Aerial view of the town and surrounding greenery in Waterbury, Vermont.

6 of the Most Overlooked Towns in Vermont

Welcome to Vermont, where small towns pack big charm into their cozy confines. While these overlooked towns may lack the hustle and bustle of major cities, they are still overflowing with character. Picture-perfect covered bridges, quirky roadside attractions, and friendly locals await around every corner, promising surprises at every turn. Whether sipping craft cider in a 50-year-old mill, listening to chamber music at a world-renowned festival, or simply soaking in the laid-back vibe, these towns offer a delightful escape in the Green Mountain State. From Waterbury to Wilmington, let’s look at these Vermont towns and what makes them special.


A street in Poultney, Vermont during Autumn.
A quiet street in Poultney, Vermont. By Jared and Corin - originally posted to Flickr as Poultney, Vermont, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons.

To understand the small town of Poultney, one must delve into the slate business. The first slate quarry in the area opened in the 1850s, and slate continues to be a key element in the town’s economic growth. Today, the demand for slate roofs, known for their longevity and fireproof qualities, is increasing and driven by replacements. With an estimated 38 companies in the Slate Valley employing 200-300 workers, the industry generates around $40 million annually in slate products.

In downtown Poultney, the new Slate Quarry Park features slate walls, floors, and an amphitheater with a slate nautilus, honoring the area’s history as a slate quarrying town. The park won the “2023 Vermont Public Places Honor Award” as one of Vermont’s exemplary public places. It provides a public venue for live music, plays, poetry readings, and other events. Similarly, Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill is a local non-profit community arts organization supporting creative arts throughout Poultney.

While cultural attractions may steal the limelight, Poltney also hosts various outdoor activities. The aptly named Slate Valley Trails, a voluntary community group that promotes foot and bicycle trails in the region, maintains over 50 miles of free public trails in Poultney and the neighboring towns of Castleton and Wells.


Cold Hollow Cider in Waterbury, Vermont.
The famous Cold Hollow Cides Mill in Waterbury, Vermont. Editorial credit: jenlo8 /

Waterbury is known for its craft breweries, artisanal food scene, and ice cream, but there are also lots of nearby parks and trails for hiking and mountain biking to explore. Back to ice cream, particularly Ben & Jerry’s, where the road to 98 flavors began in 1978 when two friends opened their first shop in nearby Burlington, Vermont. Today, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory is in Waterbury, and visitors can tour the factory and graveyard, where over 30 flavors lay to rest.

Vermont's renowned Cold Hollow Cider Mill is up the road from Ben & Jerry’s. Founded in 1974 and celebrating 50 years in the apple business, it offers a variety of apple-based products, including fresh apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple pies, and apple everything. Visitors can tour the cider mill, sample different apple varieties, and then sit back and relax in the mill’s café and tasting room. As the sun sets, book a table at Prohibition Pig for pig-inspired craft beer and food like pig burgers and brisket sandwiches. Then, wander around the corner to Back Bar, where the brewery is. Live bluegrass plays every Wednesday night, and four-legged friends are always welcome.


The Vermont Technical College campus in Randolph, Vermont.
Entrance to the Vermont Technical College campus in Randolph, Vermont.

Randolph is a quiet town home to 4,800 lively residents in Orange County, Vermont. The town is known for its maple syrup production, which makes up a notable part of Vermont’s total production. Visitors interested in this side of town can head to the award-winning Silloway Maple for pure Vermont maple syrup, bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, maple cream, sugars, and candy. The town is also home to Neighborly Farms of Vermont, a family-owned organic farm that produces multiple flavors of artisanal cheeses, from Sharp Cheddar to Jalapeno Jack.

From food to music, Randolph’s Chandler Center for the Arts is a cultural venue that serves as a creative hub for the community. It features performances and festivals like the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival and the New World Festival, Vermont’s premier Celtic and Quebecois music festival. In addition to the events, the establishment is also an abode of history and was gifted to the town by a telegraph operator to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, born in Randolph. Today, the “Chandler,” as the locals call it, stands as a beautiful tribute to a young man’s love of his hometown and is a vibrant part of Randolph’s cultural heritage and economy.


