Welcome to Waitsfield, Vermont, a charming town nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains. With its rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and vibrant culinary scene, Waitsfield offers a wide array of experiences for visitors and locals alike. From exploring historic covered bridges like the iconic Waitsfield Covered Bridge to hitting the slopes at renowned ski resorts such as Mad River Glen and Sugarbush, this town has something to enchant everyone. Join us on a journey through the best things to do in Waitsfield, where you'll discover the perfect blend of tradition and adventure.
1. Go skiing at Mad River Glen or Sugarbush
Waitsfield, Vermont, is a skiing paradise nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, offering two exceptional ski resorts within its reach. Mad River Glen, located right in town, is renowned for its old-school charm and challenging terrain. With its iconic single-chair lift, this cooperative-owned ski area is a favorite among purists seeking a truly authentic skiing experience. Just a short drive away, Sugarbush Resort offers a different kind of adventure, with its expansive terrain, modern facilities, and family-friendly vibe. While Mad River Glen captivates with its nostalgic ambiance and commitment to preserving its natural beauty, Sugarbush impresses with its variety of trails and amenities. The choice between the two comes down to your skiing style: Mad River Glen for the adventurous and those who appreciate tradition, Sugarbush for families and skiers looking for a diverse range of slopes. Waitsfield's ski options ensure there's something for everyone to enjoy on the powdery slopes of Vermont.
2. Drive or walk through the historic Waitsfield Covered Bridge
Exploring the Waitsfield Covered Bridge in Waitsfield, Vermont, is like stepping back in time. This charming covered bridge, built in 1833, is not just a picturesque landmark but also a well-preserved relic of Vermont's history. Located near the heart of Waitsfield, it spans across the Mad River, offering a delightful spot for a stroll or a photo opportunity. It is also sometimes a place where fishermen and swimmers have some fun.
The bridge's classic wooden structure and quaint setting make it a beloved attraction, providing visitors with a glimpse of the region's rich heritage and natural beauty. Whether you're crossing it or simply admiring its timeless design, the Waitsfield Covered Bridge is a must-visit gem in this historic Vermont town. The bridge is also known as Great Eddy Covered Bridge.
Learn more about the Waitsfield Covered Bridge
3. Drink like a local at Lawson’s Finest Liquids
Visiting Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Waitsfield, Vermont, is a journey into the world of craft brewing excellence. Founded in 2008 as a small home-based brewery, Lawson's Finest has grown into a renowned establishment, celebrated for its exceptional beers. In 2018, they opened their destination Brewery, Taproom, and Retail store in Waitsfield, providing a welcoming space for beer enthusiasts. The taproom offers a vast selection of Lawson's amazing beers on tap, including their flagship IPA, Sip of Sunshine, which has garnered a devoted following. The spacious taproom and outdoor patios provide a comfortable setting to savor these craft creations, and their food menu, featuring items like Green Mountain Twisters Pretzel and Vegetarian Kale Reuben, perfectly complements the beer selection. Whether you're a craft beer connoisseur or simply looking for a delightful experience, a visit to Lawson’s Finest Liquids is a treat for the senses.
Learn more at lawsonsfinest.com
4. Enjoy the freshest produce and syrup at Hartshorn's Organic Farm Stand & Maple Sugar House
Hartshorn's Organic Farm Stand & Maple Sugar House in Waitsfield, Vermont, stands as a beacon of sustainable and regenerative farming, offering a delightful array of certified organic produce. From the roadside farm stand, brimming with delicious and healthy vegetables, fruits, flowers, to the enticing pick-your-own strawberries and blueberries, Hartshorn's brings the essence of Vermont's bountiful harvest to the community. The farm takes pride in its maple sugar house, where visitors can witness the fascinating process of sap transforming into syrup during select days in early spring, with the added bonus of tasting their award-winning natural Hartshorn maple syrup. Beyond the farm's delectable offerings, they extend their commitment to providing unique experiences, offering food and farm tours, personal growth and wellness retreats, the Vermont Farm Immersion Program, and whimsical cow train rides, accompanied by their mouthwatering flatbread pizza and other special events. As stewards of the land and advocates for holistic living, Hartshorn's invites you to immerse yourself in their world, promising experiences that are not only transformative but also deeply inspiring. Be sure to check their Facebook page for up-to-date information on these enchanting events.
Learn more at hartshornfarm.com
5. Hike to the legendary Wu Ledges
Hiking the Wu Ledges in Waitsfield, Vermont is a delightful outdoor experience offering breathtaking views of the Mad River Valley and its picturesque surroundings. Located within the Wu Ledges Town Forest, a 145-acre natural haven owned by the Town of Waitsfield, this area boasts diverse habitats, dense woodlands, and captivating bedrock outcrops. The Wu Ledges Trail, a 1.6-mile loop trail with a gentle 160-foot elevation gain, provides a leisurely hike suitable for all skill levels. It typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour to complete, making it a perfect choice for a quick adventure. Hikers are welcome to bring their furry friends along on leashes, and there's no parking fee, making it a convenient and enjoyable way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Mad River Valley.
