• Equinox Pond in Manchester offers serene spot, scenic trails
    By Erica Houskeeper
    Correspondent | August 13,2014
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    Photos by Erica Housekeeper

    After a hike around Equinox Pond, Dave Barron, fly fishes.
    People have asked me where I've been on vacation this summer. Cape Cod? The coast of Maine? Martha's Vineyard? It turns out that I've stayed put in Vermont with my family. The Green Mountains are just too beautiful to leave this time of year.

    Recently, my husband Dave and I traveled to Manchester with our 3-year-old daughter, Phoebe, for a relaxing summer getaway. One of the highlights of our trip was hiking around Equinox Pond, one of my favorite places in Vermont.

    I grew up in Manchester, so I have a particular soft spot for Equinox Pond. I introduced Dave to the pond when we started dating more than a decade ago. Shortly after we became parents in 2011, we returned to Equinox Pond with Phoebe when she was a newborn. Now we make a point to visit as much as we can, which still isn't often enough.

    During our most recent trip, we walked up to Equinox Pond on a warm and breezy afternoon. Phoebe ran around the grassy edge of the pond in her bare feet, and for a moment I thought she might jump in the water and splash around in her clothes. How could I blame her? She was in her glory and seemed to love Equinox Pond as much as I do.

    Equinox Pond and the trails beyond

    Located near the base of Mount Equinox in Manchester, Equinox Pond and the surrounding land are part of the Equinox Preservation Trust, which was established in 1996 and includes more than 914 acres of protected land.

    The pond offers a magnificent view of Mount Equinox to the west. The property also includes a waterfront historic pavilion — formerly an ice house — that is owned by the Equinox Resort & Spa and used for wedding receptions and special events.

    Beyond the pond, 11 miles of trails that mostly follow old logging roads are open for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

    Suggested hikes

    Pond Loop is an easy, three-quarter mile walk through the woods around the pond's perimeter. Along the trail hikers will find red and sugar maples, paper birch, striped maples, hornbeams and hop-hornbeams.

    For something a little more challenging, try Robin's Lookout. The half-mile hike leads to an overlook with views to the east of Equinox Pond, Hildene, the Battenkill Valley and the Green Mountains. While Robin's Lookout is steep in places, it's suitable for kids ages 8 and up.

    The trail to Robin's Lookout features sugar maples, hornbeams, striped maples, beech, ash and red oaks. Like much of the property, the Robin's Lookout trail passes through habitat that attracts ovenbirds, scarlet tanagers, wood thrushes and a variety of warblers and woodpeckers.

    Visitors can also stay right at the pond to see wildlife. Equinox Pond attracts great blue herons, kingfishers, snapping turtles and the occasional osprey or bald eagle.

    The best part about Equinox Pond? For me, it's soaking up the view of Mount Equinox with the people who matter most, knowing there's no place in the world I would rather be on a glorious summer day.

    For more information, visit equinoxpreservationtrust.org.

    Erica Houskeeper is a freelance writer and PR/communications consultant living in Burlington. She publishes a blog about Vermont, www.happyvermont.com.

    If you go:

    Swimming, kayaking, camping, campfires and boating are not permitted at the pond, and catch-and-release fishing is reserved upon request for Equinox Resort & Spa guests. Parking for Equinox Pond is available in a designated lot off West Union Street in Manchester Village, just south of Burr and Burton Academy.
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