A Complete Guide to Vermont's Route 100 Scenic Drive

Aerial view of morning fog over mountains near Stowe, VT in autumn along Scenic Route 100

VisionsofAmerica / Joe Sohm / Getty Images

There are 10 designated Vermont byways, all worthy routes for drivers who want to explore the Green Mountain State's history, artistry, culinary delights, and natural wonders. Of them, the Vermont Scenic Route 100 Byway is a popular standout. Begin your journey from Route 100's southern end in Stamford, Vermont, just across the Massachusetts border, and you'll instantly discover that Vermont's longest single highway isn't highway-like at all. As Route 100 meanders north for just over 216 miles—practically the entire length of the state—it slices a corridor through the very center of the state, tracing the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest and visiting 33 storybook Vermont small towns.

How long does it take to drive the entire length of VT-100, all the way to Newport, Vermont, just shy of the Canadian border? You could make the trip in about five hours without stops, and it would be a splendidly scenic ride. But you could just as easily spend five days poking around along this mountain road, stopping to shop, dine, hike, sightsee, and, of course, snap selfies. Many travelers choose just a segment of Route 100 for a day's outing, particularly in the fall when traffic clogs this major artery. This guide will help you find Route 100's highlights, but the best part of hitting this classic road, whether in a car or on a motorcycle, is pulling over or detouring whenever something catches your eye and making the trip your own.

The Best Time to Drive Vermont's Route 100

Route 100 would not be a fun drive in a massive downpour or blinding blizzard, but otherwise, there is no wrong time of year for an adventure along this well-maintained road. Driving and stopping along Vermont Route 100 in the fall is a leaf peeper's dream. The annual color change begins in late September in the state's northern regions and higher elevations and works its way south through the first three weeks of October, so conditions are likely to be optimal somewhere along VT-100 for the better part of a month. Summertime is equally gorgeous, though, when the Green Mountains are their characteristic lush green and outdoor recreational opportunities abound. In the winter, this corridor is known as the Skier's Highway, as it is the escape route for snow lovers bound for Vermont's most popular ski areas: Mount Snow, Stratton, Okemo, Killington, Sugarbush, and Stowe.

Vermont Route 100 Drive - Stowe
DonLand / Getty Images

Highlights Along the Vermont Scenic Route 100 Byway

Route 100's allure is its multitude of "only in Vermont" stops. Here are 10 (from south to north) that are musts:

  • Grandma Miller's (Londonderry): Head to Grandma Miller's red barn bakery for beloved Vermont-baked goods including fruit, nut, and meat pies; fresh-baked pastries, cakes, and quick breads; granola; doughnuts; and frozen tubs of cookie dough.
  • Vermont Country Store (Weston): This dog-friendly shopping destination is legendary for its eclectic wares, from Vermont-made gifts and gourmet foods to flannel apparel and hard-to-find items you were sure no longer existed. The original Vermont Country Store was founded in 1946, and travelers on Route 100 find it nearly impossible to just drive by.
  • Green Mountain Sugar House (Ludlow): Everything maple-y awaits at this waterside, red-roofed sugarhouse where the photo ops are as sweet as the syrups, candies, and soft-serve maple creemees. Spring is sugaring season, but you'll love shopping here year-round for a full slate of Vermont food products including smoked meats, cheeses, honey, and coffee.
  • President Calvin Coolidge Historic Site (Plymouth): It isn't just the birthplace of America's 30th president that is preserved for visitors to experience. Explore the entire village of Plymouth Notch, including the still-operating cheese factory, and learn how Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office and operated his summer White House right here in the place where he was born and raised.
  • Moss Glen Falls (Granville): Between Rochester and Warren, keep an eye out for this 35-foot waterfall on the western side of Route 100. It's most impressive in the spring, as snowmelt adds to the volume of water tumbling in a horsetail over dark rocks. From the parking lot, a small bridge leads to a viewing deck, which makes this lovely cascade easy to photograph.
  • Mad River Glass Gallery (Waitsfield): Observe as glassblowers Melanie and David Leppla—whose work is in private and museum collections—practice their ancient craft with a modern, Vermont twist. Their gallery is a gorgeous place to appreciate the wonders of glass.
  • Ben & Jerry's Factory (Waterbury): Childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield turned a $5 ice-cream-making correspondence course into one of Vermont's most successful and socially responsible businesses and one of the top ice cream brands out there. In addition to touring the factory where these pleasing pints originate, you can visit the Flavor Graveyard and Scoop Shop.
  • Cold Hollow Cider Mill (Waterbury Center): Fall is the busiest time of year at Vermont's best cider mill, where you can watch as apples are pressed into sweet cider. You'll be even more mesmerized by the donut robots, which turn out the hot cider donuts that are in demand year-round. Plan to stick around for a while to shop for gifts and gourmet products, taste hard ciders, and take advantage of photo ops.
  • Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum (Stowe): It doesn't have to be a bluebird day for you to immerse yourself in Vermont's ski scene. Learn about the history of skiing and riding in the state at this artifact-filled museum in an 1818 meeting house.
  • The Alchemist (Stowe): It may be a short jog off of Route 100, but if you're a beer lover and you're this close, you'll want to visit one of Vermont's best breweries, where Heady Topper, the double IPA that really put Vermont on the world beer map, is crafted.
small waterfall tricking over moss covered rocks
Reimar Gaertner / UIG / Getty Images

