Bellows Falls, VT is a great place to have a wander. The old mill buildings give it an industrial feel. While it has the look of a small city, it is actually a village. The Main Street has some great shops and restaurants to enjoy. Here is a list of our favorite things to do in Bellow Falls, VT.
1. Visit the fish ladder
If you have never seen a fish ladder in action, you will find this really interesting. A fish ladder is a structure that allows migrating fish passage over or around an obstacle on a river. At the Bellows Falls fish ladder, you will learn all about the Connecticut watershed and the regional ecology.
When you first arrive, you can look out across the top of the dam. Inside the building, you can learn about the native fish species through interpretive displays. When you go down the stairs, there is a glass wall so that you can see the migrating fish fighting to swim upstream. It will give you a unique perspective of the Connecticut River.
It is hit or miss if you see anything. One time we were just about to give up when a sea lamprey latched on to the glass. I didn’t even know that such a creature existed so it was crazy to see.
The Visitor Center and Fish Ladder is open on Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm from July 3rd to September 5th.
2. Find the ancient petroglyphs
The Connecticut River was once an important fishing area for the Abenaki tribe. This indigenous tribe fished salmon from the falls thousands of years before Europeans arrived. Their carvings can still be found on the rocks below the falls.
To read all about our adventure finding the petroglyphs, click here.
3. Have a farm to table meal at Popolo
You can enjoy Italian-inspired cuisine in this “rustic-chic” eatery while listening to live music. People come from near and far to savor the food at Popolo. Quality music is as important as the quality dishes they serve. While currently closed due to covid, they hope to re-open soon.
4. Peruse the Windham Antique Center
I love perusing this antique center. They find the most exquisite treasures and then perfectly set them up so you can picture them in your home.
My kids head straight to the mineral area because they love to find a precious stone for their collection.
5. Pet the kitty at Village Square Booksellers
We visit this independent bookstore every time we are in town. They have a great kids section filled with books and toys. The staff is so helpful with selecting the perfect book. I love that they have a store cat, who is always happily curled up in the front window.
6. Have lunch at the Moon Dog Cafe
This hippie hang out has the best soups, sandwiches and pastries. It was once located in Chester and moved to this current location on the Main Street. Don’t miss the chocolate milk! My kids say it is the best in the whole world.
7. Find a treasure at the Rock and Hammer
I love searching for treasures at the Rock and Hammer, especially their Native American jewelry. They sell both traditional jewelry as well as hand crafted jewelry. The Rock and Hammer specializes in custom design while also providing onsite jewelry and watch repair.
8. Walk the Historic Riverfront Park
Nearby to the Grist Mill Museum, this walking trail brings you along the Connecticut River where, if you are lucky, you may see a bald eagle soaring overhead. A recent addition to the park is a contemplative spot called the labyrinth. The park is dog-friendly and a popular spot for birding enthusiasts.
Bellows Falls, VT is such a great little place to explore. As you can see, there is so much to do and there is something to please every age. When you visit, give the Village Bookstore kitty a pat for me.
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