After I had walked around the old part of Bennington on my Vermont trip, I took Route 9 to Wilmington. An about 30 minute long drive. I had booked a bed in a hostel near the small town of Wilmington, which was the main reason for stopping there. But since I was already there, I wanted to see the Ledges and the little town itself.
I discovered the Ledges while looking at Google Maps and figuring out what I could see in or near Wilmington. The Ledges are a place on the shores of Harriman Reservoir. There are a little beach as well as a barbecue and picnic area. Parking is for free and, at least at the start of October, it wasn’t busy. It would be the perfect place for a picnic, but I had planned to have dinner in Wilmington a little later. While I was there, mostly just sitting on the beach and enjoying the view at the water, there also was a man kayaking and a family trying their drone.
The Town of Wilmington
Unlike the Ledges, Wilmington was super busy. I was lucky to find a parking spot in the South Main Street Parking Lot, which was even for free. Even though the small town has only a little more than 2,000 inhabitants, it seems very popular with tourists. When I looked for hotels a few days before I went, most of them were booked out. Also, when I walked around, all restaurants seemed pretty full with people.
To me Wilmington felt like a typical small town in New England. It is idyllic with the little river that drains the town. The houses are old-ish and in the typical New England style. There also is a number of cute little stores and cafés around. But you will not find anything exciting or a big tourist sight.
Wilmington is still worth a little stroll – just because it is that cute. I first walked along the whole of Main Street before I decided where I wanted to eat dinner. Jezebel’s Eatery didn’t only look interesting from the outside, but inside there is a little store with British products and a restaurant. Service was excellent and I had a very tasty meatloaf with lots of English gravy.
My Night Stop – No Recommendation
My hostel, Shelley by the Lake, was only a short drive away from the town center. While it was cheap at $25 per night, I would not recommend it. Once I arrived (and check-in was only after 7 p.m.!), it turned out that it wasn’t an actual hostel. A lady rents three rooms in her house – two are double bedrooms, one is a room with two bunk beds. Now, the people I met in the 4-bed room were great, but you never know who you end up with. We weren’t allowed to use any common areas and there were strict rules like no eating or drinking inside the house. I ended up sleeping on top of one of the bunk beds and didn’t feel that comfortable because there wasn’t any barrier. There also was only one ladder to share for both bunk beds.
The best part of that night really were the three people I shared the room with: a Dutch couple and a man from the West Coast. We chatted for a long time and exchanged travel tips for Vermont. We also left together at the same time because the whole “hostel” experience felt a little creepy. Sorry, but you can’t advertise a hostel when really you just rent out a junior bedroom in your house. And said house is in a blind alley in the middle of nowhere. Plus you can hear every little sound from everyone in the house because the insulation is bad.
I was glad that I had booked only one night (and I am normally fine with cheap hostels). Besides, I appreciate travel advice from hosts – but not by text messages after I have already checked out and that clearly indicate that she googled me because I didn’t tell her certain pieces of information about myself – also fine if you want to google me, but either don’t tell me at all or say it to my face.
On Road 100
Once we had all left the house together, I took a turn on Vermont’s famous Route 100. It’s t h e scenic road to see much of the fall foliage as well as little towns. The 349 km long road leads almost all the way from southern to northern Vermont. I particularly liked that it is not a fast road, which makes it easier to spontaneously stop at the roadside.
That day I only took Route 100 from Wilmington to Woodstock. But I drove on it as well on other days of my trip. I highly recommend that route if you have the time to drive slowly(er). That Sunday morning I first stopped to have breakfast on the side of the road, in view of the colorful fall foliage. It is always a good idea to just stop where there are already a few cars.
With that I left southern Vermont and stayed in the central part of the state for the rest of my trip. From there I explored both the north and center. There I saw an even brighter fall foliage, which I will show you in my next Vermont travel posts.