Where to Stay on and Near VT-100

Year-round, you'll find Airbnbs and ski-area condos, like those at Sugarbush Village, convenient for multi-day stays in Vermont's Route 100 region. Consider these other lodging options (from south to north) if you're planning to spend several days driving Vermont's Route 100, and make reservations well in advance for holiday, fall foliage, and ski season weekends:

  • Deerhill Inn: Views of the Green Mountains, fine dining on-site, and a notable wine cellar make this West Dover inn a perfect home base, especially during fall foliage season.
  • The Lodge at Bromley: For simple, clean, family-friendly accommodations and an unbeatable mountain view, detour 7 miles off Route 100 to this lodging property on Route 11 in Peru.
  • The Trailside Inn: Near Killington, this updated ski lodge oozes Vermont charm and offers an affordable and comfortable place to rest your head. Don't ski? Borrow sleds or rent snowshoes and set out for winter fun right on inn grounds, knowing a roaring fire awaits in the Great Room on cold, dark nights.
  • Lareau Farm Inn: Choose from a dozen bright and cheery B&B rooms at this historic farmhouse turned inn in Waitsfield.
  • The Pitcher Inn: With rustic-themed yet incredibly posh rooms, upscale dining, and glorious fireplaces to warm you, this inn just off Route 100 in Warren is worth the splurge if you're looking for romance.
  • Field Guide Lodge: Just off Route 100 in Stowe, this Lark Hotels property has nostalgic yet youthful energy and style, plus perks like complimentary breakfast and an outdoor pool, hot tub, and fire pit.
red farm house in a green field. the sky over head is gray but there is a rainbow in the distance
Bryan Pocius / Flickr

Where to Eat Along Vermont Route 100

These Route 100 restaurants (from south to north) are ideal places to sample the flavors of Vermont:

  • Garden Cafe and Gallery: Multitask at this Londonderry, Vermont, destination where you can pick up picnic foods to go, shop for local gourmet and gift products, admire art by Vermonters, and enjoy dinner beside a wood fire.
  • The Downtown Grocery: One of Vermont's top chefs, Rogan Lechthaler, helms the kitchen at this cozy bistro near Okemo Mountain in Ludlow. Save room for desserts made with Vermont ingredients like apples and maple syrup.
  • The Wild Fern: This enchanting, vegan-friendly cafe right on Route 100 in Stockbridge, Vermont, is known as much for live music as it is for its fresh-baked breads and bagels and hearty soups, pizzas, and burgers.
  • Sandy's Books and Bakery: In tiny Rochester, Vermont, you can browse rooms of books while your bagel's toasting and your soup is being ladled at this cute stop for homebaked treats and coffee drinks. 
  • American Flatbread: Vermont's own take on pizza was originated at the historic, 25-acre Lareau Farm in Waitsfield, where you can still savor wood-fired, bubbly-crusted flatbreads topped with fresh, sustainable ingredients.
  • Michael's on the Hill: You'll find one of Vermont's best farm-to-table restaurants situated on a hill in Waterbury Center overlooking Route 100 and scenic mountain peaks. Swiss chef Michael Kloeti is known for using local, organic Vermont ingredients in European-style comfort food dishes.
  • Plate: In Stowe, this rustic restaurant is perfect for a romantic meal featuring beautifully plated fare made with Vermont-grown raw materials. Vegan options are available.

Tips for VT-100 Travelers

  • Pay close attention to posted speed limits and don't let the scenery distract you from obeying them. Along open stretches, the speed limit is typically 50 mph, but as you motor through small towns, it may drop to as low as 35 or even 25 mph. Be especially cautious in the 35 mph zone in Plymouth: a spot that is notorious for the number of speeding tickets issued each year.
  • Use an app like Yelp to find restaurants that are just off Route 100 and missed by many tourists.
  • Share the road with fewer drivers by traveling Route 100 midweek, particularly during the height of the fall and ski seasons.
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