Dorset is a charming small town in southern Vermont, about 15 miles north of Arlington. Known for its quaint neighborhoods, rich history, and stunning mountains, Dorset is a welcoming place for all.
Whether you see the leaves change in early fall or explore the hiking and biking trails in the summer months, your visit to Dorset, Vermont will also include enjoying the peaceful town, welcoming community, and beautiful scenic views.
From seeing local plays to the top attractions in the area, Dorset is a beautiful New England town where you’ll be able to relax, recharge, and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
This post includes the best things to do in Dorset and the nearby towns as you plan your trip to one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
- Most significant landmark – Dorset Playhouse & Theater Festival
- Best park – Emerald Lake State Park
- Best free activity – Dorset Marble Quarry
- Best activity for kids – Bromley Mountain
- Best activity for adults – Hike the Green Mountains
- Best food – Dorset Farmers Market
- Best nightlife – Barrows House
- Best all-around accommodation – The Dorset Inn
Best & Fun Things to Do in Dorset, Vermont
1. Dorset Farmers Market
Address: 1430 VT-30, Dorset, VT 05251
Shop like the locals at the weekly Dorset Farmers Market, with fresh produce, home-baked bread, pastries, artisan cheese, wine, spirits, grass-fed beef, eggs, and pickled produce for sale by local farmers and vendors.
Along with shopping, you’ll find live music and hot meals to enjoy during your visit. Browse the vendor stalls and enjoy locally sourced maple syrup and many other treats from the region. It’s also a great spot for unique clothing items, souvenirs, and handmade home goods.
Bring the family, enjoy food from local restaurants, and spend some time outdoors in the perfect place in the community.
Dorset Farmers Market is open year-round on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm. In the summer months, the farmers market can be found at H.N. Williams General Store. In the winter, it’s located at J.K. Adams Kitchen Store.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Bennington, Vermont
2. Dorset Marble Quarry
Address: 1848 VT-30, Dorset, VT 05251
The first commercial marble quarry in the country is located just past the H.N. Williams Store in Dorset, Vermont. The quarry supplied marble for significant landmarks, including the New York Public Library, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Brown University’s Library.
The quarry has been filled with water since the 1920s, thanks to a mountain stream and a natural spring that keep the water cool. For those hot spring and summer days in Vermont, you’ll find locals and visitors sunbathing and swimming in the massive quarry’s chilly water to cool down and enjoy some swimming.
The marble quarry is breathtaking and must be seen in person to fully appreciate. The swimming hole is 60-feet deep and is surrounded by large slabs of marble.
Be sure to pack a picnic and enjoy your food in the grassy area near the water. Stretch out, get comfortable, and enjoy fun in the sun in this Vermont swimming hole.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Brattleboro, Vermont
3. Dorset Theatre Festival
Address: 104 Cheney Rd, Dorset, VT 05251
Located at the Dorset Playhouse every summer, the Dorset Theatre Festival is a summer-long professional theater that strives to create bold and authentic works that engage a diverse community. Locals, visitors, and tourists alike flock to the historic Dorset Playhouse each summer to witness the talent of artists, singers, actors, and performers right in the heart of Dorset, Vermont.
Previous productions by the Dorset Theatre Festival include the award-winning play Cry It Out, TheresaRebeck’s Downstairs, and Mrs. Christie by Heidi Armbruster.
Dorset Theatre Festival provides an opportunity for up-and-coming playwrights to get their feet wet in the theater and is committed to nurturing new plays that are innovative, authentic, and that celebrate humanity. If you’re in Dorset during the summer, seeing a play at the Dorset Theatre Festival is a must.
For lodging close by, locals and visitors alike adore The Dorset Inn for its 18th-century charm and dining options. If it’s nightlife you’re after in Dorset, know the town closes up fairly early.
Your best bet is one of the popular restaurants in town, including dining at The Dorset Inn or drinks at Barrows House. The latter serves craft beers and delicious gastropub food till 8:30 pm.
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4. 3 Pears Gallery
Address: 41 Church St, Dorset, VT 05251
Vermont-inspired art can be found at 3 Pears Gallery in Dorset. Featuring cohesive collections that range from contemporary to traditional offerings, 3 Pears Gallery rotates its art by season to consistently provide something fresh for shoppers and visitors.
From fine art, prints, photography, and sculptures, to pottery, jewelry, and soft goods, 3 Pears Gallery has something for everyone, regardless of style, vibe, or mood. The gallery features local artisans to foster community growth and exposure.
3 Pears Gallery is also very active in the Dorset community and hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including fundraisers, artist opening receptions, and much more.
If you have souvenirs to buy or simply love local art, a stop at 3 Pears Gallery on your trip to Dorset is a must. You’ll meet creative people and have the chance to purchase unique pieces of art for your home or to give as gifts to friends and family.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Montpelier, Vermont
5. Dorset Union Store
Address: 31 Church Street, Dorset, VT 05251
Since its opening in 1816, the Dorset Union Store has remained true to its Vermont roots. This quaint store offers local items, including hot sauce, craft beer, maple syrup, and granola. Hungry for lunch? Stop at the deli and order freshly made sandwiches, soups, and pizza. The bakery offers fresh pastries each morning.
