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Best things to do in Bennington

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Where in the world: USA  /  Vermont  /  Green Mountains  /  Bennington

Top 15 things to do in Bennington

1. Bennington Museum

The Bennington Museum is an accredited museum with notable collections of art and regional history. It is located at 75 Main Street, Bennington, Vermont, USA.

The museum's history dates to 1852 when the Bennington Historical Association was first incorporated. In 1923 the association acquired a former church, which it renovated and opened to the public in 1928 as the Bennington Historical Museum. The building was subsequently expanded in 1938, 1960, 1974, and 1999. In 1938 its name was revised to the Bennington Historical Museum and Art Gallery to reflect its holdings of artwork, and in 1954 it was renamed the Bennington Museum. The collections have a special focus on Vermont and adjacent areas of New York and Massachusetts. In 1972 the schoolhouse attended by Grandma Moses was moved to the grounds and included as part of the museum. It also includes a genealogy and history research library.

Key aspects of the museum's permanent collections include:

Grandma Moses Gallery - the largest public collection of paintings by noted local artist "Grandma Moses", Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961).

Fine Art Gallery - including works by Ralph Earl, Oliver Tarbell Eddy, Erastus Salisbury Field, Ammi Phillips, William Morris Hunt, Frederick MacMonnies, Rockwell Kent, and Simon Moselsio.

Bennington Modernism - avant-garde artworks from the early 1950s through the mid-1970s by artists including Pat Adams, Willard Boepple, Anthony Caro, Paul Feeley, Helen Frankenthaler, Patricia Johanson, Vincent Longo, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Dan Shapiro, David Smith, and Tony Smith.

Gilded Age Vermont - focused on Bennington from the mid 1800s to mid 1900s. Exhibits include paintings by William Morris Hunt, Frederick MacMonnies’ portrait painting of May Suydam Palmer, and glass and metal works by Lewis Comfort Tiffany, as well as a parlor organ manufactured by the Estey Organ Company and the Martin Wasp, a luxury automobile made in Bennington in 1924-25.

Military Gallery - focusing on the Revolutionary War's Battle of Bennington, and including an exhibit of Vermont-made firearms from 1760 to 1900.

Bennington Pottery - featuring pieces by Norton Pottery (1785-1894), United States Pottery Company (1847-1858), Fenton pottery, and redware.

Textile Gallery - the Bennington flag, one of the oldest “stars and stripes” in existence, a Green Mountain Boys flag belonging to John Stark, the Jane Stickle Quilt, and other textiles.The museum also displays temporary exhibits on a wide variety of subjects.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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2. Green Mountain Oasis

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown

Home to a large collection of Fresh Impressionist paintings, The Clark Art Institute is especially noted for housing over 30 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Established by prominent art collectors Robert Sterling and Francine Clark to house their vast private collection of European works, the museum now serves as both a gallery and a research center, offering numerous public lectures throughout the year. In addition to masterpieces by some of the biggest names of Impressionism, the museum also features paintings by great American artists including Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt. Pick up a multimedia guide at the admissions desk, or download the museum's free mobile app to help you find your way around this vast collection.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. Bennington Battle Monument

The Bennington Battle Monument is a 306-foot-high (93 m) stone obelisk located at 15 Monument Circle, in Bennington, Vermont, United States. The monument commemorates the Battle of Bennington during the American Revolutionary War.

In that battle, on 16 August 1777, Brigadier General John Stark and 1,400 New Hampshire men, aided by Colonels Warner and Herrick of Vermont, Simonds of Massachusetts, and Moses Nichols of New Hampshire, defeated two detachments of General John Burgoyne's British army, who were seeking to capture a store of weapons and food maintained where the monument now stands. While the battle is termed the Battle of Bennington, it actually occurred about 10 miles (16 km) away, in Walloomsac, New York; the Bennington Battlefield, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, is entirely within the state of New York.

In 1877, a local historical society began to plan a monument for the battle's centenary, and considered many designs. One which called for a slender stone column only 100 feet (30 m) tall was showcased during the battle's centennial celebration, which was attended by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The committee eventually accepted J. Phillip Rinn's design with some changes. The monument's cornerstone was laid in 1887, and it was completed in November 1889 at a total cost of $112,000 (including the site). It is constructed of Sandy Hill Dolomite from present day Hudson Falls, New York, a blue-gray magnesian limestone containing numerous fossils. Dedication ceremonies were delayed until 1891, when President Benjamin Harrison attended the ceremonies and held a reception at the nearby Walloomsac Inn. Today the Bennington Battle Monument is a Vermont State Historic Site.
From its observatory level at 200 feet (61 m), which can be reached by elevator (but not the 417 stairs, which are closed), one can see Vermont along with the other U.S. states of Massachusetts and New York. A kettle captured from General Burgoyne's camp at Saratoga is visible in the monument along with a diorama of the second engagement, and information on how the monument was built. Statues of John Stark ("Live free or die"), Seth Warner, and other notables ornament the grounds.

