Explore Rutland County: Benson & West Haven

Benson is a small town located in the northwestern corner of Rutland County. Benson’s roots are in farming, and the town has maintained that rural Vermont charm. Benson Village (Stage Road between Lake Road and Hulett Hill Road) is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Don’t let Benson’s size fool you. Despite being just 45.6 square miles, Benson is home to a number of recreation and dining options.

Bounded on the west by Lake Champlain – the eighth largest naturally occurring body of fresh water in the United States – visitors should head to Benson Landing, which serves as a fishing access point and boat launch for non-fishing recreation. Lake Champlain is home to a wide variety of fish species, including Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Northern Pike, White and Yellow Perch, and more.

Pond Woods Wildlife Management Area also provides an abundance of opportunities to get outside and explore. This 2,272-acre parcel is owned by the State of Vermont and managed by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Visitors can expect to see a diverse array of wildlife at Pond Woods Wildlife Management Area, including White-tailed Deer, Cottontail Rabbits, Red Foxes, Great Blue Herons, Marsh Wrens, and others.

Those looking to get out and explore away from the water should visit Shaw Mountain. Protected by The Nature Conservancy, Shaw Mountain is home to 11 distinct natural communities spanning 451 acres, including a shrub swamp, vernal pools, and oak-hickory forest, and more. It is also home to several endangered wildlife species and 15 rare plant species. Shaw Mountain is open to visitors, with a 2.4-mile round-trip hike.

After, stop for a bite to eat at any of Benson’s well-loved restaurants and food trucks. The Wheel Inn serves down-home country meals in a charming and rustic setting. During COVID-19, the Wheel Inn is offering limited indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout. During the warmer months, try Benson’s food trucks. Willie’s BBQ serves authentic wood-fired barbeque and West Coast Tacos serves small plates including tacos, burritos, nachos, and more.

Bordering Benson is the quaint town of West Haven. A picturesque Vermont town filled with lush farmlands; West Haven is home to the Rutland Region’s second smallest population, with less than 300 residents.

Like its population, West Haven’s geographic size is on the smaller side, occupying less than 30 square miles of Vermont. West Haven is home to Devil’s Bowl Speedway, the fastest dirt track in New England. Due to COVID-19, the speedway has made modifications to fan capacity to allow for safe gatherings. Reserve and purchase your tickets for the track ahead of time online.

Explore the outdoors at the Helen W. Buckner Memorial Preserve at Bald Mountain. Peregrine Falcons, rare snakes, and Vermont’s only lizard species live in this quiet corner of our state. Home to 65 rare of uncommon plant and animal species and 20 distinct natural communities, the preserve offers five miles of hiking trails.

While You’re There

  • Try the pie at The Wheel Inn, or lighter fare at Willie’s BBQ or West Coast Tacos.
  • Take a hike at Bald Mountain or Shaw Mountain.
  • Catch some summer sun and maybe even a fish or two at Benson Landing, which provides access to Lake Champlain.

Meet Our Members in Benson & West Haven

The Binding Site VT