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Low on lawyers.  Manchester, Vermont

tt volume1

Since the last thing you want to do on your well-earned vacation is come across practicing lawyers who may question your judgment: “Leaving law?. Have you lost your mind?”, we put our crack staff at ex judicata on finding the states with the fewest practicing lawyers. Though we tend to throw Latin around here a little too freely, we could care less about per capita. 

Not surprisingly while the American Bar Association has a lawyer count per state, it only organizes it for you if you are seeking states with the most lawyers.  If you want to find the states with the fewest lawyers you’ve got to go state by state and look up the numbers.  Here’s what we have as the lowest ten i.e. our Top Ten.

StateLawyers per State
South Dakota1,907
North Dakota1,697
New Hampshire3,495

A few random thoughts.  We immediately toss North Dakota and South Dakota just because.  Wyoming is misleading.  Because during ski season Jackson Hole is filled with lawyers.  You can tell by the background soundtrack of people loudly arguing and berating hotel staff, waiters and lift operators.  Though, technically, Hawaii clocks in at #12, it’s too good an option not to include. 

For a sense of absolute freedom, Montana stands out as the only state with no daytime speed limit.  The only place remotely similar is New York City’s FDR Drive where apparently the speed limit is just a suggestion.

For our debut TTT piece, we’ve chosen Vermont, #8 on our Top Ten.  While there are many great parts of the state to visit, we are going to focus on the Village of Manchester. Any season is a wonderful time to visit but we are going to avoid ski season for fear of Jackson Hole syndrome, see above.  Ditto, pass on visiting in fall for foliage because…well, we just don’t get it. 

Manchester is just a car ride away for those ex judicata community members that live in the Northeast.  Only a 4 1/2 hour drive from New York.  5 hours from Philadelphia. 7 ½ from Washington, DC and 3 ½ hours from Boston.  For most, there is the thruway and/or Route 22 which is a gorgeous two-lane road.

For those who live further away the best route is a simple flight to Albany, New York.  It’s then a little more than an hour’s drive to Manchester.

While there are dozens of hotels and motels in the surrounding area to choose from as well as the ubiquitous Airbnbs, there is only one place we recommend staying. The Equinox Hotel (technically called The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa even though only a small percentage of guests are there for golf)  The hotel should not be confused with the garish Equinox hotel spun out of the Equinox Health Club chain.

We are students of history and the property has a wonderful revolutionary war lineage.   Started as the Marsh Tavern/House in 1769, it was here that the local ‘Council of Safety’ (not to be confused with Robespierre’s ‘Committee of Public Safety’. Wrong revolution.) held it’s first meetings and where Ethan Allen’s younger brother, Ira, proposed confiscating the property of Tories to raise money for the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolution.  Fittingly, the Marsh House was the first property to be expropriated after William Marsh aligned with the British.

Through the years 4 US presidents have stayed at the Equinox.  Mary Todd Lincoln visited the hotel in the summer of 1864.  She liked it so much she booked for the summer of 1865 planning on taking her husband.  Alas, as we know, President Lincoln was assassinated just a few short months prior.

In addition to very reasonable rates, the hotel has a nice eclectic group of offerings.  There is of course the golf and the spa.  There is also fly-fishing via the world-famous Orvis School.  Apparently, Orvis also offers the guests something called ‘Wing Shooting’  I believe this is shooting clay pigeons or something like that. “Pull!” 

Moving on to live birds, my favorite guest service is the Falconry School.  Offered at the nearby beautiful Boorn Brook Farm, Master Falconer Rob Waite will have you flying your own bird in no time.

You say you are looking to do some expedition-style driving on your vacation? The Equinox has you covered.  There is ‘The Land Rover Experience’  Here you will master “off-road obstacles like steep ascents and descents, side-tilts, log and water crossings, boulders and rock crawls.”  You can’t make this up.  I know what some of you may be thinking. “Can’t I get this same experience just driving on the aforementioned FDR Drive where the potholes are as deep as a small child?”  Not quite as the road lacks the ‘log and water crossings, boulders and rock crawls.’

