I have been wanting to check out Hildene for a couple years. Located in Manchester, Vermont, there are plenty of things to do in the area and Hildene is easy to find. Our local library offers passes you can check out to visit Hildene for free, which is a great way to save money.
We used Google Maps to find Hildene (despite the website warning us that sometimes Google directs people to the exit at Hildene).
The Welcome Center is right next to the parking area, and consists of a front desk where you pay, gift shop, restrooms, and a video viewing area about the Pullman car.
Nearby is the Lincoln family home. We were greeted by a tour guide in front of the house.
The main house at Hildene was Robert and Mary Lincoln’s home. I was surprised to learn that it was really a family home, and not just opulent. No ballroom or massive dining areas. It was nice to explore the home, which is mostly all original items. The staff asks to please not sit, touch, or lean on things, as the furniture is original.
As we explored the home, there were many nice touches. There is a group that makes fresh flower arrangements around the home, replicating what the Lincoln family did when they stayed there. There were signs in each room allowing you to take a self-guided tour. Since we had the kids with us, it was nice to go at our own pace.
The kids had fun checking out the grandchildren’s room.
You can also explore the backyard and the gardens outside, which are very pretty.
For this reason, I was glad that we were visiting in spring when the flowers were blooming.
The gardens have been well maintained over the years.
The view from the backyard is beautiful.
Next, we took a walk down to the Hildene Goat Dairy. This turned out to be quite the highlight of our trip! We stopped at one barn, where the goats were excited to greet us. There is a larger barn and visitor’s center where there was a staff member to get goats for us to hold!
You can also check out their cheese-making operations as you walk through the building.
Lastly, we checked out the Pullman car. This car was found completely neglected in North Carolina years ago. After four years of very meticulous restoration, the car is in amazing shape. This railroad car was very high-end for it’s time, with top notch service for travel.
You can take a trolley to different parts of Hildene, but there is also plenty of walking if you prefer. There is also an extensive trail system there as well. We were hoping to check out their marsh trails, with their 600′ floating boardwalk, but they had some repairs they were working on.
Visit Hildene at https://hildene.org/