WOODSTOCK, VT – I wouldn’t call a vacation to the iconic New England village of Woodstock, Vermont a “dream vacation” but it sure is a really good time!
New Englanders know Woodstock as a treasured, upscale destination rich in history and astonishing outdoor beauty, while offering a wide variety of outdoor activities. To outsiders, it’s known more as a popular place where the rich and famous (Rockefeller’s) once vacationed, surrounded by an amazing splash of Green Mountain scenery! Both descriptions are accurate, but until you experience Woodstock first-hand, with its fascinating cobblestone sidewalks and boutique shopping district, can you fully appreciate all the special people, places and things.
A two-hour drive from Boston, Woodstock and Quechee, Vermont are two bordering towns that define a quaint, yet contemporary tourist destination. Both offer everything you might expect in an iconic New England village – covered bridges with a stream that gurgles past farmhouses, to a town center with craft shops, rustic cafes, art galleries and of course, the mountains, which seem to offer evolving impressive visuals as your day progresses, no matter if the weather conditions are sunny, cloudy, rainy or snowy. It’s awesome!
Listed by priority, here are my top-10 reasons to visit sooner rather than later.
10. The Hub of Woodstock
Shop until you drop in Woodstock town center or until you find a nice cushy chair at a craft shop, café, art gallery or local craft brewery. People watching and enjoying the moment is a precious part of the slower-paced Vermont vacation.
9. History… and Cheese
The Billings Farm & Museum, now in its 35th season, is regarded as one of the finest outdoor history museums in the country. Activities include meeting the award-winning Jersey cows, draft horses and sheep, to exploring an 1890 farm house and sampling Billings Farm cheddar.
8. New England Falcons
The New England Falconry center offers guests a unique learning and interactive hands-on experience on the magnificent birds of prey known as falcons. Chris Davis, the founder, is a Master Falconer and breeder, who has been educating locals and tourists about falconry since 1985. This activity is weather dependent.
7. Quechee Golf
Because it is private, with just one phone call or email or an inquiry to the right concierge or Quechee Club Director of Golf TJ Anthoine, you can play golf at one of two courses located at the Quechee Club, for less than $60.
The pristine and hilly Quechee Highland and Lakeland Courses, designed by architect Geoffrey Cornish, showcase New England golf at its finest. My favorite is the Lakeland course which winds along the Ottauquechee River and is consistently ranked among Vermont’s best. Beware of the treacherous, sloping 10th green. Every October the popular Quechee Couples Invitational draws dozens of teams for a fun weekend of golf, food and frolic. Dewey’s Deck is a great 19th hole!
6. The Quechee Gorge
The Quechee Gorge will delight with breathtaking views. Known as “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon,” the Quechee Gorge is one of New England’s most popular natural wonders.
Over 200,000 yearly visitors enjoy the treasures of Vermont State Park such as fishing, canoeing the river, hiking trails, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
5. Simon Pierce Glassblowing
You can’t leave town without a stop at The Mill at Simon Pearce Glassblowing immediately adjacent to the Ottauquechee River and waterfall. Get close to the action (and the intense heat) and watch how glasses, vases, dishes, bowls and all kinds of glass is shaped. After golf, this is a must-see experience! www.simonpearce.com.
4. The Foliage
Early fall is leaf-peeping season, and Vermont is the prime leaf-peeping territory on the planet. Just as traditional as watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, New Englanders take to the roads in autumn to seek bursts of color. It’s taken hundreds of years for the trees in the region’s forests to mature, so nature’s splendid, one-of-a-kind show should not be missed. Leaf-peeping in Vermont is an easy and glorious pastime that you never want to cross off your bucket list, while at the same time it invigorates the soul and senses.
3. The Quechee Club
The Quechee Club is a four-season recreational community, only a short drive from major ski mountains like Okemo, Killington, Stratton and Stowe Mountain Resort. Quechee Lakes is a 5,200-acre community nestled in the hills of Vermont’s Upper Valley, offering picture-postcard beauty, world-class amenities and a homespun village community complete with unique culture and extraordinary cuisine. Condos bordering the golf course can be purchased for under $200,000 and membership packages start at $1,500.
2. The Woodstock Inn
The Woodstock Inn & Resort is “the place” to stay when visiting Woodstock. It may be difficult to find a harder-working hotel executive to make your stay more enjoyable than President and General Manager Gary Thulander.
With 30 years of luxury hotel industry experience, Thulander oversees every detail of the 142 finely-appointed rooms. His mission is to make you happy and keep you coming back! According to Thulander and Director of Marketing Courtney Lowe, they are doing it right because the 2017 season is their best ever in their 200-year-plus history.
“Our team at Woodstock offers authentic and personalized Vermont hospitality,” Thulander explained in a recent interview with golf travel writers. “The Woodstock Inn is a year-round destination with a proud New England reputation for its history, heritage and elegance.” The property also features an award-winning spa and four opportunities to dine.
1. Woodstock Golf
Woodstock Country Club, established in 1895, is an oldie but goodie, par 70, 18-hole masterpiece designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. The approximate 100-acre property is surrounded by spectacular panoramic views of the Kedron Valley while the Kedron Brook splices around and about ten holes. There are 12 bridge crossings, four ponds, six par 3s, four par 5s and plenty of bunkers. Director of Golf Matt Closter, will assist with all your golfing needs promising “a pleasant and memorable experience for golfers of every skill level.”
There’s only one way to find out if Woodstock is Vermont’s best address. Try it!