In case it’s not obvious, ex judicata is based in New York City and a lot of references speak to the city.  Please indulge us until we are fully out of the gate and interacting with, and getting input from, our fellow JDs from around the country.

The summer climate in Manchester is ideal. It can get hot during the day but rarely goes above 90 degrees and a night it cools down into the 60s.  Air conditioning is almost never needed at night.

Water is never too far away. The Equinox has a lovely indoor swimming pool.  But, in Manchester you are going to want to be outside.  And, there is an extraordinary option just 15 minutes away in Dorchester, Vermont.  It is an old abandoned quarry. The water is ice cold and the quarry is very deep.  So much so that you will see young people lining up to jump off the rocks above the quarry.  We don’t recommend it as it is a good 50 feet to the water and there are rocks all around.  In general, when at the quarry you have to be SUPER CAREFUL as there is no lifeguard on duty.  Get there early in the day if you can as it gets crowded.  You can lay a towel out all around the quarry but it will largely be on grass and dirt.

For those who’d prefer a nice outdoor pool the town of Manchester has a beautiful 6 lane swimming pool where there is normally a lifeguard on duty.  It is open from mid-June until the end of August.

If pools and quarries are not your preference, Lake St. Catherine is only about a half hour away from Manchester.  It doesn’t have much in the way of sand, so you’ll be laying your towel out on grass and dirt.  Water shoes are a good idea because as you wade in, it is very rocky.  There is a snack bar and there are picnic tables all around.

For hikers, there are literally dozens of trails in and around Manchester.  Some of the favorites are: Mt. Equinox Trail; Prospect Rock Trail; “The Merck” and Lye Brook Falls Trail.  For a detailed guide please see

Bikers also have a lot of options.  We are told some of the favorite rides are  Historic Marble Rail trail; West Rail Trail and D&H Rail Trail. and provide good information.

There is every kind of dining available in Manchester. OpenTable lists 33 restaurants of different cuisines and price points.  Our favorites, not in any particular order, include: Zoey’s Double Helix; The Sliver Fork; Chanteclere; Al Ducci’s Italian Pantry; Jamerican Cuisine Food Truck; Gringo Jack’s Southwestern Bar & Grill and The Dorset Inn.  You should make reservations as well in advance as feasible as these places fill up during the summer months.

Of all the places to visit in Manchester we have saved the best for last. The Northshire Bookstore was founded in 1976 and sits in the center of town. If you ever wondered if there were any remaining relevant, independent bookstores left on the planet this is one.  Great curated selection, staff picks are sprinkled throughout and incredibly insightful. These are people who read.  Readers for readers.  Author readings weekly. And, there is a lovely café attached.

Relevant data:

The town’s own website provides good information

The Equinox Golf and Spa Resort

3567 Main Street

Manchester Village

Manchester, VT

Doubles for the summer months average $271 a night.  Note the rate skyrockets to $675 a night during the period August 15th—25th.  As a point of interest the Equinox Hotel in New York City anytime during the summer is about $850 a night.

Orvis Fly Fishing School

Orvis Wing Shooting School

Falconry School                     

Land Rover Driving Experience

Dorset Marble Quarry

1848 Vermont Route 30

Dorset, Vermont

Swimming in the quarry was free for the longest time.  Now, it’s $20 per car.

Manchester Outdoor Swimming Pool

Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park

340 Rec Park Rd

There is no charge to use the facility.

Lake St.Catherine State Park

3034 VT RT 30

Adults 14 +–$5  Children 3-13–$2   3 and under–free


Zoey’s Double Helix

568 Depot St., Manchester, VT


The Silver Fork

48 West Rd., Manchester Village, VT


Chantecleerre Restaurant

8 Read Farm Lane, Dorset, VT


Al Ducci’s Italian Pantry

33 Elm Street, Manchester Center, VT


Jamerican Cuisine Food Truck

4180 Main Street

Manchester Depot, VT


Gringo Jack’s Southwestern Bar & Grill

5103 Main Street, Manchester, VT 05255


The Dorset Inn

8 Church Street, Dorset, VT 05251


The Northshire Book Store

4869 Main St, Manchester Center, VT

(802) 362-2200


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