Waitsfield Vt. and Warren are two quintessential Vermont towns hemmed in by some of Vermont’s biggest and most picturesque mountains in the Mad River Valley, and within ten miles of both the Sugarbush Resort and Mad River Glen ski resort. The Valley, as it’s known locally, is a year-round playground, famed for east coast skiing, yet offering outdoor adventure and activities for all athletic abilities and interests.
The Valley’s recreational attractions are seconded only by its restaurants and farms serving up locally-inspired menus, seasonal produce and local libations. Lacking a resort feel and paying a due respect to its agricultural past, the Valley takes great care to offer a “real” Vermont experience, and not to over commercialize itself. In town you’d barely know there were resorts nearby save for the trail systems being visible from the village centers.
Why Waitsfield Vt. is Different
The spine of the Green Mountains serves as the backdrop to Waitsfield and Warren. Waitsfield, the larger of the two, is the central commercial hub with a variety of shops and restaurants. Valley residents take localism seriously, from galleries purveying local artists wares to farm-to-table restaurants to maple syrup producers and farm stands. It is a cherished way of life separate from the tourist economy that enriches and supports the community. In postcard-perfect Warren Village, photograph the pristine waters of the Mad River, visit the eclectic Warren Store and stroll through the historic covered bridge. In between the towns there is no shortage of amazing countryside views – no matter the time of year.
Nearest Ski Mountain
With six peaks and a spread out network of lifts, skiers are easily dispersed across diverse terrain with nearly 2,000 additional acres of epic backcountry skiing.BEST ADVICERESTAURANTS NIGHTLIFE AND EVENTS
Sugarbush Resort operates a number of ski-in ski-out options. Clay Brook Hotel resembles a Vermont dairy barn and features 81 luxury units from studios to five-bedroom suites. The White Horse Inn and Hostel Tevere offer basic amenities for those looking to enjoy the Valley without breaking the bank.
Numerous cozy inns are located around the Valley. Tucker Hill Inn and The Inn at the Round Barn are perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway. The Valley’s lodging jewel is the five-star Pitcher Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property.
Use the “Explore Waitsfield” and “Explore Vermont’s Best Lodging Deals” box above and right to find Waitfield’s best Lodging choices and deals. Lodging choices are pre-ordered by price, but you can enter your own search parameters.
Take the bus! The Mad Bus is free and runs all winter around the Valley. Get picked up at your condo or hotel and dropped off at the base of the resort or the restaurant of your choice. Why worry about parking or driving in wintry conditions when you don’t have to?
In warmer weather, remember The Mad River is the heart of the Valley. Plenty of spots exist throughout the Valley to take a dip in its shimmering waters, including the popular and picturesque Warren Falls.
Farm-to-table dining is the essence of the culinary experience in the Valley. You can’t find a fast food joint here, but you will find burgers made of locally-raised beef topped with Vermont’s Cabot cheddar at Tracks and Timbers. Family-favorite American Flatbread serves wood-fired pizzas with local ingredients in a rustic, converted farmhouse.
Enjoy craft cocktails, fireside tables and fine-dining at The Common Man and 275 Main at The Pitcher Inn. Local favorite, Big Picture Café serves excellent breakfasts with farm-fresh eggs, Vermont Maple Syrup and locally-roasted coffee in a friendly setting.
On-mountain après hotspots include General Stark’s Pub at Mad River Glen, one of the few spots to sample Lawson’s Finest Liquids, a local brewer. The see-and-be-seen crowd heads to Castlerock to bump elbows and talk of the day’s skiing. After you’re out of your ski boots mix with locals playing pool at the Hyde Away or shuffleboard at the newly-renovated Mad River Barn. Night owls enjoy dancing the night away with the Valley’s best musical talent at Hostel Tevere or Local Folk Smoke House.
Waitsfield Vt. Lodging
Use the “Explore Vermont’s” and “Explore Waitsfield’s Best Lodging Deals” box above and right to find Waitsfield”s best Lodging choices and deals. Lodging choices are pre-ordered by price, but you can enter your own search parameters.
Sugarbush hosts a New Year’s Eve celebration with a torchlight parade of skiers and fireworks. In February, backcountry skiers test their legs in the Mad River Valley Mountaineering Race along the Long Trail between Mad River Glen and Sugarbush Resort. Extreme skiers show off their skills during the Castlerock Extreme Challenge in March.
Maintain your fitness level after winter and compete in the Mad Marathon in July. It’s billed as the “world’s most beautiful marathon.” No trip to Vermont is complete without sampling the finest craft beers available (Heady Topper anyone?). In June, Sugarbush’s Brewgrass Festival pairs guitar picking and breweries for a kickoff to summer activities. Siptemberfest, at Mad River Glen, couples fall foliage and Vermont’s best craft beers for a memorable weekend.
Off Mountain Activities
Nordic skiing and snowshoeing the trails at Ole’s or Blueberry Lake Cross Country Center is a one way to enjoy the Valley’s scenery. A game of broomball at the Skatium Ice Rink in Waitsfield is a good way to spend a winter’s eve. Once the snow melts, fish for brook trout in the headwaters of the Mad River. In summer, bring your paddle and go for standup paddleboard or canoe rides on Blueberry Lake. At Warren Airport, you can see the natural beauty of the rolling farmland and high peaks from high above on a glider ride. Fall is when nature shows off its palette of colors – hike to Sunset Rock or trek the Long Trail for amazing views of Vermont’s famous foliage.
By Patrick Brown