Traveling as a Neurodiverse Family can be tricky at times, but visiting Manchester, Vermont earlier this month truly showed us that it can be done with relative ease. There is so much to do in Manchester with kids.
Accepting that we are indeed a neurodivergent family has truly been a blessing in disguise. By owning who we are, we are able to be vocal about asking for any and every accommodation we need.
Prior to having our diagnosis, I would bend over backwards to mask our symptoms in the hopes that we could fly under the radar. But I’ve found that if you tell people what you need they are truly accommodating.
What to do in Manchester with Kids
Our recent trip to Manchester, Vermont was proof positive that our whole family doesn’t have to miss out on the joys of travel just because we have a few quirks that the average person may or may not understand.
When it comes to planning a vacation for a Neurodiverse family, finding the right accommodations is crucial. Manchester, Vermont offers a range of options that cater to the specific needs of individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as those of us who are not autistic, but still have sensory sensitivities.
From hotels with quiet zones and sensory-friendly rooms to vacation rentals with private outdoor spaces, there are numerous choices available to ensure a comfortable stay for the whole family.
Manchester, Vermont Where to Stay with the Entire Family
When I was trying to come up with an itinerary for what to do in Manchester with kids, finding a place to stay was high on our list of priorities. We chose to stay at Kimpton Taconic Hotel and I couldn’t recommend a more serene and relaxing boutique hotel.
Nestled amidst the serene beauty of Manchester, Vermont, the Taconic Kimpton Hotel seamlessly combines rustic charm with contemporary luxury. While this is a popular and bustling hotel, with a fabulous restaurant on site (The Copper Grouse), we didn’t feel the bustle, if that makes sense.
It was calm, it was relaxing, it was everything we needed and more. We’ve stayed in luxury hotels where we have felt almost instantly that we were out of place. Mostly because we were the only black family on the property. And while that may have been the case here, too, we didn’t feel it.
We felt right at home. Not only that, they accommodated every request, even going so far as to make sure our kids had their favorite beverage in the room waiting for us upon arrival.
The hotel restaurant, The Copper Grouse, was also a ten out of ten. Our food was fresh and tasty, and they didn’t mind making anything to our specifications. If you want to know where to stay in Manchester
Book Your Stay HERE.
Some of the other hotel amenities include:
- Nightly manager-hosted evening social hour from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
- Morning coffee and organic tea service in the Living Room
- Heated pool perfect for adults and children reopening May 2023
- A yoga mat in every guest room and yoga mat roll-out service available upon request
- Custom designed Micro Kickboard scooters available in two children’s sizes for complimentary use during your stay (along with Nutcase helmets). Ask our staff for safety tips and recommendations on destinations to explore.
- Through our Kimpton Plant Pals Program, guests can request to have a plant placed in their room to brighten their stay. Simply ask the front desk.
- Our complimentary On-Demand Family Fridge Program helps guests safely store breast milk while staying with us. Upon request, one of our dedicated Mini Me Milk Fridges will be
- 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center
With its picturesque location, the Taconic Kimpton Hotel also serves as a gateway to explore the surrounding natural wonders, including hiking trails, scenic drives, and charming shops.
We were only in town a short while, so we missed out on some of the trails, but we hope to be back in the fall to take in more of this amazing property.
Manchester, Vermont Where to eat
Everywhere! No, but seriously, the food in Manchester, Vermont is amazing. We stuck to traditional American cuisine, and found ourselves taken a back by the flavor of the foods we eat all the time.
The Copper Grouse mentioned above is a hit, but there are several others we enjoyed as well. There really is something to be said about farm fresh food.
Our favorite picks for places to eat include:
1.Dorset Bakery: Everything is made to order, and my kids didn’t leave a morsel behind. Likewise, the salads we had for lunch were flavorful and fresh. Also, it was quiet, which is what we like. Our kids were free to be themselves, and we were happy to eat!
2. The Grange at Hill Farm is located on the most picturesque property I’ve seen yet. The views of the mountain are breathtaking. We also had the pleasure of feeding the alpacas out back right before dinner so that was an added bonus.
We did go during pizza night, which was pretty perfect because it’s one of the few foods my kids will actually eat. If you do have picky eaters in your family, just check in to see what’s on the menu before visiting. The cocktails were yummy, too.
Manchester, Vermont What to do
mount Equinox Skyline Drive
Visiting the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive is an absolute must for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of Manchester, Vermont. I won’t lie, I was scared to death and had to keep my eyes closed the entire drive up the mountain, but the views once you get to the top were worth it.
If you or anyone in your party is deathly afraid of heights, skip it, but if you can tolerate the fear do it! This scenic drive offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Green Mountains and allowing you to immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of the area.
As you wind your way up the mountain, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas that stretch for miles, providing the perfect backdrop for a memorable and instagram-worthy journey. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful escape, the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive is definitely a must for everyone.
Visit Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home
Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, was the highlight of the trip for me. I am a history buff, so this historic site located in the heart of Manchester, Vermont is perfect for homeschooling families like mine.
This site offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and learn about the life and legacy of the Lincoln family. Here are some of the highlights of what to see and do at Hildene:
- Explore the Main House: Begin your visit by exploring the stately Main House, where Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of President Abraham Lincoln, once lived. Take a guided tour through the beautifully preserved rooms, including the formal parlor, library, and bedrooms, and learn about the family’s history and the significance of Hildene.
