Essex is a town in Northwest Vermont. It is the largest town and second most populated place in Vermont. About half the population lives in the village of Essex Junction, which is wholly contained within the town of Essex.
Routes 15, 2a, and 117 will bring you to the center of Essex. All three roads connect with I-89.
- Burlington International Airport (BTV IATA), Airport Dr, ☏ . Essex is only a few miles away from Burlington International Airport. Flights arrive daily via several carriers from as far away as Chicago and Orlando. Travelers from farther afield will have to make a connection in a larger city. There are non-stop flights to Burlington Airport from the following cities (some cities may be seasonal or only offer service certain days of the week): Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington.
Essex Junction is small enough to be navigated on foot.
On a bike
Cycling can be a good way to get around the village. There are dedicated bike lanes on some streets and traffic moves at fairly low speeds,
The Essex Junction, Essex-Williston, and Essex Town routes of CCTA all serve the village, however they are more useful for getting to and from Essex Junction than getting around. CCTA frequency can sometimes be low.
Getting around Essex by car is the best option. VT Route 289 can be used to bypass traffic in the center of the village. There is ample parking, and the only problem you are likely to encounter is traffic at Five Corners during rush hour.
Admittedly, there isn't much here for the traveler to see. From some parts of town you can get excellent views of Mt. Mansfield and Camel's Hump. The rural parts of Essex offer pleasant landscapes, but these can be found all over Vermont. The older parts of town are fairly attractive, especially from late spring through fall, and that's about it.
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 3:26PM local time and lasts 3 min. The chances of a clear sky are 30%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio and the Canada–New England border, then across New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
- Darkroom Gallery, 12 Main St., ☏ . Photography gallery.
- Essex Junction Historic District (area around 5 corners). 10 listed buildings
- Fort Ethan Allen, Ethan Allen Ave (Off route 15 heading west towards Burlington.). This former military base has been converted into housing and commercial space. There are many historic structures throughout the fort, especially surrounding the parade ground.
- Harriet F. Powell Historical Museum, 1 Browns River Rd. A small local history museum with limited hours.
Essex is home to several golf courses and parks of interest as well as Vermont's busiest exposition center. If you do end up in Essex, it's probably to see a concert or attend a fair of some kind.
- Champlain Valley Fair. Held at the fairgrounds in late August-early September, it is the state's largest fair. In the warmer months, the fairgrounds hosts frequent concerts.
- Indian Brook Reservoir. Hike or mountain bike the trails around this reservoir. Swimming, canoeing, and fishing are also options.
- The Links at Lang Farm, 39 Essex Way, ☏ . Play a round of golf at one of the most affordable courses in the area while enjoying views of Mt. Mansfield and Camel's Hump.
- Spring Fine Arts & Crafts Show. First weekend in May
- Vermont Quilt Festival. New England's largest quilt show is held from June 28-June 30
There are fewer shopping opportunities here than you might expect because the town isn't served by an interstate. There are lots of stores that serve residents (hardware, grocery, and autopart stores), but not as many that would be of interest to travelers.
- Essex Shoppes & Cinema, 21 Essex Way, ☏ . Outlet mall containing stores like Orvis, Puma, Ralph Lauren, and Van Huesen. There's also a 9 screen cinema and several restaurants.
- Phoenix Books and Cafe, 21 Essex Way, ☏ . Founded in 2007 as a locally cafe and bookstore.
- Shawn Bushey Road Res Q Services, 1 Main St., ☏ . Auto repair shop at Five Corners.
- Yankee Pride Quilts, 9 Main St., ☏ . Quilting supply, fabrics for traditional quilts.
Essex has the typical suburban chains like McDonalds, Wendys, KFC, and the ubiquitous (in New England) Dunkin Donuts. However most of the restaurants are one-off local places with much better food. Most restaurants are lunch oriented due to the number of people who work in Essex, but most still serve dinner.
- Bagel Market, 30 Susie Wilson Rd, ☏ . Fresh bagels and sandwiches as well as house roasted coffee. You can't miss bagel market, it's located in a distinctive bagel shaped building (ok, it was originally a tire store). They make a large variety of bagels and whipped cream cheeses. There are also breads and other baked goods to choose from. Weekend mornings and weekday lunches are incredibly popular here and the line is frequently out the door.