Learn more about the Wu Ledges Trail
6. Enjoy a swim at beloved Lareau Park swimming hole
Enjoying a refreshing swim at the swimming hole in Lareau Park, Waitsfield, Vermont, is a perfect way to spend a summer day. Nestled off Route 100, just across from the Lareau Farm Inn, this swimming hole offers something for everyone in the family. Near the shore, the waters are shallow and safe, ideal for little ones who are still learning to swim. For the adventurous souls, there are rocks on the opposite side of the river, providing a thrilling seven-foot-tall platform to leap into the cool, 12-foot-deep water. While diving is not recommended, there's ample space for swimming and snorkeling. The area also features a sandy bank, a grassy picnic area, parking, and restroom facilities, making it convenient for a day out with friends or family. Consider bringing a picnic and a blanket to make the most of your visit, or cap off your day with a delicious dinner at American Flatbread, located just down the road.
7. Grab a slice at American Flatbread
We can't just mention American Flatbread without highlighting just how awesome this restaurant is. The American Flatbread restaurant at Lareau Farm is a culinary gem with a rich history. Established in 1985, this charming eatery is the original home of American Flatbread, situated on a historic 25-acre farmstead in the picturesque Mad River Valley. The Lareau Farm offers an array of attractions, including a welcoming bed and breakfast, the renowned American Flatbread restaurant, a scenic wedding venue, and event space, 10 acres of flourishing gardens, a small menagerie of chickens and pigs, inviting walking and mountain bike trails, and even art galleries housed in the Big Red Barn.
What truly sets this restaurant apart is its wood-fired, clay oven at the center of the dining room, where skilled artisans craft mouthwatering pizzas every night. The oven imparts a unique flavor and texture to the pizzas, featuring a superior crust and tender crumb that can only be achieved in these traditional masonry-style ovens. American Flatbread takes pride in sourcing nearly everything locally, from the delectable pizza toppings to the fresh salad ingredients and even the beverages, including a delightful selection of local and other beers. To top off your meal, indulge in their tempting homemade desserts and generous servings of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. The restaurant also offers a pleasant outdoor area with a spacious fire pit, creating a warm and inviting ambiance that makes it the perfect place to dine, unwind, and savor the flavors of Vermont.
Learn more at americanflatbread.com/locations/waitsfield
8. Admire the historic Pine Brook Covered Bridge
Nestled in the serene beauty of Waitsfield, Vermont, the Pine Brook Covered Bridge, also affectionately known as the Wilder Covered Bridge, stands as a testament to the area's rich history. This wooden covered bridge gracefully arches over Pine Brook on North Road, providing a picturesque crossing for a single lane of traffic. As you approach, take a moment to appreciate its historic charm and design, which harks back to its construction in 1872, making it just a few decades older than the nearby Waitsfield Covered Bridge. The Pine Brook Covered Bridge boasts an architectural marvel consisting of two king post trusses, spanning a length of 48 feet. Remarkably, it is one of only two remaining historic covered bridges in Vermont that feature this iconic king post design, the other being the Stony Brook Covered Bridge. It comes as no surprise that this bridge was recognized for its historical significance, earning a well-deserved place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Learn more about the Pine Brook Covered Bridge
9. Grab a meal and take in a movie at the Big Picture Theater & Cafe
The Big Picture Theater & Cafe in Waitsfield, Vermont, is an absolute gem for locals and visitors alike. This intimate movie theater, nestled just off Route 100 in the same plaza as Lawson's Finest Liquids, offers an unforgettable cinematic experience. What sets it apart is the combination of its warm, welcoming atmosphere, top-notch movies, and delectable dining options.
Whether you're in the mood for a hearty meal, famed maple doughnuts on weekends, or a cozy drink at the bar, this venue has you covered. Open four days a week, the Big Picture sources its ingredients locally whenever possible, ensuring everything is homemade with love. Beyond the cinematic magic, this place also hosts live music and some of the coolest festivals in the area, making it a cultural hub that's cherished by the community. (Seriously, the weekend donuts may be the best food in all of Vermont - these little maple beauties are handmade and served hot!)
Learn more at bigpicturetheater.info
10. Shop at the von Trapp Farmstead Farm Store
The von Trapp Family Farm in Waitsfield, Vermont, is a storied and picturesque operation with a rich history dating back to its founding in 1959. Werner and Erika von Trapp, of the famed von Trapp family portrayed in "The Sound of Music," initiated this legacy. Today, the farm thrives under the stewardship of their son, Martin, and his wife, Kelly, who oversee the organic dairy, while their eldest son, Sebastian, and his wife, Molly, manage the cheesemaking side of the operation.
