Buy tickets in advance for the venerable Marlboro Music Festival’s weekend concerts (July 14 to August 12), held on the Marlboro College campus just outside of Brattleboro. Started in 1951, the annual camplike program brings together world-class instrumentalists from different backgrounds to reinterpret chamber works. Each week’s program is announced only a few days in advance, depending on which groups are deemed ready to perform, but all the concerts are uniformly impressive.
Time your trip to coincide with the first Friday of the month for the bustling Gallery Walk, when over 30 downtown spots keep their doors open into evening hours to host readings, live music, and artist receptions. Be sure to stop by Vermont Artisan Designs to pick up local crafts like Alan Stirt’s wooden bowls, and the more international Gallery in the Woods, which showcases surrealist work.
Check out the smart, eclectic variety of exhibits at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center ($8 for adults), whose mission is to present shows that challenge the status quo. Housed in a former train station built in 1915, the museum hosts regular lectures and film screenings; current exhibits include John Gerding’s woodstack sculptures (through October 21) and an interactive area where visitors can create and exhibit their own collages (through March 2, 2013).