Options galore for the perfect venue, gifts and more
By Jennifer Brandt, Vermont Country correspondent.
The Manchester, Vermont, area is one of the most romantic locations for your dream wedding or other life celebration, no matter the season.
The beauty of the snow-capped mountaintops, the blossoming springtime flowers, the verdant summer scenery, and the striking fall color displays make it the go-to destination for happy couples, their families and friends, at any time.
The warm community, natural beauty, and rich history make a great choice for wedding festivities, elopements, minimoons and other important life events. The location is the perfect backdrop due to its stunning nature and inspirational beauty. Nestled in the valley between the Green and Taconic Mountain ranges, it offers a wealth of extremely distinctive venues, including boutique hotels, mansions from the turn of the century, and historic rustic barns.
Manchester is ready to welcome you and host any event — a large, opulent gathering, a themed party, or a romantic retreat for two.
FINDING THE PERFECT VENUE
The Equinox Resort and Southern Vermont Arts Center offer something for everyone.
Equinox Golf Resort & Spa
Imagine exchanging vows in one of America’s most romantic and historic venues, surrounded by spectacular mountain views, lush gardens, and timeless architecture. Dreams become reality at The Equinox Golf Resort and Spa in historic Manchester Village, committed to providing an all-inclusive experience. Say goodbye to wedding planning stress: The Equinox is the quintessential venue for every aspect of your wedding needs.
From arranging guest rooms and coordinating rehearsal celebrations to crafting pre-wedding adventures, orchestrating the ceremony and reception, and hosting a post-nuptial brunch, The Equinox ensures that every aspect of your wedding experience is seamless and unforgettable.
Southern Vermont Arts Center
The Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC) is the perfect destination for couples seeking a unique and memorable venue. This 103-acre campus offers spectacular mountain views, exquisite landscaping and versatile event spaces.
SVAC’s rich history, dating back to its establishment in 1916, adds charm to every celebration. With art galleries, a sculpture park and a National Register of Historic Places listing, SVAC offers a picturesque canvas for couples to create unforgettable wedding moments. Whether planning a themed buffet, cocktail hour, or a grand celebration on the expansive back lawn, SVAC’s diverse spaces and breathtaking surroundings ensure a truly special experience for all.
Manchester is a shoppers’ paradise for locals and visitors with an abundance of locally owned boutiques, designer outlets, art and artisan galleries, specialty food stores and so much more. There are opportunities to purchase gifts created in Vermont for yourself, the happy couple, your bridal party or wedding guests.
Judi McCormick Jewelry
Judi McCormick’s foray into the design realm took a turn when she found herself in New York City, crafting fabrics for the legendary Halston, a trailblazer known for innovative textiles. Her repertoire expanded to include a line of high-end sweaters combining luxurious yarns with hand-dyed ribbons. Her love for jewelry was first kindled here, as semi-precious gemstone buttons became the hallmark of her sweaters.
Judi’s commitment to ethical and sustainable practices is not just a business strategy but a responsibility to Mother Earth and her discerning clientele. Judi weaves sustainability into the fabric of her creations, which has taken her on a global quest, scouring the markets of Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, Thailand, Australia and Vietnam.
In Judi’s world, every piece of jewelry tells a story of elegance, ethics and the everlasting beauty found on our planet. Every single piece that Judi makes is unique and unlike any other. Her jewelry, which is handcrafted in Manchester, makes for exquisite gifts.
Danforth Pewter’s a haven where uniquely crafted wedding gifts await. Danforth Pewter’s mission is to craft heirlooms that transcend generations. Danforth Pewter is a beacon of personalized craftsmanship in a world dominated by mass-produced metalwork. Every item, from oil lamps and tumblers to ornaments and jewelry, is meticulously created by artisans who undergo over two years of apprenticeship, ensuring that each piece reflects the pride and passion invested in its creation.
The newly opened outpost in Manchester Center invites you to explore a range of finely crafted gifts, each a testament to the dedication and artistry of Vermont’s local community. Choose Danforth Pewter for wedding gifts that blend authenticity, tradition and timeless beauty — a celebration of handcrafted excellence that will be cherished for years.
