Guide to Vermont’s Mad River Valley | Eat, Stay, Shop & Play

Here’s where to eat, what to do, and where to stay when you visit the Mad River Valley in Vermont, including Waitsfield, Warren, and Fayston.

By Annie Graves

Sep 17 2020


Reign Vermont, Waitsfield

Photo Credit : Oliver Parini
When people think of fall in Vermont, the Mad River Valley is what they imagine. In the September/October 2020 feature by Annie Graves (“Turn Up the Color”), we explored this unique area that, when painted in autumn hues, brings a feeling of discovery. Planning a visit to enjoy this magical Vermont foliage mecca? Here’s a guide to where to eat, what to do, and where to stay when you visit Vermont’s Mad River Valley.TRAVEL NOTESince many businesses and venues are adjusting their operations in response to COVID-19 health concerns, please contact them directly or check their websites before making travel plans.
The Waitsfield Farmers’ Market is a Vermont must-do.
Photo Credit : Oliver Parini

Guide to Vermont’s Mad River Valley

Mad River Valley Restaurants & Where to Eat

Waitsfield Farmers’ Market

Don’t miss this “happy tent village replete with ancient grains, Taiwanese noodles, Gizmo’s pickles, leather belts, and a bounty of cheeses, spread out over the Mad River Green.” Open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, May to October.

American Flatbread

Original Waitsfield home of the beloved pizza, fired in an earthen oven. No reservations, but a stay at adjacent Lareau Farm gets you in.

Big Picture

Movies and maple doughnuts, a biergarten, and farm-to-table sandwiches in Waitsfield.

Lawson’s Finest Liquids

Fresh microbrews (maple!) in a majestic post-and-beam Waitsfield taproom.

Mad River Taste Place

A showcase of local food and drink with tastings and learning sessions in Waitsfield.

The Mad Taco

Grab a spot near the paper towels, with a view of the smoker, and roll up your sleeves for a braised-pork feast at this Waitsfield eatery.

The Sweet Spot 

Dessert on the river and Awake Coffee, handcrafted in Waitsfield.

Pitcher Inn Mad River Valley Vermont
The Pitcher Inn, a luxury escape in downtown Warren.
Photo Credit : Oliver Parini

Mad River Valley Inns

The Inn at Round Barn Farm

Luxury stay in Waitsfield situated on 245 acres of forest, ponds, and hilltops.

The Pitcher Inn

Consummately elegant/elegantly rugged Relais & Châteaux inn in Warren.

Pick up indestructible handbags in gorgeous fabrics at Reign Vermont in Waitsfield.
Photo Credit : Oliver Parini

Mad River Valley Shopping

Artisans’ Gallery

Offering the work of 145 Vermont artists in Waitsfield, including Abby Dreyer’s hand-built ceramic birdhouses, Chris Gluck’s “leaf art” alphabet books, and Christine Schultz’s brighter-than-life canvases.

Mad River Glass

Cairns in glass, colors that rival foliage—these and much more are on display in David and Melanie Leppla’s dazzling gallery in Waitsfield.

Reign Vermont

At her workshop in Waitsfield, Bridget LaMell makes indestructible handbags in fabrics that look like something Gustav Klimt dreamed up, alongside skirts that travel the globe without a hint of wrinkling.

Tempest Book Shop

Old and new tomes in a Waitsfield shop with the feel of a personal library. Owner Rick Rayfield bakes bread and fixes watches, too.

Clearwater Sports in Waitsfield has all of your outdoor needs covered.
Photo Credit : Oliver Parini

Mad River Valley Things to Do

Clearwater Sports

Founded in 1975, this outfitter offers kayak and canoe trips on the Winooski and Mad rivers, as well as river tubing under the Waitsfield covered bridge.

Knoll Farm

Stop by the farm stand or buy a day pass to picnic and wander the grounds of this c. 1804 family-owned organic farm in Waitsfield.

Mad River Glen & Sugarbush Resort

Ride a ski lift to the top for a panorama of color at both Mad River Glen in Waitsfield and Sugarbush Resort in Woodstock.

Sugarbush Soaring

Take a glider ride above the Mad River Valley in Warren. [Note: Though closed for 2020, the company plans to fly high again in 2021.]

Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm

These rugged horses give novice and experienced riders a new perspective on foliage in Moretown.

Warren Falls

Take the path on the right-hand side of the parking lot for maximum waterfall spectacle; the left-hand path is milder, with a fun platform overlooking the water.


Check out a yurt or straw-bale house at the venerable Waitsfield design/build school, and pick up a catalog for inspiration.