View from atop Hogback Mountain in Marlboro, Vermont.
Scenic viewpoint from atop Hogback Mountain in Marlboro, Vermont.

Marlboro, a town in Windham County, is the perfect retreat for outdoor enthusiasts. Most people visit the covered bridges, rolling hills, and picturesque countryside, offering a range of activities. Hiking, biking, skiing, and wildlife viewing are among the most popular in and around Marlboro. After a day of hiking with friends on nearby trails or snowboarding on 601 acres of skiable terrain and ten terrain parks at Mount Snow, Beer Naked Brewery is the perfect place to sip fresh Vermont beer and chow down on wood-fired pizza in a laid-back vibe. Moreover, the brewery rests at the top of Hogback Mountain, so one can enjoy 100-mile views of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire with their meal.

Apart from the outdoors, visitors often overlook Marlboro’s cultural charm. The Marlboro Music Festival is a renowned chamber music festival held annually in Marlboro. Founded in 1951, the festival has earned a reputation for excellence and innovation in the world of classical music, where visitors from around the globe gather to experience the festival's exceptional performances.

East Corinth

View of East Corinth, Vermont with beautiful fall foliage.
View of the famous fall foliage in and around East Corinth, Vermont.

East Corinth is a small town in Vermont with rural charm and picturesque scenery. For movie buffs, it is also the filming location of the 1988 cult classic Beetlejuice. Located around 25 miles southeast of Montpelier, East Corinth is one of the most photographed spots in New England for fall foliage. It is also a fantastic family-friendly ski resort town in the winter and home of the oldest continually running ski tow in the United States at Northeast Slopes, whose motto is “keeping skiing real since 1936.” With a view of Mt. Moosilauke from the top, the hill has 12 trails on 35 skiable acres, perfect for younger visitors still finding their ski legs.

Reserving one of nine luxury sites at Winter River Glamping can quickly turn a day trip into an overnight visit to East Corinth. Each site comes with a large bell tent, a queen-sized bed with memory foam, private patios, and a full-size Igloo cooler. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen, a firepit, and bathrooms with plush towels and luxurious shower products.


Panoramic view of Wilmington, Vermont.
Panoramic view of buildings and lush forests in Wilmington, Vermont.

Along the Deerfield River Valley, Wilmington is a picturesque example of a 19th-century Vermont village that maintains its small-town charm with local shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Those interested in the past can tour the Wilmington Village Historic District, which boasts rustic buildings, each with a tale to share. For example, overnight visitors to Wilmington can stay at the historic Wilmington Inn, which was built initially as a private residence in 1894. The unique rooms in the Main House and the Carriage House are beautifully appointed, and each overnight stay includes a complimentary Vermont country breakfast.

Despite its historic charm, Wilmington shines with adrenaline enthusiasts thanks to its proximity to popular ski resorts like Mount Snow. Here, one can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking in the surrounding area. A great kid-friendly hike in the area is in Molly State Park, with lush foliage and scenic views that’ll keep anyone busy. After skiing or hiking Vermont’s “Alps,” dinner at the Alpenglow Bistro in downtown Wilmington is the perfect way to end the day. Influenced by Swiss, German, Austrian, and French cuisine, the bistro is a cozy retreat to relax, sip an Aplenglow or Lake Como cocktail, and share a Fondue for Two.


Exploring Vermont's overlooked towns offers an authentic escape away from crowds into quaint streets, rich history, and welcoming communities. Discover new places, savor artisanal delights, and unwind in tranquil landscapes. Embrace a slower pace, where each town displays its unique character and charm. Whether this is the luxurious rooms in East Corinth or the historical tales of Wilmington, there is something for everyone in these towns. Thus, exploring these six small towns promises an unforgettable day off the beaten path.

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