What to do in Manchester with kids.
2. Visit the Formal Gardens: Hildene is renowned for its stunning formal gardens, which have been meticulously maintained since the time of the Lincolns. Take a leisurely stroll through the flower gardens, herb garden, and rock garden, and admire the colorful blooms and exquisite landscaping. The gardens offer a peaceful and picturesque setting for relaxation and reflection.
3. Explore the Sunbeam Pullman Car: One of the most unique attractions at Hildene is the restored Sunbeam Pullman Car, which was used by Robert Todd Lincoln and his family for travel. Step inside the luxurious car and imagine what it was like to travel in style during the early 20th century. The car is filled with original furnishings and artifacts, providing a glimpse into the past.
I also learned a lot about the Pullman porters who played a crucial role in American history, particularly during the era of the Pullman Company.
These African American men worked as attendants on these luxury passenger trains, providing excellent customer service and creating a comfortable travel experience for passengers. They also served as a source of cultural and social connection for African American communities and played a vital role in supporting civil rights initiatives.
Despite facing racial discrimination and segregation, many porters took pride in their work and used their positions to advocate for better working conditions and civil rights.
They worked 18 hour days, and were only able to make a living from the tips they received on the train. Their legacy as trailblazers and advocates for equality is an important part of American history. Learn more about them HERE.
4. Visit the Goat Dairy and Farm: Hildene is also home to a working goat dairy and farm, where visitors can learn about sustainable agriculture and the importance of preserving Vermont’s rural heritage. Take a tour of the farm and see the goats up close, or sample some of the delicious artisanal cheeses made on-site.
There are about 30 baby goats on property right now, so we were very excited to be able to pet and hold them. The farm offers a unique and educational experience for visitors of all ages, however, I would recommend avoiding weekends and days when schools and camps might visit.
What to do in Manchester with Kids
Play At pastime Pinball
Pastime Pinball in Manchester, Vermont is a must-visit destination for pinball enthusiasts and anyone looking for a fun and nostalgic experience. This unique arcade offers a wide selection of vintage pinball machines that will transport you back in time.
My kids can sometimes get overwhelmed by traditional gaming venues, so I think this is a nice place to take Neurodivergent kids who may not be able to handle all of the lights and noise at some of the nationally known gaming sites. I will warn you that some of the machines do have flashing lights, but it’s easy to stick to some of the older machines that do not incorporate lights.
Pastime Pinball features restored machines from different eras, so you can witness the evolution of pinball technology and experience the different gameplay styles. The owners are passionate collectors who provide guidance and share interesting facts about the machines. Pastime Pinball also hosts tournaments and events throughout the year, making it a welcoming and exciting place for players of all ages.
I was born and raised in New England and this was our first time taking the three hour drive to Vermont and I can’t begin to explain how breathtaking it is. Manchester, in particular, is gorgeous.
Manchester, Vermont is a wonderful destination for families seeking a memorable and enjoyable experience. Nestled in the beautiful Green Mountains, this charming town offers a wide range of activities that cater to children of all ages.
One of the highlights of Manchester is its natural beauty. Families can explore the picturesque hiking trails in the nearby Equinox Preserve or visit the stunning Lye Brook Falls, where kids can splash in the cascading waters and marvel at the surrounding nature. Additionally, the nearby Bromley Mountain Adventure Park provides a thrilling experience with its alpine slides, zip lines, and mini-golf courses.
For a dose of history and culture, families can visit the Hildene Museum and Gardens, the former estate of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln. Kids can explore the beautiful gardens, learn about the history of the Lincoln family, and even meet farm animals at the Hildene Farm.
Shopping enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to browse through the charming boutiques and specialty stores in Manchester’s historic downtown. The Northshire Bookstore, with its vast selection of children’s books and interactive storytelling events, is a must-visit for young bookworms.
To satisfy the taste buds, Manchester boasts an array of family-friendly dining options. Whether it’s savoring homemade ice cream at the local creameries, indulging in freshly baked goods at the local bakeries, or enjoying a family meal at one of the many cozy restaurants, there is something to please every palate.
Throughout the year, Manchester hosts various family-oriented events and festivals, such as the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival and the Manchester Merriment Holiday Events. These celebrations offer exciting entertainment, local crafts, and delicious treats that will surely captivate children and create lasting memories.
Manchester, Vermont provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and family-friendly activities. From outdoor adventures to educational attractions and delightful dining options, this charming town offers something for everyone in the family. So pack your bags and get ready for a memorable family getaway in Manchester, Vermont.
The neurodivergent Family’s Guide to Travel
This review is our first in an ongoing travel series we launched this summer. Our hope is to travel year round, highlighting fun and exciting destinations for Neurodiverse families such as ours. We all have sensory sensitivities, and we’re easily overwhelmed by too many people about.
Although we like excitement, we prefer to be in our own world where we can be ourselves without it being a “thing,” you know? Anyhoo, if you like this article, stick by for more as we have more travel content headed your way. We just got back from an 8 day stay in North Carolina, so get ready! We tons to share.
Please comment below if you would like to see more from this travel series.