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Scenic Byways, Driving & Walking Tours

While comfortably seated in your car‚ RV or on your motorcycle you can see the beautiful vistas the Champlain Valley offers or visit artists studios‚ museums and farm stands. Here are several tours for your to take during your visit:

  • Self-Guided Walking Tour of Middlebury—A walking tour of Middlebury's architectural heritage, written by Middlebury College Professor Glenn M. Andres. Read the entire tour online, or stop by the Chamber's Visitor Information Center to pick up a condensed pamphlet.
  • Lake Champlain Byways—Following more than 230 miles of spectacular shoreline‚ the Lake Champlain Byways network connects the region's expansive blue waters‚ working lands‚ lush forests and picturesque mountain peaks. Visit the website or view a YouTube video with an overview of the Lake Champlain Byway.
  • Other Vermont Byways—Other Byways in Vermont include the Molly Stark Byway and Stone Valley Byway in Southern Vermont; The Connecticut River Byway running the entire length of Vermont and New Hampshire border; the Mad River Byway through central Vermont and the Green Mountain Byway in North Central Vermont. To find information on these byways, click here.  
  • Fall Foliage Rides—The three suggested driving tours begin and end in Middlebury‚ Vermont‚ but they can be adapted to leave anywhere in Addison County by adjusting the starting point.

Middlebury is Vermont's largest antebellum town with its commercial center developed around a wool processing industry and the state's first marble works. It is home to the Henry Sheldon Museum‚ Vermont Folklife Center and Middlebury College.

Northwestern Addison County

A 1- to 2-hour tour. Take Seymour Street off of Rt 30 and just to the left of the Congregational Church to lead you out of Middlebury. This winds around and crosses Otter Creek on the Pulp Mill Covered Bridge Vermont's oldest remaining double span covered bridge.

Immediately turn right heading toward the UVM Morgan Horse Farm on the Morgan Horse Farm Rd.  home of Vermont's state animal and a breeding center for the horse. The farm is open to the public with admission. Continue north past the farm staying on this road as it crosses VT 17 and continue several miles to Vergennes (Green Street Ext.). This small but thriving village is a center for a number of pleasant restaurants and interesting shops. Below the falls Commodore MacDonough built several ships that were used to defeat the British at the Battle of Plattsburgh in 1814.

Follow VT 22A south from Vergennes through the heart of Addison County's farm country. Watch for signs for various crafts and antiques shops. At Addison Four Corners bear left on VT 17 and follow that road 2 1/2 miles to junction with VT 23; turn right here and drive eight miles through the Lemon Fair River Valley and the village of Weybridge to return to the town of Middlebury.

Southwestern Addison County

A 3- to 4-hour tour. On this tour you will pass through some of Vermont's prime apple orchards with stops in Brandon and at the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry. Follow VT 30 south out of Middlebury.

This highway runs through open country which offers clear views of the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondacks to the west. Watch for artist studios used bookstores and various country stores along the way! Some are located on secondary roads so watch for the signs.

Exactly ten miles south of the Middlebury College Field House Center for the Arts and Golf Course is the village of Whiting. At this intersection you'll find Bulwagga Books—used books art gallery crafts and other local products serving coffee tea and other refreshing drinks.

Turn left at this intersection heading east. Follow this unnumbered paved road (Leicester-Whiting Rd.) for 5 miles through rolling farm country until it ends at another road a T-intersection. Here turn right. This road runs along the base of low mountains that rise slightly west of the village of Brandon. Follow this road until it ends on US 7; turn right to head into the Brandon.

The town of Brandon offers fine opportunities to lunch or to browse in an antique shop or two. Brandon is an example of a 19th-century settlement. Marble-cutting mills and other industrial enterprises led to its prosperity. Brandon is also the birthplace of Stephen A. Douglas.

Later turn west on VT 73. This road returns west to Middlebury on higher ground offering fine views of the area.

At the junction with VT 30 follow signs for VT 73 turning left. VT 73 will bear to the right after a couple of miles on VT 30. This next section is twistier, running through hilly ground.

Cross VT 22A in Orwell staying on VT 73. This third and last section of VT 73 is even more winding as it leads down through woods and rolling meadows to Lake Champlain. Travelers may wish to extend their tour with a ferry trip across the lake on the Ft. Ti Ferry to Fort Ticonderoga. The crossing lasts approximately 6 minutes. There is an admission charge to the Fort.

At the end of VT 73, turn right on VT 74. The rolling land around Shoreham is heavily planted with apple orchards. And there are a number of artist and craft studios found along the way. Again watch for signs!

Turn left on VT 22A and head north, passing some of the largest farms in Vermont, to Bridport. Turn right on VT 125 for the final eight miles to Middlebury.

Full-day Mountain Tour

Follow US 7 for 5 miles south of Middlebury. Turn left on VT 125; pass through East Middlebury and head up into the mountains. This is the Robert Frost Memorial Drive and is designated as a Vermont Scenic Highway. It is only 16 miles in length but a half-day's leisurely touring.

Just above East Middlebury there are fine views of the Adirondacks and the Champlain Valley.

The highway now enters the Ripton Gorge, a pleasant spot to fish, picnic, or just stop, look, and enjoy.

Ripton Village offers a unique country store. Stop in and treat yourself to ingredients that would make for a great picnic!

Beyond the village lie the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, Wayside Area and Cabin. The Interpretive Trail is located on the south side of the highway and is designed for easy walking to enjoy Frost's poems found on plaques throughout the trail. The Wayside and Cabin are found on the north side of the highway. In the Wayside are picnic tables and the cabin is found just east of the Wayside on a dirt road. Robert Frost lived in this cabin for 23 summers.

The Middlebury College Bread Loaf campus lies a short distance further; its open fields in the middle of the forest offer a fine chance to view the mountains at a distance. Two miles further east is the Middlebury College Snow Bowl. Half a mile past the Snow Bowl entrance is the top of the Middlebury Gap. Those who wish to climb south for a short distance on the Long Trail will be rewarded with fine views of the surrounding area as well as of the Champlain Valley.

Continuing east down the mountains the highway runs through an unusually dense pine grove. Texas Falls State Park merits a stop for a picnic lunch or just for sightseeing—there is a short, self-guided nature walk along the falls.

VT 100 has been called one of the most scenic highways in Vermont; it also serves a variety of attractions for which you will want to allow ample time. After turning left on VT 100 from VT 125 at Hancock, you will find yourself in a narrow valley with fields running right up to the edges of the mountains.

In Granville village there are woodcraft shops featuring many unusual items as well as a glassblower, Michael Egan. North of the village begins the Granville Gulf where the highway winds upwards along a stream through the mountains. A large and spectacular falls, Moss Glen Falls, about two miles north of Granville Village, offers a pleasant rest area and a photo opportunity.

Continue north, past the VT 17 turnoff, to Waitsfield Village, which offers excellent shopping opportunities and covered bridges.

Return south again from Waitsfield and turn right, heading west on VT 17. This is the scenic and spectacular Appalachian Gap Road.

On clear days Lake Champlain can be seen from the top of the gap, whose elevation is over 2300 feet; this point is another access to the Long Trail. The West side of the gap is less thickly wooded than the East side and longer vistas of the valley and mountains are possible. VT 17 will finally enter a winding downhill river gorge at the end of which it joins with VT 116.

Turn left on VT 116. Drive through the attractive mountain town of Bristol and continue west on VT 116 and 17. Stay on 17 where the routes separate a mile past Bristol and continue to the village of New Haven. VT 17 leads west to US 7 at New Haven Junction; from Middlebury is only a few minutes drive to the south.