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Must-Visit Vermont Sculpture Parks for Your Summer Bucket List

What could be better than getting outside and enjoying a perfect day in Vermont? How about getting outside while discovering art?

Cold Hollow Sculpture Park, Lemon Fair Sculpture Park, and Southern Vermont Art Center

For a tiny state, Vermont has an eclectic variety of opportunities to interact with outdoor art. The largely rural landscape makes an enchanting backdrop for all kinds of art installations, and as the seasons change, so does the experience.

No matter where you travel in the state, you’re within a short drive of one of these incredible Vermont sculpture parks.

Here are a few ways to get your outdoor art fix with sculpture parks that embrace the Vermont landscape in new and surprising ways.

Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester

a larger than life sculpture of a women running through the fields at Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester.

Set against the beautiful Taconic Mountains in Manchester, the outdoor sculpture park at Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC) is an expansive exhibition in fields and forest on a sprawling 120-acre campus.

You can’t help but notice the massive art installations as you drive up the mile-long path toward SVAC, but it’s also possible to meander past each sculpture on foot, which I recommend. This gives visitors a better appreciation of the magnitude of each piece and the intricate relationship that the sculptures form with their natural surroundings.

The meadow sculptures may be the most striking due to their size and setting, but be sure to spend some time with the sculptures along the woodland trails, as they provide an intimate experience that only the close surroundings of the forest can provide.

You could easily spend an afternoon visiting the eclectic collection of outdoor art on SVAC’s campus, but make time to visit the indoor galleries, where you’ll find a rotating collection of eclectic and classic works by regional and world-renowned artists.

Finally, if you haven’t thought to pack a picnic to enjoy on the grounds of SVAC, you can indulge in a delightful meal at the curATE Cafe, which is open for lunch and dinner from Thursday to Saturday, and for brunch on Sunday.

The grounds at Southern Vermont Arts Center are free and open to the public year-round. Leashed dogs are permitted on the grounds as well.

The galleries are open between Tuesday and Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm. $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and free for members and children under 18.

Read Next: 17 of the Best Things to Do in Manchester, Vermont

Lemon Fair Sculpture Park, Shoreham

One of the massive sculptures at Lemon Fair Sculpture Park in Shoreham

The pastoral landscape of rolling fields and massive farms is an ideal location to get lost among sculptures that include intricately abstract pieces of sculpted metal, several larger-than-life animals, and a few kinetic pieces that interact with wind and weather.

Discover more than 50 outdoor sculptures along a mowed path in Shoreham, Vermont, at Lemon Fair Sculpture Park, which exhibits both permanent and temporary works, many of which are for sale.

While you certainly can’t escape the mountains in Vermont, the Lemon Fair sculptures interact more readily with the big sky and far-reaching views, making it an ideal spot for a summer picnic or a crisp fall walk. Leashed dogs are welcome.

Lemon Fair Sculpture Park welcomes visitors between May 1 and November 1. It is located at a private residence but is free for art lovers of all ages to explore.

Visitors are asked to park on the circular drive near Route 74. Donations for park maintenance are gratefully accepted.

Path of Life Sculpture Garden, Windsor

Driftwood musicians at Path of Life Garden in Windsor, Vermont.
Driftwood musicians at Path of Life Garden in Windsor, Vermont

A stroll through the Path of Life Sculpture Garden is a journey. Visitors travel through life, from birth to death and beyond, while interacting with 18 works of art on 14 beautiful acres along the Connecticut River in Windsor. Along the way, you’ll find numerous spots to relax, meditate, and enjoy your surroundings.

These introspective sculptures are created in conjunction with their surroundings and include eclectic pieces, such as a driftwood rock band, charred wooden heads, an intricate maze, and a tree of life.

This unique sculpture garden in Vermont is part of Artisans Park in Windsor. After touring the sculptures, grab a beer at Harpoon Brewery or sample some of Vermont’s best cheese at Vermont Farmstead Cheese Market.

If you plan ahead, you can even combine this tour with a day of paddling on the Connecticut River with Great River Outfitters. What could be better than beautiful art combined with outdoor recreation?

Admission to the Path of Life Sculpture Garden is $6 for adults, $3 for children 4 to 12, and $5 for seniors. Dogs are not permitted.

Cold Hollow Sculpture Park, Enosburg Falls

Two people enjoy outdoor sculpture parks in Vermont.
Cold Hollow Sculpture Park in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. Photo credit: Paul Rogers Photography

At Cold Hollow Sculpture Park in Enosburg Falls, visitors have a rare opportunity to witness the evolution of a single artist’s vision over fifty years of creating within the landscape. Artist David Stromeyer bought 200 acres of meadows and forests in 1970 and began fabricating huge iron sculptures inspired by the surrounding landscape.

Cold Hollow Sculpture Park opened in 2014, and today, visitors can explore more than 70 of Stromeyer’s sculptures free of charge.