The monument, while 10 miles (16 km) from the relevant battlefield, is located very close to what was once the site of the Catamount Tavern, where Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys planned the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775.

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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5. Molly Stark Trail

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Bennington Potters

Bennington Potters has been making handmade stoneware pottery right here in Bennington, Vermont since 1948.

Visit the Potters Yard in Bennington to shop our home style store housed in two historic buildings - the Grist Mill and School House - featuring our full line of pottery and a broad assortment of home décor that includes linens, glassware, furniture and many unique items.

Our factory is located just behind the store and is also open every day for free tours. Come See It Made!

Visit Bennington Potters online at www.benningtonpotters.com.

Request your catalog online or by phone 800-205-8033.

Tour groups welcome!

Plenty of parking, handicap accessible.

Dishwasher, microwave and oven-safe. Our pottery is and always has been lead and cadmium free.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. The Old First Church

The First Congregational Church of Bennington, also known as the Old First Church, is a historic church at 1 Monument Circle in Old Bennington, Vermont. The congregation was organized in 1762 and the current meeting house was built in 1805. The building, one of the state's best examples of Federal period religious architecture, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.Description and historyThe Old First Church occupies a prominent position facing the green in the center of Old Bennington, at the junction of Monument Avenue and Church Lane near the southern end of the green. It is a two story rectangular wood frame structure, with a projecting entry vestibule and multi-stage tower. The gabled roof has a modillioned eave, and the exterior is finished in wooden clapboards with quoined corners. The entry vestibule is also gabled, with two round-arch entrances flanking a larger central entrance, which is topped by a rounded transom and gable. The second level of the vestibule has a large Palladian window with broken pediment above, and there is a half-round window in the pediment above. The tower has pilastered corners, with a smaller Palladian window in the first stage, an open second stage octagonal belfry, and an octagonal cupola at the top.The church congregation was organized in 1762, and its first meetinghouse was built in 1766. Due to increased participation, this building, with a seating capacity of six hundred fifty, was built in 1805, funded by the sale of pews and local levies. It was designed by builder Lavius Fillmore, who apparently borrowed heavily from Plate 35 of Asher Benjamin's The Country Builder's Assistant.Old Bennington CemeteryThe adjacent cemetery Old Bennington Cemetery, also known as Old First Church Cemetery or Old First Congregational Church Cemetery, was designated by the Vermont legislature as "Vermont's Sacred Acre".
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Dollhouse and Toy Museum of Vermont

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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9. The Alpaca Shack, North Bennington

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs

Listed as a National Historic Landmark, Saratoga Spa State Park is best known for its mineral springs but is also home to a variety of cultural, historical, and recreational activities. The area was deemed a State Reservation in 1909 after businesses were exploiting the springs and depleting them. After World War II, veterans and Holocaust survivors were brought to the springs to benefit from its medicinal effects. Now the park boasts two swimming pools and two golf courses--a championship 18-hole course and a 9-hole course. Visit the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Roosevelt Baths and Spa, or the other museums located in the park. Take a free guided "tasting" tour of the springs to sample the different types of mineral water. If you would like an appointment at the spa, be sure to make reservations ahead of time.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. New Catholic Cemetery

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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12. Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge

Home to the largest collection of this artist's paintings, the whitewashed house of the Norman Rockwell Museum sits among the hills. In addition to nearly 600 paintings, you'll find an archive with over 100,000 items and artifacts, plus fan mail. The museum building itself, situated among green countryside and rolling hills, is suggestive of the ideals that Rockwell espoused in his work.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. MASS MoCA, North Adams

In a converted factory complex, MASS MoCA features 19 galleries of contemporary visual arts and performing arts. Spread over 9,300 sq m (100,000 sq ft) of space, the center also hosts festivals and performances of artists from around the world. At the center of the campus, you'll discover more than 100 monumental wall drawings and paintings that occupy nearly a quarter of the wall space. Contemplate the urban spaces depicted through feelings of desire, loss, and culture, produced by 10 different artists. Look up before you enter the museum, as there are six suspended inverted trees growing from above.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. Papermill Village Bridge, North Bennington

The Paper Mill Village Bridge, also called the Paper Mill Bridge or Bennington Falls Covered Bridge, is a wooden covered bridge that carries Murphy Road across the Walloomsac River northwest of Bennington, Vermont. Built in 1889, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Fiddlehead at Four Corners

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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