For a town that has less than a thousand full-time residents, Greensboro and its surrounding areas are bustling with activities that will give your family a trip that you just can't find in other parts of the country ... or this region.
For a half day outing, plan to concentrate your time in Greensboro. For a full day trip, you can extend your reach to Hardwick, Craftsbury and Craftsbury Common. If you're lucky enough to have a whole weekend in this area, travel into the further reaches of Barton, Glover, Westmore, Orleans and Brownington.
The area is the epi-center of the "local food" movement. Hardwick is the subject of Ben Hewitt's book "The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality In Local Food," a fascinating examination of how a community used locally-grown food to create a local economy and lift itself into a healthier economy.
Spend A Half Day In Greensboro
Start your day out by browsing through Willey's Store on Breezy Avenue in Greensboro. It's a classic "if we don't have it, you don't need it" old-timey general store that's a favorite of locals. Lovers of beautiful things will want to visit Miller's Thumb Gallery, also on Breezy Avenue, to see locally-made products and artworks. They carry everything from jewelry to textiles to furniture.
Music lovers and art lovers shouldn't miss PÃ«r Guitars on The Bend Road in Greensboro Bend. PÃ«r makes beautiful custom guitars and invites you to visit his studio where he also occasionally teaches workshops and classes.
For the kid in all of us, don't miss the Down To Earth Worm Farm, also on The Bend Road. In addition to a nursery and gardening center, they have an entire worm farm. Yes, you read that right. A worm farm. The "Wacky Worm Sisters" raise composting worms and you can play a game of "the worms crawl in and the worms crawl out" while you're there.
Once you've crawled around in the dirt with the worms (or if you're just a little hot and tired from walking around town), head out for a swim at Caspian Lake.
If you're traveling with children and you catch it at the right time, don't miss Circus Smirkus under the big top in Greensboro (go to our calendar to see if they're performing while you're in town.)
Spend A Full Day In Hardwick, Craftsbury and Craftsbury Common
Start your morning with a cup of coffee and a book at Stardust Books and CafÃ© on North Craftsbury Road in Craftsbury Common.
If shopping is your thing, check out Lynn Flory's decorative and functional pottery at Mill Village Pottery on Mill Village Road in Craftsbury Common, then step back in time at the Craftsbury General Store on South Craftsbury Road in Craftsbury. You can even pick up a sandwich and the makings for a picnic lunch while you're there! For fresh salad greens and other local food delights, don't miss Pete's Greens Farm Stand, also on South Craftsbury Road.
Before leaving town, tour Sterling College on the common, where there are often farmers' markets and the famous Antiques and Uniques festival (see the calendar for details).
Move on to Hardwick to check out the Galaxy Bookshop, the farmers markets, and the Buffalo Mountain Co-op, where you can grab a bite to eat. If you want something sweet after lunch, head up to The Magic Spoon Bakery on Perry Lane Hill for some magical cookies and pastries.
There are more localvore opportunities at the Center for an Agricultural Economy's Vermont Food Venture Center, which is an incubator for agriculture-related businesses.
If you'd rather look at art than farms, you're also in luck! Visit GRACE (Grass Roots Arts and Community Effort), a program that has a gallery and runs community workshops in the old Firehouse on Mill Street. Next check out the Vermont Glass Workshop featuring the stained glass of Harry and Wendy Besett. Then head over to Ruby Charuby Weavings featuring Ruby Leslie's handwoven scarves, shawls and blankets, and the Hangman Gallery, featuring the work of local artists.
At the end of a day eating your way through the best local foods our area has to offer, you'll certainly be hungry for dinner! Claire's Restaurant on South Main Street in Hardwick is a must for a great farm-to-table dinner.
A Full Weekend In Barton, Glover, Westmore, Orleans, Brownington.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love the bike tours that are available in this area. Depending on your stamina, choose the 25, 50, 75, or 100 mile loops using the Terry and Ben Claassen Memorial NEK Lakes Century Tour routes. They start and end at Crystal Lake State Park, a great place to take kids for swimming.
Water lovers can spend a day kayaking, fishing and swimming on any of a number of local bodies of water: Crystal Lake, Willoughby Lake, Shadow Lake, Parker Pond, May Pond, Long Pond or Brownington Pond.
