Manchester, which technically consists of Manchester Village and Manchester City, is in southern Vermont, close to the New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts borders. It is home to the Orvis hunting- and sporting-goods business, which is the U.S.' oldest mail-order company. Manchester event venues can boast of proximity to the beautiful Green Mountains, and skiing exists in the immediate area.
The nearest airport is Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport (RUT), 28 miles north of Manchester. Cape Air provides services from Boston, which has a code-share agreement with JetBlue. (New York's Albany International, 60 miles to the southwest, has additional connections.)
There are no convention venues in Manchester, but the facilities at the 180-room, Colonial-style Equinox (named after Manchester’s most prominent mountain) compensate. Consisting of the Equinox Resort, the Charles Orvis Inn and the Inns at the Equinox, the property has 18,500 square feet of meeting space, including a ballroom for 300 persons. Other hotels able to host meetings include the 40-room Inn at Willow Pond, which dates from the 1770s and has space for 250 persons; the 37-room Wilburton Inn & Restaurant, which has space for 200 persons; the 20-room Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant, which has 4,000 square feet of meeting space; and the 10-room Inn at Ormsby Hill, which has gorgeous grounds and small alcoves for gatherings.
The area is dotted with Colonial homes, New England clapboard houses and tidy museums. Manchester event venues include what is probably the town’s most famous home, Hildene. Covering 412 acres, it was the home of President Lincoln’s oldest child (the only one to reach adulthood) and has the Beckwith Room, acres of grounds and a huge tent for functions. Also perfect are the Southern Vermont Arts Center, which has a history dating to 1922 and space for 600 persons, including the Arkell Pavilion for 400; the exhibit space at the American Museum of Fly Fishing (not surprisingly here due to Manchester being Orvis' home); and the Dorset Playhouse, which has its stage and rehearsal spaces for rent. The Equinox resort contains two unique ideas for groups, the Land-Rover Experience Driver School and the equally Anglophilic British School of Falconry.
In addition to the inn-restaurants listed above, dining venues in Manchester that can cater to groups include the attractive, nouvelle-American Cafe Mamie, which is alongside the Southern Vermont Arts Center and while generally open only for lunch can cater to dinners on special occasions; Ye Olde Tavern, in a 1790 building and which has a tap room and space for groups of 40; Mulligans of Manchester, which has a surf 'n' turf menu and gigantic sport screens; and elegant Bistro Henry, with a Southern France/Northern Italy menu, a deck and adjacent lawn and a private dining room.