Needing to get away from the city life, I decided I was going to head into Manchester, Vermont for some hiking, riding, and swimming. No trip in the woods would be complete without someone to save your ass, so I got ahold of Will Bruce to keep me alive while hiking up the Appalachian Trail to Spruce Peak.
The Trail is chock full of wildlife, all sorts of crazy rock formations and plants, and fresh spring water coming out the face of the mountain that tastes better than any bottle of water you’ll ever buy. The Trail can get pretty rough in some places, but packing smart and light and having comfortable shoes can make it a very enjoyable experience.
At the top of the mountain, there’s a municipal cabin for all who hike the trail, complete with bunks, a fireplace, and a table. Within the cabin, there’s a travel log with all kinds of hilarious stories and writings from travelers from the years. This person in particular got stuck in the cabin with a group of Yuppies from New York City and indicates their distaste for pages on end.
After getting a good night’s sleep in the cabin, you can hike back to the cars, where this wonderful gloryhole is only 5 minutes up the road. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t hold for us, but I have these leftovers from Gypsy Tour 3 to show you its real beauty. Deep, fast, and smooth; absolutely perfect to bring along the skateboard and the bike and spend an entire day hanging out and shredding.
Once you’ve worked yourself up an appetite, the small Village of Manchester has an assortment of locally owned shops and deli’s. For us getting this buffalo chicken pizza was a must.
It’s incredible how everything is so close in this town, and only another 5 minutes down the road lies the Manchester Skatepark, which has lots of nice big box jumps and spines. Due to the unpredictable mountain weather, it was dry enough for us to ride for about 15 minutes before the rain came down and ended all hopes of riding for the day. These ramps are covered in painted sheet metal so once they get wet, it’s game over.
Information about Manchester, Vermont:
Approximate Travel Time (from Syracuse, NY): 4 hrs, 20 minutes
Random Fact: The state of Vermont actually owns all the alcohol that it sells, which requires a separate transaction when buying other goods with it (cigarettes, mixers, etc.).
Riding: A mega bowl and a super awesome skatepark are within 15 minutes of each other. There were fun looking rails all over the village, but the weather kept us from exploring.
Favorite Place for Brew: BYOB up the mountain, there’s a liquor store in town. I recommend the hard stuff because bringing a 12 pack three miles up the face of the mountain sucks.
Favorite Place for Pizza: Christo’s.
Don’t Forget Your… : Sleeping Pad. The wood in the cabin is not soft.
Quick Story : We took a chance with the weather on this trip and got shut down hard. After hiking all the way up the mountain in a drizzle, it really hit us hard. Soaking wet and the temperature dropping to almost 40 degrees, Will was actually able to start a fire fairly quickly with Birch Bark while all the wood was completely drenched. The stuff burns like it’s soaked in gasoline and could help you out big time if you’re ever stuck in a situation like we were.
Once the riding is over, the real fun is going to the quarry which is only a quarter mile from the Manchester Skatepark. Cliff jumping and swimming in the cool water after a long day of riding is the perfect end to a day.