The store’s most popular items are the dinner to-go options, tasty entrees like grilled chicken, fresh-caught salmon, and veggie lasagna. Toss in some sides, wine, and beer, and dinner is served!
The Union Store is also a grocery store and an ice cream shop. You can count on Dorset Union Store for all the local items you need during your trip to Vermont.
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6. H.N. Williams Store
Address: 2732 RT 30, Dorset, VT 05251
H.N.Williams Store is a family-owned and operated general store located in the heart of Dorset since 1840. With a rich history in Dorset and loyal local shoppers, H.N. Williams is one of the go-to shopping stops in town.
In the unique three-story shopping store, you’ll find men’s and women’s apparel, household goods, food, and wine, among many other items. The store offers an ample supply of Vermont maple syrup and other maple products that are popular with shoppers.
Grab a coffee and a pastry at the on-site coffee bar to enjoy as you shop. In town for fishing or hiking? Grab the outdoor supplies you need at H.N. Williams. Fill your tank up with gas on-site.
Need to grab sandwiches on your way out the door? A quick stop at H.N. Williams will get you everything you need.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Stowe, Vermont
7. Hike the Green Mountains and Nearby Areas
Home to a large network of hiking trails, the Green Mountain range in southern Vermont is a gigantic playground for outdoor activities. The Green Mountains offer hiking trails, biking, fishing, camping, kayaking, and canoeing in the summer.
In the winter, you can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. For an easy stroll, the Lower Prince Quarry hike is about 30 minutes long, and you’ll enjoy scenic views along the way. The Gettysburg Quarry Hike is nearly half a mile and provides an elevation change of 800 feet.
Explore The Pinnacle, a 100-year-old stone structure located on top of a hill above Dorset Village. At just one mile with a slight elevation gain of 250 feet, the hike is a perfect fit for those looking to spend an hour in nature.
Lastly, exploring Cutler Memorial Forest off Peace Street will provide you with relaxed walking paths and a bridge crossing the Mettawee River. It’s an easy 45-minute trip where you can enjoy the great outdoors and many beautiful views along the way.
See Related: Visiting the Four Corners National Monument in the USA
8. Bromley Mountain
Address: 124 Bromley Lodge Rd, Peru, VT 05152
Bromley Mountain is about 12 miles from Dorset. The Bromley Ski resort is a family-friendly outdoor adventure park, perfect for a day trip, no matter the time of year.
In the winter months, Bromley Mountain is home to skiers, snowboarders, and snow lovers of all kinds. Enroll the kids in lessons and daily camps to teach them the basics of skiing or snowboarding while you hit the slopes.
In the summer, guests can enjoy the four separate areas of the mountain for wholesome family fun. At the base of the mountain is the Mountain Adventure Park, a mini-amusement park with rides and entertainment for everyone. You can’t miss the triple-track Alpine Slide and the Scenic Chairlift.
The Aerial Adventure Park offers 65 elements to climb, glide, and maneuver around. Lastly, there’s an 18-hole disc golf course to keep the whole family entertained.
You’ll enjoy live music and great food on Bromley Mountain all year round. Bromley Village offers slope-side lodging in convenient condominiums nearby.
9. Explore the Historic Neighborhoods in Dorset
Address: 378 Village Street, East Dorset, VT 05253
Dorset is steeped in history and contains a few properties that have been owned by important figures in the community.
First, the historic Wilson House, the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson. The red farmhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular spot for tourists to visit in Dorset.
Next, the Manley-Lefevre House was built in about 1820 using marble harvested from a quarry located on the property. The home is the centerpiece of a 100-acre farm estate that is now home to the Marble House Project, an arts organization that offers residencies.
Visit the Dorset Historical Society for a deep dive into Dorset history and to view archival materials and exhibits by local artists.
For a nearby hotel, Barrows House is centrally located and a convenient drive from everything in Dorset. For things to do near Dorset, check out some nearby cities, each with its own rich history, including Manchester Center and East Rupert.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Killington, Vermont
10. Emerald Lake State Park
Address: 65 Emerald Lake Ln, East Dorset, VT 05253
Located in East Dorset lies the sparkling Emerald Lake. If you’re in the mood for camping, Emerald Lake State Park features campsites, lean-tos, toilets, and showers. Camp out in the beauty of southern Vermont and enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer.
You’ll also find a small beach, a snack bar, boat rentals, a picnic area with grills, and a horseshoe pit in the park. On the lake, you can fish and swim. The park is also filled with hiking trails for all fitness levels and has plenty of biking opportunities as well.
Pack a picnic lunch and plan to spend the day at the lake. Whether you’re playing in the water or enjoying the sun on your face, it’ll be a day well spent in East Dorset, Vermont.
A 15-minute drive to Emerald Lake State Park from Downtown Dorset makes it an easy addition to any Vermont itinerary.