At the heart of Middlebury is our beautiful, historic downtown with all its New England charms.
Stroll these streets and you’ll get a window into our slower pace of life and begin to fall in love with our small Vermont town.
What’s it like downtown? Well-kept buildings of old brick and stone line the streets, beckoning window shoppers with their variety of locally owned shops and restaurants. Stone walls invite pedestrians to sit and enjoy the kaleidoscope of flowers planted nearby. A bridge in the town center draws tourists and residents alike with its view of the dramatic 20-foot Otter Creek Waterfall. A white church spire rises dramatically above the town green, putting the finishing touch the quintessential New England scene.
A walk through downtown Middlebury in the early morning hours means the smell of freshly baked goods and delightfully strong coffee. Later in the day it is sidewalks busy with families and visitors ambling in and out of shops. In the evening it’s couples and students out for a bite to eat at a number of popular restaurants. Whatever the time or season, downtown Middlebury has something delightful to offer.
Middlebury’s past shapes the present
Almost from the year of its founding, Middlebury has been a town of significance in the state of Vermont—a leader in invention, manufacturing, agriculture, and education. The Vermont marble industry was born here, supplying markets from Quebec to Georgia. Here, too, were found the second set of power looms built in New England, the first nail and window sash factories in Vermont, and later, mills supplying Victorian wood detailing for much of the west-central part of the state. Middlebury was the home of the first community-founded college in the United States, the first institution of higher learning for women, and the first chartered village museum. It was a center for the Merino sheep industry and later for the breeding of Morgan horses. As early as 1810 the booming village on the Otter inspired President Timothy Dwight of Yale to write: “On the whole Middlebury is one of the most prosperous and most virtuous towns in New England.”
To view an online edition of the Sheldon Museum’s book A Walking History of Middlebury by Glenn Andres, click here: http://henrysheldonmuseum.org/archives/ and find the link.
Be sure to stroll through historic Marble Works while in Middlebury’s downtown. Amongst the beautiful stone and marble, you’ll find an eclectic mix of businesses, including restaurants, a yoga studio and retail merchants.
Be sure to spend some time at River Front park, which offers the best view of Middlebury’s falls.