popular mid-day activity as the best stores are just a short walk from Dartmouth College.

Norwich VT Shopping

Let’s start our shopping tour right here in Norwich VT, the proud home of world-famous King Arthur Flour. Whether you’re searching for fresh produce or a gripping new novel, you’ll find a place to spend a couple of bucks in our lovely riverside community.

  • hanover nh shoppingKing Arthur Flour – If you’re only planning on making one stop in the Upper Valley, we highly recommend choosing King Arthur Flour. We’ve collaborated with their excellent team for many events over the years. Browse through The Baker’s Store, enjoy a fresh-baked pastry, or join a hands-on baking class.
  • The Norwich Bookstore – You’d be hardpressed to find another small, independently-owned bookstore that cares as much as about the written word then the folks at The Norwich Bookstore. Find out what to read next, discover rare signed copies, and take a seat during an author’s reading.
  • Crossroad Farm Stand – Crossroad’s stand on Route 5 is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Many of our guests purchase bags full of fresh produce before returning home to Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and beyond.
  • Pompanoosuc Mills – While technically not a part of the Norwich VT or Hanover NH shopping scene, “Pompy” is an excellent hand-crafted furniture destination north of town. Their woodworks have been turning heads since 1978.

Hanover NH Shopping

Some of the best stores in the region lie in downtown Hanover NH. In fact, Hanover NH shopping has become one of the top summertime activities among couples and groups. Here’s a short list of our favorite Hanover NH shopping destinations:

  • Farmhouse Pottery – Book a “Clay Date” this summer, where you’ll have the rare opportunity to work alongside a master potter before crafting your own artisan souvenir.
  • My Brigadeiro – Don’t forget to pick up some fresh-baked cookies, cupcakes, and Brazilian-style brigadeiros during your Upper Valley getaway. Enjoy these sweets in the comfort of your elegant suite.
  • League of N.H. Craftsmen Gallery – Some of New England’s best potters, artists, and craftspeople display their award-winning work at this beautiful gallery along Lebanon Street.

Artisans Park

There are myriad shops and attractions at Artisans Park in nearby Windsor VT. You’ll discover eight businesses in all, highlighted by Silo Distillery, Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company, and Simon Pearce. You can also stroll through a sculpture garden, savor a craft beer, and indulge in artisan eats. Artisans Park is a must-visit destination for those who enjoy hand-crafted, locally-sourced, and artisan products from talented craftspeople.

hanover nh shoppingHistoric Hotels near Hanover NH

The perfect way to cap off a full day of Hanover NH shopping is with fine dining, housemade craft ales, and sophisticated relaxation right here at The Norwich Inn. We’re one of the only hotels near Dartmouth College that provides specialized vacation packages for a variety of local events ranging from nano brewery festivals to 50k races. To book a well-deserved summertime escape to New England’s Upper Valley, please give us a call today at 1-802-649-1143.