It is hard to list all of the things to do during a visit to the Mettawee properties. A short stay here provides a glimpse of a simpler way of life than many are accustomed to. The land here is relatively undeveloped, and provides a livelihood for many of its residents. The houses are located in a valley sandwiched between the Green Mountain National Forest to the east, Dorset Mountain to the South, and the Colvin Hill area of Danby, Vermont to the west. The houses are located on approximately 11 acres of rolling hills, with gorgeous views of the mountains. The fields surrounding the houses are cut two or three times a year to feed local livestock.
Wildlife abounds here; the White Pines, Birch, and other trees are homes to many varieties of birds. There are owls, hawks, hummingbirds and more to complement the usual suspects - blue jays, goldfinches, nuthatches, chickadees, blue birds, and others. Coyotes are heard at night, and there are deer and a few resident Black Bear.
The weather is can be unpredictable - clear and sunny one minute, and windy with a downpour the next, followed by a rainbow and sunny skies. The night sky is unlike any you have seen before.
While there is a lot to do in the area year-round, it is also great just to relax at the house.
Big branch wilderness area
Five minutes from the house, you can drive to the Big Branch Wilderness Area. The Silver Bridge crosses the Big Branch River, a wild, crystal clear torrent in the Spring, and a wonderful, wild creek in the summer full of swimming holes. The bridge is often closed in the winter. You will see that there has been significant road repair and rebuilding that took place here - Hurricane Irene took out the road below the bridge and flooded the Town of Mt. Tabor. Hike up along the south side of the creek just before the bridge where a pull off exists for parking your car. The trail is not well maintained, and has some steep banks down to the river. Hikers of all ages can handle a short ½ mile hike or longer up along either side of the river while exploring this incredible, wild river.
Crossing the Silver Bridge, and about five minutes up the side of the mountains, you come to a designated pull off area on the right. There are picnic tables, barbecue grills, and spectacular lookout points on the south end of the picnic area overlooking the valley leading to Manchester. No significant walking required. If you like, there is a steep trail down to the River from this point called Big Branch Trail; the sign states .1 mile, but it is more like .3 (and feels like 1.5 miles!!) especially on the walk back to the parking lot. The river is in a gorge, which falls into a series of pools, making the hike more than worth the effort.
Another two minutes up the road is the trail head to to the Appalachian Trail, which is called the Long Trail in Vermont. From here you can hike to Georgia or Mount Katadhin in Maine! There are an abundance of shorter hikes, of course. We frequent the Little Rock Pond hike which takes you on a loop around the Pond via the Long trail. This is an easy 4 mile hike, but be prepared for mud!
WHITE ROCKS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Fifteen minutes from the house, you can drive to the White Rocks National Recreation Area, where there is public access to multiple hiking opportunities. There are two lookout points; the first overlooks a rockfall into a valley, the second has nice views of Dorset Mountain and the valley to the south. Hiking approximately 3/4 miles, you will come upon the “ice beds”, a geological formation, which is at the bottom of a rockfall. This trail is 3 miles out and back. In the early spring you will likely find it mostly snow covered. The ice-melt from the rockfall area keeps the stream running out from the bottom cold all summer. Don’t forget, you have to hike back the way you came. This can be a difficult hike for young children.
canoeing and biking
There are many opportunities for canoeing, including Emerald Lake, ten minutes to the south, Danby Pond, Otter Creek, the Battenkill River and many more. There are a variety of places to rent boats in Manchester, Rutland, and at Emerald Lake. Bring your own life jackets and other safety equipment to ensure that they are suitable for your group and your specific activities.
Bikes are available at the Mettawee Pool House and at Littlebranch. Let us know if you would like to use them and we can prepare them for your stay. Also feel free to bring your own bikes from home!
The Gleneagles Golf Course At the Equinox is a 18-Hole, Public golf course located at 108 Union St, Manchester, Vermont.
Stratton Mountain Country Club is a 27-hole Public golf course located at Stratton Mountain Road, South Londonderry, Vermont.
Things to do at the house
There is a good variety of birds to watch right at the house, ranging from chickadees, nut hatch, gold finch, phoebes, fly catchers and blue jays to hummingbirds, owls, hawks and blue birds. We are active birdwatchers and try to attract birds to the property with bird-friendly landscaping, watering holes and feeders. If this is an interest of yours, you can spend many hours lounging on the decks watching all of the varied bird life swirl around you.
Other birding locations nearby: Merck Forest, Emerald State Park, Hildene (scheduled bird walks)
GO FOR A SWIM IN THE POOL (METTAWEE HOUSE ONLY)
Turn on the stereo in the pool room and enjoy! Stereo is located in the walk in closet/child’s bedroom off of the master bedroom There are CDs located in the family room bookshelves.
Turn the volume up!
GO SLEDDING IN THE BACKYARD (WINTER ONLY, OF COURSE)
There are sleds of various shapes and sizes in the small red shed between the houses – grab a few and give it a go. Especially great for kids!
