8 Best Family-Friendly Activities in Norwich, VT

Black House Real Estate May 2, 2023

Norwich is a historic town in the center of Vermont’s Upper Valley. Located along the bank of the Connecticut River, the community’s natural beauty and New England charm create the perfect atmosphere for a weekend of family fun. Whether you’re visiting for a summer escape or are interested in the town’s real estate, don’t miss out on these eight activities in Norwich, VT.

1. Learn Hands-On at the Montshire Museum of Science

Families can visit the Montshire Museum of Science any day of the week for an educational and interactive experience. First, stop by the Creative Building Center, where children can build imaginatively alongside others. Visitors interested in the natural world can explore the aquariums teeming with fish, turtles, and frogs. From learning about the universe to understanding the art behind music, it’s easy to spend a whole day at this museum.

In the warmer months, this museum opens its outdoor discovery trails to visitors. The paved River Loop winds along the Connecticut River and through a lush grove. The Planet Walk is a three-mile path that displays the distance between the solar system’s planets on an adjusted scale.

2. Reflect at the Norwich Historical Society Museum

Reflect on the deep cultural roots of Norwich at the Norwich Historical Society Museum. Located in the historic downtown, the annual exhibits here feature a collection of important books, stories from significant past residents, and a comprehensive timeline of Norwich. Families looking for activities in Norwich, VT, can also visit for walking tours in the summer or family history workshops in the winter.

3. Sample Local Flavors at Norwich Farmers Market

Uncover the community’s culinary talents at the Norwich Farmers Market. This market began in 1977, making it one of the oldest markets in northern New England. Winter visitors can stop by Tracy Hall for a range of wares, while in the summer, the market is located along Route 5 South. Families can explore the breakfast and lunch offerings, freshly baked foods, and fresh produce. Art vendors also sell their pottery, jewelry, wooden bowls, and more.

4. Climb Gile Mountain

The mild 1.4-mile hike up and down Gile Mountain provides breathtaking views of the woodsy surroundings. An array of trillium and trout lilies skirt the stone-step path toward the observer’s cabin. Families can leave the sun and rest in the cabin before climbing up the tower. The top of the tower rewards hikers with panoramic views of Norwich, including Mount Ascutney and Mount Killington. Gile Mountain is closed during spring for the muddy season but is open all other times of the year.

5. Hike Hazen Trail

Another great trail to hike for families looking for activities in Norwich, VT, is Hazen Trail. At 1.5 miles long, this short hike provides breathtaking views of the Connecticut River and forest before connecting with the Montshire Museum Ridge Trail. The most intriguing part of the hike is the Hanover Esker, a narrow ridge formed by glacier melt that parallels the river.

Other remnants of glacier melt also scatter the trail for a captivating hike, such as bedrock upthrusts, cliffs, and a dried lakebed. Native birdlife is prolific along the trail, which makes for exciting birdwatching. The historic Hazen family homestead can be spotted from the path, while Brookside Farm skirts the trail as well.

6. Ski Dartmouth Skiway

Winter visitors can make the short drive to Dartmouth Skiway for endless fun along its more than 100 skiable acres. This skiway features two lifts that travel up the Winslow and Holts mountainsides. A range of terrain is perfect for younger and older children alike, with paths split into 25% novice runs, 50% intermediate runs, and 25% expert runs. Families can also spend a day at the little kid carpet and big kid carpet for winter activities.

Dartmouth Skiway provides many other activities in Norwich, VT, for children and their parents. Kids of all age groups and levels can sign up for skiing and snowboarding classes for winter-long instruction to hone their skills. Shorter camps are available to learn how to ski, snowboard, or skin uphill.

7. Break Bread at King Arthur Baking

King Arthur Bakery is a local favorite with Norwich residents. Equal parts café, store, and bakery, this company dates way back to 1790. Families can indulge in dishes made with produce from local farms and butchers in small batches. The bakery features a complete array of artisan breads, cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries. Charming seasonal specialties make visits year-round a treat.

The retail store is fully stocked with all the baking tools, cookbooks, and other baking paraphernalia a family would need. Parents can let children select a sample recipe of their own, then search the store for the ingredients needed to make it at home. Families can also sign up for kids baking classes to learn a new skill with their children.

8. Take a Valley Quest

Learn more about Norwich through one of the self-guided tours provided through Vital Communities’ Valley Quest. Families are invited to follow clues to a treasure box full of information about the site, a sign-in journal, and a rubber stamp with a stamp pad. This is a creative way for families to travel off the beaten path and discover all of Norwich’s hidden gems.

The nine quests available in Norwich lead families to a mix of natural, architectural, and historical features in a range of difficulties. Most quests take between 30 minutes to two hours to complete depending on their location and trail conditions. From Gile Mountain to Beaver Meadow to Elm Street, families can travel all across town.

Ready to have fun in Norwich?

There are plenty of activities in Norwich, VT, for families to enjoy. The interactive exhibits at the science museum cover a range of topics and disciplines for a day of fun. Families can also admire the town’s natural beauty at spots like Hazen Trail and Gile Mountain. If you’re ready to live a little closer to these great spots, contact Jennifer Snyder Fogg at Black House Real Estate to help you with your search for Norwich homes for sale.

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