Merck Forest & Farmland Center

Top choice in Southern Vermont

Encompassing 3200 acres of high-country meadow and forest, this sprawling farm and environmental education center offers a blissful vision of Vermont's natural beauty and agricultural heritage. The park's centerpiece is a working organic farm with animals, vegetable gardens, renewable-energy installations and a sugar house where you can watch maple syrup being produced during sugaring season. It's hidden away on a gorgeous hilltop, only 25 minutes from busy VT 7 but a world apart from Manchester's designer outlet hustle and bustle.

The center offers a wide range of hikes and environmental education programs. It also rents out cabins and tent sites, which are spread all over the property. Sales of produce and syrup, coupled with voluntary contributions, help sustain the nonprofit foundation at the heart of it all. To get here from Manchester, take VT 30 northwest 8 miles to East Rupert, then turn left on VT 315, travel 2 miles and look for signs on your left at the top of the hill.

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