The von Trapp Family Farm is known for its commitment to organic regenerative farming, focusing on producing world-class, distinctive Vermont cheeses, yogurts, and pastured meats. The Farm Store, nestled into the northwest corner of the barn, showcases their certified organic farmstead products, along with a curated selection of goods from over 40 different Vermont producers. It's not just a farm; it's a testament to the von Trapp family's enduring dedication to quality, local food, and sustainable practices.
Learn more at vontrappfarmstead.com
11. Enjoy some fresh Mexican food at The Mad Taco
Speaking of the von Trapp family, another establishment run by a von Trapp is the legendary taco shop, known as The Mad Taco. The establishment is run by Georgia von Trapp and her partner Joey Nagy. The Mad Taco in Waitsfield, Vermont, is a culinary gem that lives up to its name with a madly delicious array of Mexican-inspired dishes. Established with a commitment to offering the finest Mexican food, this restaurant has become an instant hit.
At The Mad Taco, you can embark on a flavor-packed journey with over a dozen different types of tacos, ranging from Smoked Pork and kimchi to Carnitas, Shrimp, and Achiote Chicken. Vegetarian options like roasted yams and seitan cater to all preferences. What makes this spot even more special is its dedication to craft beer, house-smoked meats, and handcrafted hot sauces, creating a symphony of tastes that keep patrons coming back for more. Everything you taste will be extremely fresh due to the owners’ commitment to sourcing local ingredients. The owners also run Marble Hill Farm and this farm supplies tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, greens, cilantro, herbs, and several other vegetables to the restaurant.
The success of The Mad Taco has led to the opening of additional locations in Montpelier, Middlebury, and Essex, but visiting the original Waitsfield establishment provides a taste of where the magic began. Whether you opt for a taco, burrito, sandwich, or platter, The Mad Taco is the perfect place to fuel your adventure in the Mad River Valley.
Learn more at themadtaco.com
12. Grab a coffee and some treats at Three Mountain Cafe
Three Mountain Cafe in Waitsfield, Vermont, is a delightful coffee shop that invites patrons to experience the joy of specialty coffees, delectable bakery goods, and mouthwatering breakfast and lunch options. What sets this cafe apart is its commitment to inclusivity; it maintains a unified and neurodiverse staff, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all. The interior of Three Mountain Cafe exudes a fun and cozy ambiance, aiming to transport you to a sunny paradise even on the cloudiest of days. The cafe is not just about coffee and food; it's about serving up a generous dose of good cheer with every order.
Whether you're craving a morning pick-me-up or a satisfying lunch, this cafe has you covered. Operating daily, with weekday hours from 7 am to 3:30 pm and weekend hours from 8 am to 3:30 pm, Three Mountain Cafe ensures you have ample opportunities to enjoy their offerings.
And don't miss their delightful donuts, available on Tuesdays. Pre-ordering online is highly recommended to savor these delectable treats, with options like Vermont Maple Glazed, Lemon Beauty, Savory Tomato and Cheese, and Blueberry Cheesecake Donuts, to name a few. Your visit to Waitsfield isn't complete without a stop at Three Mountain Cafe for a taste of their inviting and inclusive hospitality.
Learn more at threemountaincafe.com
13. Hike along the Phen Basin Trail
Hiking the Phen Basin Trail in Waitsfield, Vermont, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored by outdoor enthusiasts. This scenic trail, roughly 4 miles out and back, begins at the Battleground Condominiums and offers a tranquil escape into nature. While the trail can be challenging in parts, it's suitable for both snowshoes and cross-country skis, making it a year-round destination for hikers and outdoor lovers.
The trail starts with a steep climb, leading you into the heart of the forest. As you continue, the path becomes gradually uphill, with the melodious sound of the river to your right providing a soothing backdrop. After approximately 2 miles, you'll discover a series of picturesque beaver ponds, creating a perfect spot for a relaxing picnic.
One of the trail's distinctive features is its relative obscurity. While it may not be as well-known as some other hiking spots, it's precisely this hidden quality that makes it an appealing choice for those who want to explore the Vermont wilderness in peace. The trail's serene beauty, wide hiking path (originally a logging road), and dog-friendly nature make it a fantastic choice for individuals and families seeking a day of outdoor adventure.
Learn more about the Phen Basin Trail
14. Schedule a visit to the Bundy Modern Art Museum
Bundy Modern in Waitsfield, Vermont, is a unique and stunning space that seamlessly blends art with nature. Designed in 1962 by Harvard GSD architect Harlow Carpenter, this gallery was envisioned to harmonize with its natural surroundings and provide breathtaking mountain views through its expansive glass walls. Located at 361 Bundy Road, it stands as a testament to the Bauhaus style and Carpenter's architectural prowess.
