Waterbury’s key geographical location makes it one of the most scenic areas to visit in Vermont. Add in its surrounding mountains, historical interest and some well-known food manufacturers, and Waterbury becomes an enjoyable drive with an abundance of possibilities.
Waterbury can be found at Exit 10 on Route 89, approximately 30 minutes from the Burlington airport and 15 minutes from Montpelier. It is conveniently located near the Mad River Valley and Stowe ski areas. Camel’s Hump and the Worcester Range are a visual enchantment throughout the town and offer some of the best hiking trails in the state.
Waterbury was granted a charter from King George III of England in 1763. Even before then, the area had been settled by Native Americans, explorers and settlers who found an ample supply of water and timber. Waterbury’s early industries included lumber, baskets, children’s carriages, leather products, starch, alcohol and scythe handles. Agriculture was also a big business, and the early self-sufficient farms eventually became commercial agriculture. Economic growth and tourism began to thrive in 1849 with the arrival of the Central Vermont Railroad. In 1882, the Village of Waterbury was incorporated.
In 1978, Waterbury Village was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Main Street is lined with grand, stately homes and contains an impressive collection of historically- and architecturally-distinctive structures, such as a classic Meeting House and the Village Green. Just off of Main Street is the restored 1875 Waterbury Train Station. This is an enjoyable place to begin a tour of Waterbury Village, as the station now hosts the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Visitor Center & Café. The Café displays a historical photo exhibit and a calendar of upcoming events – and friendly Vermonters on both sides of the counter! Not far from this location is a full range of diverse shopping opportunities and award-winning restaurants. If the timing is right, there may even be a Farmers Market or a concert on the Village Green.
Travel north of the Village on Route 100 to find even more Vermont industries. Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Ben & Jerry’s and Cabot Cheese are all a short drive from the Village.
On a tour of Ben & Jerry’s factory, learn how two childhood friends turned a correspondence course into a multi-million dollar industry. Their business model has made this ice cream manufacturer one of the most recognized and admired companies in America. The grounds surrounding the factory include a graveyard of discontinued ice cream flavors and various activities, such as making your own tie-dyed t-shirt and sampling Vermont’s favorite dessert.
The Cold Hollow Cider Mill is a leading producer of apple cider and distributor of Vermont products. The Mill features a country store atmosphere with “localvore” products, serving warm, homemade cider donuts and apple cider for visitors to sample.
Although you cannot see the cheese-making process at the Cabot Cheese Annex, you can taste the award-winning cheeses. The Cabot Cheese company is a cooperative of 1,200 dairy farm families located throughout upstate New York and New England. They manage four plants in three states and employ over 1,000 people. At the annex, you can meander through a world of cheese and dairy products … and, of course, free samples.
Waterbury is the quintessential Vermont town, complete with historic districts, architecture, shopping and restaurants.