Nestled inside Danforth Pewter, you can find another artisanal shop, JK Adams. They have been synonymous with American-made excellence since 1944, bringing an exquisite range of handcrafted wood products, beyond mere kitchen essentials, that will become cherished heirlooms guaranteed for life.
Rooted in the belief that the kitchen is the heart of the home, JK Adams crafts high-quality, sustainably harvested North American hardwood products in Dorset. A second-generation family-owned business, their legacy is embodied in employees who take pride in producing enduring, functional boards, bowls and serving pieces.
When you choose JK Adams for wedding gifts, you embrace enduring craftsmanship and contribute to a legacy of responsible stewardship of the forest and support for rural economies—elevate your wedding gifts that will leave a lasting impression for future generations.
THERE’S MORE …
Still, many options are available if you want to take advantage of even more of what the Manchester area offers. You can have your rehearsal dinner, welcome reception, or farewell brunch in one of the more than 30 local restaurants, pubs or cafés. Using locally sourced and produced products to create their menu, they offer you and your guests fantastic dining experiences, even between events.
DINING IN STYLE
Here are some places where love, food and ambiance converge. Through skillful cooking, welcoming ambiance and genuine warmth, these family-run establishments create an ideal setting for smaller wedding gatherings, farewell brunches, rehearsal dinners, and guest dinners.
Mystic Restaurant and Bar
Mystic Restaurant and Bar is more than just a restaurant; it’s a family that extends a warm welcome to all patrons. The ambiance is carefully curated to offer a culinary experience inspired by simple and honest cooking principles.
Each dish tells a story of culinary expertise and a commitment to excellence. Whether you choose handmade pasta, locally sourced ingredients or visually artful dishes, Mystic ensures a feast for the senses.
Raven’s Den Steakhouse and Taproom
In the picturesque town of Manchester lies a culinary haven that goes beyond being just a restaurant – it’s a testament to the love story of Nancy and Ed St.Onge and a celebration of good food, fine wine and the warm ambiance created by a blend of rustic and industrial aesthetics.
Ed St.Onge, with his Executive Chef Certification and extensive experience in the culinary world, is the creative force behind Raven’s Den’s kitchen. His fine dining background, honed at prestigious establishments like Top Notch Resort and Spa in Stowe, adds a touch of sophistication to the menu.
This stylish Manchester restaurant offers Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, sharing choices and family-style dining options. Since its menu often changes to reflect what’s fresh from the market, this eatery is perfect for seafood lovers and those looking to savor the freshest local ingredients. With two private dining rooms, a well-equipped bar and seasonal outdoor dining, the Social House offers flexible space for your next intimate night out or special event.
FUN AND GAMES
Playing for keeps at Pastime Pinball
There is no better way to celebrate before, during or after your nuptials than at Pastime Pinball! Imagine a celebration with charming bells and chimes of vintage electromechanical games as you go through pinball history. Whether you do a traditional bachelor/bachelorette or a Jack and Jill celebration, Pastime Pinball has you covered with games and libations galore.
During your pre-wedding celebration evening with close friends, you can delight your guests with nachos that feature Vermont’s Cabot Cheddar. From Fiddlehead to Von Trapp Brewery’s beer, the beverage selection is a journey through Vermont’s brewing traditions. For those who don’t imbibe, creative non-alcoholic options are available as well. Pastime Pinball invites you to hang out in an environment where you can let loose and relive some childhood memories before embarking on the most memorable day of your life.
To learn more about these incredible places, and even more magical destinations in the Manchester area, visit manchestervermont.com.
Jennifer Brandt is a born and raised Vermonter and a recent Brooklyn transplant. She has worked as a freelance writer and event coordinator for the past decade focusing on food and Intersection with social justice issues. She has combined her passion for food and sustainable food systems with her Indigenous heritage by creating a series with MOFAD celebrating North American Indigenous folks in the food world. When not touring cities and the back roads of the Vermont countryside in search of the endless array of food and culture, you can find her taking Instagram photos of her rescue pup Bagel.