The Bennington Region lies among the Taconic and Green Mountains of southwestern Vermont. Historic villages are nestled among scenic rural countryside in the “Valley of Vermont” that runs north and south between the two mountain ranges. One of the unique and historically important characteristics of the Bennington Region is the presence of two county “shire towns,” Manchester in the north and Bennington in the south. Bennington County is the only county in Vermont with this distinct political geography, represented by two county courthouses, and prominently identified in the well-established “Northshire” and “Southshire” labels that include the two parts of the region. These two areas are different, but the “shires” theme is used in this plan to highlight the unique characteris-tics of the northern and southern communities and to draw them together socially and economically.

The significance of the Northshire and Southshire to the region has been used to highlight the unique characteristics of the region. For example, the formally designated “Shires of Vermont Byway” now runs the length of the region along the Valley of Vermont and the “Shires of Vermont Marathon” is an annual 26.2 mile long foot race contested over the back roads between Bennington and Manchester. The Shires concept helps promote the region’s assets to tourists and businesses and provides an valued sense of history and place for residents of the region.
Bennington Monument 2 (483x800)