Families with kids can go to Wheeler Mountain in Barton for a kid-friendly hike. Hikes on Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor in Westmore will challenge the whole family. There's also a great hike that kids love off Wheeler Mountain Road (look for sign for camping area) where a path leads to the Gnome Staircase, a natural staircase in the river where kids can have a field day.
Brownington is rife with educational and historical opportunities with the Old Stone House Museum complex, including the Prospect Hill Observatory, a timber-frame barn being raised in June, blacksmith shop, hearth cooking and weaving and spinning classes, apple tree care workshops, among many other opportunities. Around the corner, families can go on rides on Fred Webster's stagecoach with Neal Perry and his horses.
When leaving Brownington, the whole family will love visiting the world-famous Evansville Trading Post and hitting the original archery golf course created by Robert Lyon on Cemetery Lane in Brownington.
Stop by Willoughby Falls for a great picnic and outdoor exploration area.
There's plenty to do on a rainy day as well! Check out antiques at Village Treasures and A Place Called Things, handmade teddy bears, gently used clothing, and antiques at Nana's Bears and Buttons and Threads in Glover, and step back in time at Currier's Quality Market in Glover.
Eating opportunities abound as well, with the B&W Snack Bar, Parson's Corner, and the Candlepin Lounge in Barton, Parker Pie Company and The Busy Bee in Glover, and the Willoughby Snack Shack, the Taphouse Restaurant, and Robin's Roost (a bar) in Westmore.
Finally, the Orleans County fairgrounds offer all sorts of activities for families throughout the summer as well.
Mentioned in this article:
PÃ«r Guitars - 281 The Bend Road, Greensboro Bend, 802-533-2444, perguitars.com
Miller's Thumb Gallery - 14 Breezy Ave, Greensboro, 802-533-2045, millersthumbgallery.com
Down To Earth Worm Farm - 281 The Bend Rd, Greensboro Bend, 802-533-9836, downtoearthwormfarmvt.com
Circus Smirkus - 1 Circus Road, Greensboro, 802-533-7443, smirkus.org
The Magic Spoon Bakery - 95 Perry Lane Hill, Hardwick, 802-472-5143, magicspoonbakery.com
Stardust Books And Cafe - 1376 N. Craftsbury Road, Craftsbury Common, 802-586-2200, stardustindependent.com
Mill Village Pottery - 6 Mill Village Road, Craftsbury Common, 802-586-9971
Craftsbury General Store - 118 South Craftsbury Road, Craftsbury, 802-586-2440 - craftsburygeneralstore.com
Pete's Greens Farm Stand - 266 South Craftsbury Road, Craftsbury, 802-586-2882 - petesgreens.com
Claire's Restaurant & Bar - 41 South Main St., Hardwick, 802-472-7053 - clairesvt.com
Crystal Lake State Park - 96 Bellwater Avenue, Barton, 802-525-6205 - vtstateparks.com/htm/crystal.htm
Old Stone House Museum - 109 Old Stone House Road, Orleans, 802-754-2022 - oldstonehousemuseum.org
Evansville Trading Post - 645 Evansville Road, Brownington, 802-754-6305 - evansvilletradingpost.com
Village Treasures - 52 Church St., Barton, 802-239-3012 - villagetreasures.blogspot.com
A Place Called Things - 3 Lake Street, Barton,
Nana's Bears - 123 Perron Hill Road, Glover, 802-525-8830
Currier's Quality Market - 1 Main St., Glover, 802-525-8822
B&W Snack Bar - 3098 Barton Orleans Road, Orleans, 802-525-8579
Parson's Corner - 14 Glover Road, Barton, 802-525-4500 - parsonscorner.com
Candlepin Lounge - 558 Barton Orleans Road, Barton, 802-525-7019
Parker Pie Company - 161 County Road, West Glover, 802-525-3366 - parkerpie.com
The Busy Bee - 2985 Glover St., Glover, 802-525-4800
Willoughby Snack Shack - Route 5A, Willoughby Lake Road, Brownington Center, 802-754-9967
Taphouse Restaurant - Route 5A, Westmore, 802-525-4347 - thetaphouserestaurant.com
Robin's Roost - Route 5A, Westmore, 802-525-4187 - robins-roost.com
Orleans County fairgrounds - 278 Roaring Brook Road, Barton, 802-525-3555 - orleanscountyfair.net
Craftsbury Outdoor Center - 535 Lost Nations Road, Craftsbury Common, 802-586-7767 - craftsbury.com
Information compiled by Jennifer Hersey Cleveland.