- Cafe Mediterano, 17 Park St., ☏ . Greek, Turkish, and Bosnian food.
- Cody's Irish Pub, 4 Carmichael St, ☏ . Irish pub specializing in burgers, sandwiches, and fish & chips. Lots of TVs for sporting events.
- Firebird Cafe, 163 Pearl St., ☏ . Breakfast and lunch spot serving burritos, paninis,and omelettes. Everything is freshly prepared and each burrito is served with its own specific sauce. The breakfast menu is heavily southwestern influenced and features dishes like Huevos Rancheros. Firebird serves Vermont Coffee Roasters coffee in a bottomless mug for guests who dine in and provides a bottle of house-made hot sauce for each table. The restaurant itself is tiny, occupying the first floor of a small house and only has a handful of tables.
- Martone's Market and Deli, 16 Main St, ☏ . Sandwich shop located at Five Corners. Huge sandwiches as well as a few homemade side dishes. An Essex institution.
- Mimmo's, 4 Carmichael St, ☏ . Italian restaurant and pizzeria run by southern Italians.
- My Little Cupcake, 4 Carmichael St, ☏ . Gourmet cupcake shop.
- On Tap, 4 Park St (Corner of Maple and Park Street at the 5 corners), ☏ . noon-2AM. Formerly the Lincoln Inn, this is an Essex Junction institution. They have live bands Wed-Sat. This is a great place to rub elbows with the locals. They have 28 beers on tap, including a good selection of Vermont beers. $5-$15.
- Pho Dang, 9 Park St., ☏ . Vietnamese restaurant.
- Rocky's NY Pizza & Ice Cream, 39 Park St, ☏ . Popular pizza place with attached creamee stand
- West Meadow Farm Bakery, 34 Park St., ☏ . Gluten-free bakery
- Essex Grill, 35 Main St., ☏ . Small restaurant serving burgers, sandwiches, and a few dinner entrees. Pictures of dogs on the walls and outdoor seating in the warmer months.
- Euro Restaurant, 1 Towne Marketplace, Suzy Wilson Rd, ☏ . Bosnian and other Mediterranean dishes.
- Istanbul Kebab House, 10 Kellogg Rd, ☏ . Turkish restaurant.
- Joyce's Noodle House, 5 Carmichael St, ☏ . Mid-range Chinese w/ higher quality ingredients.
- Sukho Thai, 21 Essex Way, ☏ . Authentic Thai food.
- Tavern at the Essex, 70 Essex Way, ☏ . Tavern located at culinary resort.
- Amuse, 70 Essex Way, ☏ . Fine dining restaurant located at a culinary resort.
Essex, despite being the second largest municipality in Vermont, isn't a nightlife hotspot. Most people looking for a night out will head into Burlington.
That being said, Essex does have a few bars. However, they are not quite like those in Burlington. The presence of IBM and the transition to a bedroom community for office workers has transformed Essex into a town of suburban yuppies, but it wasn't always that way and the old rural/blue collar Essex still exists. Unlike Burlington, most bars won't have an extensive list of microbrews, tasteful decorations, or rowdy college students. What you will find are cheap American lagers, dingy bar rooms, darts, pool, and sometimes karaoke. This is Northern Vermont, so you will always be able to find a Switchback if you don't like PBR and Rolling Rock.
For some reason, Essex only has two hotels, one of which is a luxury resort. For most tourists, this won't be an issue as you will probably be staying elsewhere, however business travelers and people visiting relatives may have to stay in neighboring Colchester, Williston, or South Burlington.
- Baymont Inn & Suites Essex Burlington Area, 27 Susie Wilson Rd., ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
- The Essex Culinary Resort and Spa, 70 Essex Way, ☏ . A pretty expensive resort with an attached spa and two restaurants.
|Routes through Essex|
|END ← St. Albans ←||N S||→ Montpelier → Springfield|
|Ends at ← Colchester ←||N S||→ Williston → Jct N S|
|Burlington via ← Winooski ←||W E||→ Jericho → St. Johnsbury|