There is a wide variety of wildlife,gardens and trees surrounding both properties. Take a look at the gardens surrounding the house, the old growth maples on the property, the milkweeds in the fields, the Monarch butterflies, sphinx moths, and dragonflies that inhabit the area.
THINGS TO DO in the area
mountain view ranch
Located only a few minutes from the house, you have a perfect opportunity to go horseback riding at the Mountain View Ranch, whether you are experienced or a beginner! Riding lessons are available during all seasons.
merck forest & Farmland center
A great family day trip or extended overnight backpacking hike, this privately owned, preserve has as its mission statement “to teach and demonstrate the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland.” You can visit the largest sugarhouse you have ever seen, see a windmill up close, visit with the egg-laying chickens, pet the sheep, and see how a photovoltaic system powers their facility. There are year-round programs and activities at the Merck Forest & Farmland Center. The center is a twenty minute drive from your Danby location. There is extensive cross country skiing and snow shoeing available here, and a small shop where their farm products are sold.
RILEY RINK (802-362-0150)
Fifteen minutes from the house, Rt. 7a
Large indoor ice-skating facility, featuring an olympic-sized rink, with a full skate rental center, open to the public.
20 minutes from the house, south on Route 7, south through Manchester Center, and then just south of Manchester Village.
The Lincoln family homestead, tours daily of the house, gift shops, films, and much more. This is a great place to visit for an afternoon, involves limited walking between the buildings and around the grounds.
SOUTHERN VERMONT ARTS CENTER (802-362-4519)
A 407 acre visual and performing arts center, with multiple galleries, sculpture garden, trails, café and more. Great for day visits even if no special events are taking place. Check the website for activities and events.
Wildwood Farm (Mad Tom Road, ten minutes from house, south off of Rt. 7) Pick your own blueberries, Mid July to Mid August. They freeze very well, and are a snap to pick.
VERMONT SUMMER FESTIVAL (July - Mid-August)
Held at the Beebe Farm, 10 minutes south from the house, you will enjoy the spectacle of some of the finest horse competitors in the country perform in Grand Prix show jumping, hunter- rider events and more. The horse show has been recognized as a “Top Ten Summer Event” by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
EMERALD LAKE STATE PARK (TEN MINUTES SOUTH OF HOUSE)
For a low admission price, spend the day at Emerald Lake on the beach, using the peddle boats, canoes and kayaks, swimming, fishing and more. You can bring your picnic or buy lunch and snacks at the concession stand. Site of the country’s first marble quarry, opened in 1785 by Isaac Underhill, the Park is steeped in history, including old train stations, mountain trams, water powered lumber mills and more.
ELFIN LAKE (WALLINGFORD)
Enjoy the small beach, swimming dock and canoe and kayak rentals in the summertime. There are also several interesting walking trails all around the lake with points of interest.
SOUTHERN VERMONT ART AND CRAFT FESTIVAL (EARLY AUGUST)
Usually held in the Hildene Meadow, this arts and crafts fair is fun to visit, not just for the arts and crafts, but the food, and spectacle.
MANCHESTER OUTLET SHOPPING
Fifteen minute drive to Manchester Center, South on Rt. 7 from the house. The Mettawee houses are convenient to all of the shopping opportunities in Manchester and Rutland Vermont, including Orvis, Orvis Outlet Store, The Gap, Northshire Bookstore, EMS, J. Crew, Georgio Armani, Tumi, Kate Spade, PacSun, Michael Kors, Eddie Bauer, Coach, Jones NY, Ben & Jerrys, Banana Republic, Claires, Anne Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Vermont Kitchen Supply, and many others too numerous to mention here. For additional information about the shopping opportunities in Manchester, visit www.manchesterandmtns.com.
Aside from the designer outlet stores located in Manchester, be sure to visit the following specialty shopping venues:
ORVIS flagship store and outlet
4180 Main St, Manchester, VT
4869 Main Street, Manchester, VT
THE KITCHEN STORE AT JK ADAMS
1430 VT-30, Dorset, VT
For the foodie in the group, this is a “don’t miss” stop. Commercial wood shop located on premises, where they make their cutting boards and other specialty wood items. Don’t miss the ‘seconds’ on the lower level.
VERMONT KITCHEN SUPPLY
4732 Main Street, Manchester, VT
ANTIQUES & Art
Danby Antique Shops
The 1812 House located in the center of Danby, five minutes away, has an excellent assortment of high end antiques of multiple dealers from around the state. There are items of interest here for all antique collectors.
Brewster Antiques: 152 Bonnt Street, Manchester, 802-362-1579
Comollo Antiques, 4686 Main Street, Manchester, 802-362-7188
Equinox Antiques, 5036 Historic Main Street, Manchester, 802-362-3540
Manchester Hot Glass, 79 Elm Street, Manchester, 802-362-2227
Tilting at Windmills Gallery, 24 Highland Avenue, Manchester, 802-362-3022
Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester