Brattleboro, Vermont

Classic New England in every shade of green

Vermont's got you covered: a bridge near Brattleboro.     Photo: Joshua Paul

A FAIR NUMBER OF PLACES are described as "a college town without a college," but Brattleboro, in southeastern Vermont, fits the bill better than most. There's the requisite 19th-century backdrop—spiring steeples, white-painted clapboards, stately maples—overlaid with a post-hippie capitalist vibe: handcrafty galleries, bookstores, a co-op spotlighting local cheesemakers, and lots of beards and fleece. Brattleboro's bustling, but not so manic you forget you're in Vermont.

OUTDOORS: It's the classic New England hodgepodge. Downhill and cross-country skiing are within an hour's drive, at Mount Snow, Haystack, and Stratton. Bikers ride the rolling loops in the Connecticut River Valley, the steep climbs into the Green Mountains, or a web of old logging roads and trails. The broad, flat Connecticut draws canoeists and kayakers, and twice a year, dam releases on the nearby West River create a whitewater rodeo ground a little less than three miles long.
REAL ESTATE: Nearly half the houses in town predate World War II. Buyers can get on board with a modest frame house for $150,000 to $180,000; plan on $250,000 for a Victorian with curb appeal.
HANGOUTS: The 1930s art deco Latchis Hotel is a downtown landmark (doubles, $55–$145; 802-254-6300, www.latchis.com). The West River Marina, with an outdoor deck overlooking its namesake creek, serves up burgers and steamed mussels to refueling river rats and cyclists.

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