Travel: Woodstock, Vermont

Summer is finally here in New England! The past year has been dominated by the Covid-19 Pandemic, and we have dutifully restricted travel and entertainment. But now that we have been fully vaccinated, we are venturing out like bears emerging from hibernation. 

My husband and I used our quarantine time wisely – focusing most on completing home improvement projects – but we desperately needed a getaway that offered some personal pampering.  Travel to other countries was still restricted, so we decided to pick a destination within a day’s drive from our home in Maine. New England features so many historic grand hotels. After evaluating amenities and activities, we decided on the Woodstock Inn and Resort in Woodstock, Vermont.

Woodstock, Vermont is a classic New England village with general stores, farm-to-table restaurants, fine art galleries, and boutiques. The Inn itself dates to 1793 when Captain Israel Richardson built one of the first lodging accommodations in the village. The original two-story Richardson’s Tavern changed ownership many times over the next several years, undergoing numerous alterations and additions, quickly exceeding capacity as the arrival of the town’s first railroad brought many new visitors to the area.

Moody Heath, an expert carver and a local cabinetmaker carved a large golden eagle mounted above the Tavern’s entrance, and Richardson’s Tavern was renamed The Eagle Hotel in 1830. The Woodstock Inn adopted the eagle symbol into their brand identity, and the original eagle carving is preserved in the Rockefeller ballroom

The Woodstock Inn gradually fell into a state of disrepair and was purchased by Laurence Rockefeller in 1957 with the intention of tearing down the building and constructing an entirely new hotel. Since the opening of the new Inn, the resort has been expanded 4 times with revisions to guest rooms and public spaces. In 1970 The Woodstock Ski Touring Center was opened and in 1986 The Woodstock Racquet & Fitness Club opened south of the Golf course. In 2010, the addition of a 10,000 square foot, LEED-certified Spa facility that features 10 treatment rooms,

When we arrived we were welcomed by a huge stone fireplace surrounded by comfortable seating areas in the lobby, reminiscent of an old lodge. Our room wasn’t quite ready, so we were directed to the lobby bar where beer, wine, cocktails, coffee, tea, and fresh baked cookies were available. We had a chance to explore while we were waiting and discovered a gift shop, game room, the spa and numerous restaurants. Dining options included The Red Rooster, Richardson’s Tavern, Petey’s Pourhouse and the Conservatory. Because Covid 19 was still an issue, only the Red Rooster was open that evening, but it offered a combination menu with selections from the other eateries as well. 

When our room was ready, we were delighted to learn that we had been upgraded. The room was very luxurious and featured a king bed and a spacious sitting area, Our dinner at the Red Rooster that evening was spectacular and the service unparalleled. My husband ordered the Surf and Turf – seared Georges Bank scallops, braised beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and a tomato and leek relish. I had the Duck Two Ways – a seared duck breast and an apple smoked duck leg confit, with a white bean and root vegetable cassoulet.

The next day, we took a short hike in the village up to Mount Tom.  The hiking system in the area includes 80 miles of trails and tempted us to return during the winter when we could do some snowshoeing. After our walk, we retreated to the state-of-the-art Spa for massages.

The Staff at the Woodstock Inn and Resort has the ability to make guests feel like they are the only ones there.  It was a truly remarkable getaway and we highly recommend it.

Other near-by destinations to explore:

 Billings Farm & Museum: Take a half-mile walk to learn about the farm operation a century ago. The museum features a restored 1890 Farm House, Jersey dairy cows, draft horses, Southdown sheep, and heritage chickens, interactive programs, award-winning historical exhibits, and seasonal events.  Admission to the Billings Farm & Museum is included for Woodstock Inn & Resort guests.

Simon Pearce: Stylish designs and elegant glassware, tableware, lighting, and home decor all handcrafted by American artisans. Glass is blown everyday at their flagship hydro-powered mill and store in Quechee, Vermont.

King Arthur Flour: America’s oldest flour company, founded in 1790 in Norwich, Vermont. Sample artisan bread, take a baking class, get great recipes and shop in the baker’s store.

Vermont Institue of Natural Science: (VINS) is a nonprofit, member-supported, environmental education, research, and avian rehabilitation organization headquartered at the VINS Nature Center in Quechee, Vermont. Open year-round, the 47-acre campus features state-of-the-art raptor enclosures, exhibit spaces, classrooms, and interpretive nature trails.

Farmhouse Pottery: Woodstock, Vermont based artisanal potters offer unique one-of-a-kind handmade pottery, décor, candles, lotions, bakeware, gifts and more.

Antique Shopping: Shop where the antique dealers shop — The Quechee Gorge Village Marketplace! Featuring over 450 booths in over 18,000 climate controlled square feet. Vermont’s largest and most popular antique center located in Quechee, Vermont.

Shackleton Thomas: Fine handcrafted Charles Shackleton furniture and handmade Miranda Thomas pottery made using traditional techniques in Bridgewater, Vermont.

Harpoon Brewery: The Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden, located in Windsor, Vermont and the same building as the brewery itself, offers a full selection of Harpoon beers straight from the source along with delicious food to pair with your pint.

The Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, VT is a nationally recognized science museum with more than 125 exhibits interactive exhibits on nature, technology, and the physical sciences. The Montshire’s unique, 100-acre riverfront setting includes a Woodland Garden, nature trails, David Goudy Science Park, and the Hughes Pavilion. Visiting exhibitions, education programs, and special events are offered throughout the year. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).

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