The Green Mountain National Forest is divided into two parts by a valley in the middle of Vermont  where Route 4 cuts across the state. The southern branch of the forest is the larger of the two sections, but that is mitigated by the fact that the peaks here are smaller and the valleys more populated. The backbone of southern Vermont is Route 7, which runs from the historic (if run-down) town of Bennington  up along the mountain ridges to the posh community of Manchester , which seems to get another big designer outlet store every time you turn around.
Halfway between Brattleboro  and Bennington, Route 100 is an alternate route northward (all the way to Canada if you choose). The twisting highway is on the short list of one of the most scenic in New England; if you drive on it a little, you’ll quickly see why. In addition to stunning mountain scenery, the route is also home to the little fairy-tale village of Weston, with its picturesque town common and landmark Country Store .
To get to Bennington , drive west along Route 9 from Brattleboro  (40 mi., 1 hr.). Drive north up Route 7 from Bennington for Shaftsbury (10 mi., 15 min.), Arlington (15 mi., 25 min.), Manchester  (25 mi., 40 min.), Dorset (30 mi., 45 min.), or Danby (35 mi., 50 min.).
Buses run by Greyhound Bus Lines (800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com ) stop at Bennington Bus Station (126 Washington Ave., 802/442-4808). No buses or trains run to the Manchester area; the closest transit hub is Rutland , from which it’s possible to take a free bus to Manchester with Green Mountain Express (802/447-0477), which also runs bus service within Manchester and to Bennington and other nearby locations.