Manchester has been acclaimed as one of America’s top foliage towns. The foliage season runs from mid-September thru late October as the mountains and valleys of our area explode in a last gasp of color before the coming winter. Virtually all fall season activities will bring you in contact with the amazing scenery surrounding us. This is truly one of the highlights of the Vermont year. During the foliage season, the Panther is extremely busy so make your plans and reservations as early as possible.
Golf: Manchester is the hub of golf in Southern Vermont. Guests of the Reluctant Panther have playing privileges at two outstanding courses located in or near Manchester: The Gleneagles Golf Club at the Equinox, a resort course located adjacent to the Reluctant Panther, originally designed by the legendary Walter Travis and recently renovated by Rees Jones. The Stratton Mountain Club, featuring 27 Geoffrey Cornish designed holes of classic New England mountain style golf. Stratton has hosted 6 LPGA events in recent years and is home to the well known Stratton Golf University and a David Ledbetter Golf Academy. Please call the Reluctant Panther for Golf Packages.
Fly-Fishing: Manchester is one of the nation’s premier fly-fishing destinations. Home to the well known OrvisOutfitters, Manchester’s Battenkill River is located within a mile of the Panther as are many other great fishing spots. Orvis’ famous fly-fishing schools run throughout the spring, summer and fall and can be booked thru the Panther. Also, the concierge staff can arrange private guided fishing trips with some of America’s top instructors and guides thru the Panther. Don’t forget to visit the American Museum of Fly-Fishing and the Orvis Store located less than 1 mile from the Inn. Please call the Panther to inquire about our fly-fishing packages.
Hiking: Manchester offers a multitude of on and off road hiking options including trails on Equinox and Stratton Mountains, trails within the Green Mountain National Forest and a local section of the famous “Long Trail” which runs the length of Vermont. In addition, the Merck Forest & Farmland Center just north of Manchester offers numerous scenic trails of varying levels of difficulty. The Viking Nordic Center in nearby Londonderry also has a number of excellent trails. The Reluctant Panther has trail maps in house.
Biking: Excellent Biking abounds in the Manchester area. Bring your own bike. Route maps and suggested rides of all length and difficulty are available so you can choose your ideal ride.
Horseback Riding: A number of local stables offer terrific individual and group rides on scenic trails and fields. Stratton’s Sun Bowl rides are a favorite, offering breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys.
Health, Fitness and Spa: Manchester offers many options for healthy living. Heart of the Village is just down the Street from the Panther and offers various Yoga and Pilates classes and massage services throughout the year. The nearby Manchester Gym is a full service fitness center offering cardio, spinning, dance classes, free weights and other fitness programs. The Green Door and Equinox Spas also offer a wide selection of Spa services.
Tennis: Tennis Courts are available at the nearby Equinox resort and at Manchester Country Club.
Mad Tom Orchard: Spend a morning or afternoon picking apples and enjoying Vermont’s fresh air and sensational views of the fall foliage.
Back Road Discovery Tours: Discover the people and places that make Vermont so great. Get off the beaten path and explore Vermont’s back country with a guided tour in 6-8 person tour vehicles. A Yankee Travel Guide Editor’s Choice Award winner.
Range Rover & Falconry Schools: Learn to drive a Range Rover over a rugged off-road track or experience the unique exhilaration of working trained falcons.
Bromley Thrill Zone: Great for Kids! Opening in late spring, the Bromley ski lodge transforms into a family entertainment center. Attractions include the famous Bromley Alpine slide running down the ski slopes, miniature golf, numerous games and bumper boats. A fun time for the entire family, located a 15 minute drive from the Panther.
Stratton Gondola: The Stratton Mountain gondola continues to run after the ski season, taking a scenic journey to the top of the mountain and back. Pack a lunch box and your camera to enjoy the amazing vistas.
Manchester Designer Outlets: Manchester’s outlets offer the finest shopping venue in Vermont. Spend a day strolling thru charming streets and historic buildings and visit such well known shops as Georgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Kate Spade and many, many others. Outlet maps are available at the Panther. Watch for the Panther’s special shopping packages and discounts.
Northshire Bookstore: Named the #1 independent book seller on the East Coast, the shop features outstanding selections of fiction, non-fiction, music and media. The second floor is devoted to kids – books, educational toys and games, and there is a Zutano shop to die for! Enjoy a café latte at Bonnet & Main.
Antiquing: Whether you’re interested in antique furnishings, period artwork or ephemera, the Manchester area offers numerous fine antique stores to explore.
Farmer’s Markets: Bring home fresh, locally grown produce and other handmade products from a nearby farmer’s market. Manchester’s farmer’s market is on Thursday, Dorset’s is on Sunday and Londonderry’s is on Saturday.
The Manchester Music Festival: A non-profit organization operating year round, the Festival provides gifted young musicians with opportunities to study and perform. The Festival presents concerts of classical music throughout the year at a number of outstanding nearby venues.
Hildene: The sprawling historic estate of Abraham Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert Todd, houses a museum dedicated to the former President and his family. The property also boasts beautiful gardens, spectacular views and a working dairy. Hildene is a popular venue for weddings and events, which can be catered by the Reluctant Panther. By the way, the exquisite cheeses produced at Hildene are served in the Reluctant Panther’s gourmet Restaurant.
Weston Playhouse Theatre: Vermont’s oldest professional theatre offers frequent “summer-stock” plays and has brought touring Broadway productions such as Chicago, The Full Monty and Urinetown to Vermont. Well known actors and actresses frequently appear on the Weston Playhouse stage. The theater is also home to Café at the Falls which offers light, pre-show fare as well as a late-evening cabaret. Open from mid-June thru October.
Dorset Theatre Festival: Offers community and professional productions in an authentic Vermont theatre experience with a rustic, country setting. Open mid-June to mid-September.
Southern Vermont Arts Center: Located in an historic mansion near the Panther, SVAC feature ten art galleries exhibiting classic and contemporary art, a major exhibition space and a concert pavilion. The newly expanded campus also offers a store, café, sculpture gardens and botany trails. Classes and workshops with prominent artists are also a regular feature.
Bennington Center for the Arts: Located 20 miles south of Manchester, the Center’s permanent art collection, sales, exhibitions, live theatre productions, exhibits in the Covered Bridge museum and classes and workshops are a great way to spend a day.
Weston, Vermont: Just a half-hour drive up scenic Route 100 from Manchester, Weston is a quintessential New England village and home to the original Vermont Country Store. Of mail order fame, the Vermont Country Store features an eclectic collection of old-timey products, local cheeses, classic toys and gifts. Lunch is available at the historic Bryant House, just next door. Truly a kick to visit!
Saratoga Springs, NY: Approximately a 1 hour drive from Manchester is historic Saratoga Springs, NY. Home of the famous Saratoga horse racing track, Saratoga also offers the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. SPAC is the summer home of the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra. This outdoors performing arts venue features classical music performances, the Saratoga Jazz Festival and major pop and rock concerts throughout the summer and fall.
Manchester offers numerous dining options year round. Fine dining, casual dining or café dining is available throughout the region. The Reluctant Panther concierge will be more than happy to make dining suggestions and book reservations.