Waterbury has long been known as “Vermont’s Recreational Crossroads” being in close proximity to four major downhill ski areas, first-class Nordic skiing and a host of attractions, recreation, restaurants and shopping.
Waterbury is also the starting point for two scenic drives that are part of the Vermont Byways Program and will delight you as you pass open meadows, mountain backdrops, dramatic waterfalls, wildlife and more. To the north lies the Green Mountain Byway and to the south lies the Mad River Byway. So pack a lunch, start your engines, fasten your seat belts and spend the day marveling at the Vermont countryside.
Heading north on Vermont Route 100 from its intersection with Route 2, the Green Mountain Byway winds its way through Waterbury Center passing Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Cabot Annex and Cold Hollow Cider Mill as well restaurants and shops, meadows and beautiful mountain views. After visiting Stowe Village, take Vermont 108 north past the many lodges, restaurants, shops and galleries that line the route on your way up to Smugglers’ Notch. If you like, you can detour and take the Mt. Mansfield Toll Road to the top of Vermont’s highest peak. After a stop at Stowe Mountain Resort’s Spruce Peak and a ride on the Alpine Slide or Gondola ride to the Cliff House on Mount Mansfield, continue even further up the winding mountain road. The road narrows as you reach the top so take care (but it is paved all the way) and prepare for the dramatic mountain setting where a glacier carved up the mountain and created Smugglers’ Notch. Once there you can hike or just take in the views. Continuing along and down the other side you’ll pass Smugglers’ Notch Resort and ultimately in to the village of Jeffersonville. At any time, you can turn around and return to Waterbury or once in Jeffersonville, you can complete the loop by going east on Route 15 to Morrisville, then taking Route 100 south back through Stowe retracing your trip back into Waterbury.
The Mad River Byway takes you south from Waterbury, again on Route 100, through the town of Duxbury into the village of Waitsfield. Be sure to stop on Bridge Street and visit the shops and restaurants there and view the covered bridge that gives the street its name. Continuing south Route 100 you have two options:
1. You can turn right on to Vermont Route 17 and climb to the top passing Mad River Glen ski area. Once at the top enjoy the mountain views to the west. Vermont’s Long Trail crosses Route 17 here allowing you to hike north or south along the ridgeline.
2. Or, continue south through the town of Warren being sure to stop in Warren Village where the Warren Store offer gourmet foods, wines and more with the charm of an old country store. After leaving Warren, you will enter the Granville Gulf, a conservation area protected from development. As it winds its way through a narrow valley be on the lookout for moose and be sure to stop at Moss Glens Falls.
Many other back roads offer miles of Vermont scenery all within an easy drive of Waterbury. After a day of scenic beauty that is uniquely Vermont, enjoy another evening in Waterbury sampling our culinary choices and retire to your inn and be ready for more adventures tomorrow.