- Bob LoCicero
Flowing, Rolling, Take the Vermont-30 Alternative
Estimated Mileage: 66 miles Estimated Time: 1 hour, 34 mins
Vermont-30 is the "best choice motorcycle road", if you’re looking for a pleasant, scenic alternative to running US-route 7 between Middlebury and Manchester. VT-30 rolls and curves with open vistas east to the Greens and west to the Adirondacks, past lakes Bomoseen and St. Catherine. Unlike US-7, VT-30 has no significant traffic lights between Manchester and Middlebury, and there is only a half-mile difference in distance between the two routes.
VT-30 is part of two Vermont Scenic Byways. The portion between Manchester and Hubbardton is part of the Stone Valley Byway. North of VT-73 the road is part of the Lake Champlain Scenic Byway. The Vermont Scenic Byways program is part of the National Byway program, which promotes areas of historic, cultural, scenic or recreational significance. VT-30 has all of those ingredients.
Twenty-three miles south of Middlebury is Lake Bomoseen -- the largest lake entirely within Vermont’s borders. Bomoseen State Park is on the western shore of the lake, opposite VT-30. The park has camping, hiking and day use areas. If you’re looking to take a quick swim, use Crystal Beach (which is on VT-30). The beach is operated by the town of Bomoseen and has changing facilities, a sandy beach and green space with picnic tables.
There is no gas between Middlebury and Bomoseen. Gas can be found south of Route-4, where you’ll also find convenience stores and Dunkin Donuts.
South of US Route-4, VT-30 continues its rolling, easy-going ways. Approximately 10 miles south of Route 4 is Poultney, home of Green Mountain College. Poultney has pizza, Perry’s Main Street Eatery, the Trolley Stop and Tot’s Diner all on Main Street (VT-140). If your bike needs services, you can find gas, an auto parts store and a hardware store. South of Main Street, VT-30 takes a left onto Furnace Street (blinking red light; four-way stop) and then quickly takes a right onto Lake Street and continues towards Lake St. Catherine.
Lake St. Catherine State Park is located just south of the center of Poultney. The park has a snack bar, picnic area and swimming in a day use area. There is also camping with flush toilets and hot showers.
South of Lake St. Catherine, VT-30 returns to its’ pattern of fast sweepers and rolling straights through farm land. The road then rolls through Pawlet, where you’ll find Mach’s General Store , which has a deli and fresh baked goods, alongside hardware and other essentials. Just after the general store, VT-30 takes a sweeping left over a bridge and continues out of town.
South of Pawlet is Dorest , which is found on the National Registry of Historic places. The road continues toward Manchester and becomes increasingly more populated (relative to northern stretches) as you enter Manchester.
Manchester Vermont is known for its shopping – which is great if you love to shop and not so much if you don’t. You can find a variety of places to eat, from pizza to fine dining. Fishermen will want to visit the Orvis Store, which has every lure in the Orvis catalog, outdoor clothing and a large selection of rods. There is even a trout pond and “stream” which flows through the store, so you can dream about your next catch.
So the next time you’re in Middlebury heading south – or in Manchester heading north – ignore what your GPS tells you: plot a course on VT-30 for a flowing, rolling ride instead.