Christmas balls covered in snow

Winter Wonderland in Waterbury: Celebrate the Holidays in Style

As the evening air gets crisper and snow covers the Green Mountains, Waterbury events take on a wintry theme, from live music and ice skating at local ski resorts to artisan markets and special holiday occasions like seeing real-life reindeer up close. 

Whether you decide to ski or snowshoe or just want to enjoy the snowy scenery around town while checking out our local shops and boutiques, it’s all just a short drive or walk from our downtown Waterbury bed and breakfast.

man wearing red skiing
Hit the Slopes Along With Holiday Festivities at Nearby Ski Resorts

Waterbury is a dream destination for outdoor recreation, with world-class mountain biking and river sports during the warmer months and every type of snow activity at your fingertips during the wintertime. We have four ski resorts  within a 30-minute drive, and each has  unique appeal. Sugarbush and Stowe, are the most well-known mountains and have the most holiday events lined up. Mad River Glen is the country’s only cooperatively-owned major ski resort, and Bolton Valley has been family-owned and proudly independent since opening in the 1960s. 

Start your day with locally-roasted Vermont Artisan Coffee and our hearty and decadent breakfast – sample the pastries, oatmeal, fresh fruit, and yogurt parfait on our buffet before sitting down to a full, order-off-the-menu hot breakfast – before taking the scenic 25-minute drive to Stowe Mountain Resort. Spend the morning skiing or snowboarding on their impressive 485 acres of terrain before joining the holiday fun of the Spruce Peak Lights Festival, held at the resort’s mountain village from 1:30-6:30 pm on December 16th, 2023. The festivities include the ceremonial lighting of a massive Christmas tree, free family photos with Santa, and an ice dancing showcase featuring US National Championship skater Ryan Bradley. It all culminates with fireworks over the ski mountain trails, lighting up the clear Vermont winter sky. If you don’t ski or snowboard, Stowe also has great snowshoeing. From the resort’s base, follow a 3-mile out-and-back through the gorgeous landscape of Smuggler’s Notch on Route 108 (closed to vehicles in the winter).

Head south from Waterbury and revel in Sugarbush Ski Resort’s slate of fun winter festivities, starting with SugarBash on December 9th from 6-9 pm. Break out your most kitschy holiday attire for the Ugly Sweater Contest and then jam to the Grippo Funk Band at this celebration of the kick off to the ski season. Then on December 16th, Sugarbush hosts their 3rd annual Holiday Craft Bazaar, featuring one-of-a-kind gifts from local crafters and makers, and their Blizzard Boogie, a family-friendly dance party from 1-4pm.

Sipping and Shopping Local – Artisan Markets at a Renowned Distillery and Cozy Cafe

Supporting small-town businesses is a part of the Vermonter social fabric, and several Waterbury events offer great opportunities for shopping locally. Just 14 miles down the road in Montpelier, Bar Hill – one of our favorite Waterbury-area distilleries – hosts two Winter Farmers Markets on December 9th and 23rd, 2023. From 8 am to 11 am, their warm and inviting indoor space transforms into a bustling market, with over 30 artisans selling everything from handmade art to maple syrup, an ideal Vermont-themed stocking stuffer. After the market is over, plan to attend their distillery tour, where you’ll learn about their unique process of using Vermont honey (including tasting the raw honey), followed by sampling their award-winning vodka and gin, which make an excellent gift for the spirit enthusiast in your family.

The holiday “sip and shop” at Stowe St. Cafe and Bridgeside Books is another excellent way to shop for gifts from local artisans. Just two blocks from the inn, they will have appetizers and sips of ciders and other drinks to warm you up as you browse from Waterbuty-area vendors such as Rain Rose stained glass, Stem and Node ceramics, and Sylvan Maia Jewelry. The sip and shop events occur on upcoming Fridays (12/1, 12/8, 12/15, and 12/22) from 5-7 pm.

old stagecoach inn during winter
Reindeer in the Flesh and Festive, Fun-Filled Days at Winterfest

Two other not-to-miss Waterbury events this winter are the Reindeer Rendezvous and Waterbury Winterfest. On December 17th, 2023, the folks at Vermont Reindeer Farm – the only reindeer farm in Vermont – bring their majestic crew of reindeer to downtown Waterbury from 11 am-2 pm, when you can get up close to the animals and ask questions of their knowledgable handlers and trainers. And other businesses around town will be hosting their own seasonal offerings, so be sure to explore the shops and grab some lunch while you get up close and personal with Santa’s sleigh team!

The Waterbury Winterfest happens later in the season, from Jan 31st to Feb 4th, 2024, and brings the whole local community together to celebrate winter folly and fun around town. The calendar of events will be released soon, but expect Waterbury events like wine tasting at the Wine Vault, family-friendly puzzles and games at the library, a snowball dance, and outdoor activities like broomball, human bowling, and ice jug curling. And of course, there will be Wassailing. What is wassailing? Revelers hang out in their favorite pubs while rotating groups of local singers perform songs inspired by the season and/or Waterbury antics. Along with Blackback Pub, Prohibition Pig, and the Reservoir (three of our favorite restaurants in Waterbury), we’re proud to have hosted past wassailing stops during Winterfest and look forward to participating again in 2024.

Stay with us over the holiday season and experience the magic of wintertime in Waterbury!