The Bundy Modern continues to be a hub of artistic expression, hosting various exhibitions throughout the year, all open to the public. For those interested in visiting during non-exhibition times, private appointments can be arranged by contacting owner Wendell Anderson at 802-777-2713 or via email at email@example.com. Whether you're an art enthusiast or simply appreciate innovative architecture, Bundy Modern offers an inspiring experience that seamlessly connects art and the environment.
Learn more at bundymodern.com
15. Complete the beautiful Catamount and Harris Hill Trail Loop
The Catamount and Harris Hill Trail in Waitsfield, Vermont, offers outdoor enthusiasts a delightful 2.3-mile loop adventure with a manageable 330 feet of elevation gain. This family-friendly trail, rated as easy, typically takes about an hour to complete, making it perfect for a leisurely outing.
Whether you're into cross-country skiing, hiking, or mountain biking, the Catamount and Harris Hill Trail has something for everyone. One of its unique appeals is its relative solitude; you're likely to enjoy the serenity of nature without encountering hordes of fellow explorers.
To access this picturesque trail, park in the convenient gravel lot located on the opposite side of German Flats Road from Fayston Elementary School. The trailhead leads you over Chase Brook and into the lush forest, where you'll wind through rocky terrain and occasionally encounter exposed roots. In areas prone to wetness, sturdy bog bridges ensure you stay comfortably dry. Enjoy the tranquility of the Catamount and Harris Hill Trail, a hidden gem in Waitsfield, Vermont.
Learn more about the Catamount and Harris Hill Trail Loop
16. Shop like a local at the Waitsfield Farmers Market
The Waitsfield Farmers Market in Vermont is a cherished gathering spot for those who hold a deep appreciation for the state's farmers and artisans. Established in 1993, this market has been a symbol of Vermont's commitment to locally sourced, high-quality products. Every Saturday from May to October, regardless of the weather, you'll find the market's carefully curated group of local Vermont businesses on the Mad River Green just off Route 100. From 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, visitors can explore an array of offerings, including local produce, plant starts, fruit trees, maple syrup, honey, flowers, seedlings, eggs, meats, cheeses, fish, crafts, art, clothing, bread, baked goods, liquors, and prepared foods - all proudly crafted by Vermonters. The Waitsfield Farmers Market is a vibrant celebration of Vermont's rich agricultural heritage and creative artistry.
Learn more at waitsfieldfarmersmarket.com
17. End the day with an ice cream from Canteen Creemee Company
The best way to end any day is with ice cream for dessert and the best way to end any guide is by mentioning the best local spot for a sweet treat. Canteen Creemee Company in Waitsfield, Vermont, stands as a celebrated destination for a quintessential Vermont treat: creemees. The debate over the exact spelling—creemee, creemie, or creamie—may continue, but there's unanimous agreement that Vermont's version of soft-serve ice cream, infused with real maple syrup, reigns supreme. Canteen Creemee Company takes this frosty delight to another level with its Maple Madness sundae, an indulgent creation adorned with maple cotton candy and maple crystals.
Conveniently located in a shopping center along Route 100 in Waitsfield, this snack bar is a must-stop for those traveling through the area. The menu features a mouthwatering array of road food that's sure to satisfy cravings and keep you fueled for your journey. Plus, the restaurant boasts modern and creative offerings that change daily, ensuring a delightful surprise with each visit.
Whether you're seeking the best creemee in Vermont, in the mood for some outstanding fried chicken, or simply passing through on your way to nearby Sugarbush and Mad River Glen, Canteen Creemee Company is a delectable roadside gem you won't want to miss. Open year-round from Thursday through Sunday, it's the perfect spot to savor a taste of Vermont's culinary excellence.
Learn more at canteencreemee.com
As we conclude our exploration of Waitsfield, Vermont, we've only scratched the surface of what this enchanting town has to offer. Whether you're drawn to its rich history, outdoor adventures, farm-fresh flavors, or simply the serene beauty of the Green Mountains, Waitsfield provides a warm and welcoming escape. From the historic Waitsfield Covered Bridge and Pine Brook Covered Bridge to the world-class skiing opportunities at Mad River Glen and Sugarbush, this town invites you to create cherished memories every season. So, whether you're savoring local produce at the von Trapp Farmstead Farm Store or indulging in the diverse culinary delights of the area's restaurants, Waitsfield beckons you to immerse yourself in its unique blend of tradition and modernity, ensuring an unforgettable Vermont experience.
Be sure to check out our guide for the 15 best things to do in Warren, Vermont too. This is one of the best areas in all of Vermont!