Each season brings something new to this beautiful Vermont sculpture park, with changing installations and themed programs that bring together the arts, sciences, and humanities to explore the intersection of intellectual and creative pursuits.

Cold Hollow Sculpture Park is open from Thursday to Sunday from June to October. There is no admission fee, and dogs are not permitted.

The Sculpture Garden at the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center, West Rutland

A sculpture at the Carving Studio in West Rutland, featuring standing stones and several stone walls.
The Seven Sisters Stelae at The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland

Vermont marble has a long and storied history dating back to 1767, when it was first quarried in the state.

Since then, Vermont’s diverse marble beds have been used to create some of the finest buildings in the world, as well as stunning works of art found in every state in America and around the world.

Some of those stunning works of art can be seen at The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland, the former home of The Vermont Marble Company.

The sculpture garden at The Carving Studio showcases finished pieces in many different carving styles, from the most polished to abstract and gritty and everything in between. Outdoor art is everywhere; the more you look, the more you’ll see.

A sculpture at the Carving Studio in West Rutland featuring small pieces of marble screwed to a tree.

Spend time meandering around the grounds, and you will find creative pieces in the woods, in old quarries, and next to abandoned buildings, giving the place an almost mystical quality.

It’s definitely the most unusual sculpture park in Vermont, and you never know what’s behind a tree or around the corner.

The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center is a non-profit arts education organization that offers Instruction and dialogue in a wide range of sculptural media with professional artists and craftspeople from around the world. 

An onsite gallery highlights works by contemporary sculptors.

You can tour the sculpture garden and walk the trail at The Carving Studio year-round during daylight hours. Visiting is free, and workshops and special events are offered throughout the year.

West Rutland Art Park, West Rutland

A concrete sculpture at the West Rutland Art Park in Vermont.
A sculpture at the West Rutland Art Park.

If you’re visiting The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland, be sure to stop at the West Rutland Art Park, an unassuming field of sculptures with a mowed path and a few picnic tables with views of the mountains.

Park at the bottom of the hill and meander along the path to explore the half-dozen sculptures — three featuring carved marble and another of concrete. One of the most striking sculptures is close to the road — an elaborate steam engine created from Vermont scrap metal.

The West Rutland Art Park is free and can be toured in less than an hour, so it’s best visited in combination with a trip to The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center or perhaps an afternoon exploring the incredible murals in nearby Rutland.

Find West Rutland Art Park on Google Maps.

Hope Cemetery, Barre

A memorial in Hope Cemetery featuring two people holding hands in bed - carved out of granite.

We think of cemeteries as the final resting spot of the dearly departed, but not often as outdoor sculpture parks.

I’d argue that all cemeteries have artistic value if you look hard enough, and if you visit Hope Cemetary outside of Barre, you won’t have to look for long.

Hope Cemetery features incredible stone artistry from celebrated granite carvers through the ages. As with the marble industry, granite has been quarried, sculpted, and celebrated in Vermont since the Civil War.

The town of Barre sits on one of the largest deposits of sculpture-quality granite in America. And Hope Cemetery is one of the best places to see the whimsical, detailed creations carved from the local stone, known around the world as Barre granite.

There are more than 10,000 monuments at Hope Cemetery, depicting everything from a couple lying together in bed to a race car and an airplane soaring through the clouds.

Many of these beautiful pieces were carved by master artisans who traveled to Barre from Italy in the late 19th century to meet the needs of a booming granite industry.

Meander around the 85 acres of final resting places memorialized by some of Vermont’s greatest artists before heading to the Vermont Granite Museum in Barre, where you can learn about the fascinating history, culture, and people of the granite industry in Barre.

Visit Hope Cemetery at 201 Maple Avenue in Barre between 7 am and 5 pm.

Outdoor Sculpture Shows and Festivals

A small sculpture at the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont.
North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show 2021
The grounds of Park McCullough House in North Bennington, Vermont.
North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show 2021

In addition to the permanent collections at outdoor sculpture parks around Vermont, be sure to check out these annual outdoor sculpture shows and festivals.

  • North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show (NBOSS): One of Southern Vermont’s premier events, the North Bennington Sculpture Show features work from some of New England’s most accomplished artists. Sculptures by more than 40 artists are scattered throughout the village of North Bennington with additional sculptures gracing downtown Bennington and the grounds of Bennington Museum. NBOSS takes place between June and November each year.
  • Woodstock Sculpture Fest: Charlet and Peter Davenport have invited sculptors and artists to exhibit work on their land for over thirty years. The event takes place each summer on Prosper Road in Woodstock, Vermont.

Have you been to an outdoor sculpture park in Vermont? Which one is your favorite?

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A collage of photos featuring sculptures in Vermont. Text overlay: Incredible Outdoor Sculpture Parks in Vermont.

Tara Schatz is a freelance writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Vermont Explored and Back Road Ramblers, an American road trip blog. She is also the co-author of the 3rd edition of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Vermont, released in May 2023, and the author of 100+ Wonderful Ways to Experience Vermont.