Welcome to Woodstock, Vermont
By Marcia Passos-Duffy
Woodstock, Vermont, is a tiny town in the heart of the Green Mountains equipped with everything you
could ever ask for in a New England village: covered bridges, a charming downtown, nearby ski slopes,
cross-country skiing, golf courses, great food, a general store with creaky wood floors, an old-fashioned
apothecary, and a faraway dreamy feel that helps you forget what a crazy world we live in.
I stayed at the Woodstock Inn & Resort, just a short walk from the beautifully preserved downtown with
its Federal homes and buildings. The inn, which started as a tavern in 1793, has a long, storied history
with many different owners including Arthur Wilder, an accomplished painter, and later Laurance and
Mary Rockefeller who purchased the building in 1967 and rebuilt the entire structure from scratch. The
inn has been expanding and undergoing improvements ever since.
The new lobby and library, designed to make a community “living room,” give the hotel cozy and
friendly feel. And the staff are attentive and hospitable in a way that makes guests feel welcome and
cared for. I particularly appreciated the real wood burning fireplace in my room, and the nice
personalized bed and breakfast-like touches such as fresh fruit salad (with a side of fresh whipped
cream) in my room on my arrival, and the excellent meals in the inn’s two restaurants, the Red Rooster
and Richardson’s Tavern. Kudos to the chef for a beautifully prepared venison steak I had for dinner my
last night at the inn.
The inn is the perfect place to lounge around (there are several community rooms to cozy up to a favorite
book or game in front of a roaring fire; my favorite was the sun-drenched conservatory) or get a massage
or mani-pedi at the LEED-certified spa facility that features 10 treatment rooms. The Inn’s room rates
start at $239 per night.
If you can pull yourself away from the Inn’s cozy amenities, take a short walk to the quaint downtown
with its down-home feel and friendliness that some ski resort towns sorely lack. And thanks to the
generosity of the Rockefeller/Billings families, the town is well-preserved and feels authentic; it helps
that there isn’t a power line or telephone pole in sight (they were all buried).
If you are visiting overnight or over long weekend, make sure you add some these places to your
• Downtown Woodstock. Meander through FH Gillingham &
Sons, a general store owned by the same family since 1886 with
products that range from the quirky to practical. Here you’ll
find everything from ukuleles to snowshoes to fly fishing
equipment to pet toys and books. Equally interesting is the
Woodstock Pharmacy, with everything from reading glasses to
children’s books, gourmet chocolate, high-end beauty
products, Vermont-made crafts and food, and more. I also
enjoyed visiting the Gallery on the Green (be sure to say hello
to the friendly Golden Retriever, Bear, who spends his days
with the gallery’s owners, Chip and Opal Evans). Lastly, don’t
miss browsing through The Vermont Flannel Co., a family-
owned business with a retail shop across the street from
Gillingham. Here you’ll find a sea of Vermont-made flannel,
from blankets to shirts to sleepwear and underwear (even
flannel thongs!) and dog jackets.
• The Nordic Adventure Center & Suicide Six (if you are
visiting in the winter). The Nordic Adventure Center has 30
miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing
or fat-biking. It is located ½ mile from the Inn at The
Woodstock Country Club. Suicide Six is the resort’s ski area
with slopes to suit all levels.
• Billings Farm & Museum. Visit with Jersey cows, sheep,
horses, oxen, pigs, and chickens through daily programs,
hands-on activities and events. Explore the restored 1890 Farm
House and educational farm life exhibits, and sample Billings
Farm raw-milk cheddar. While there, visit the nearby Marsh-
Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park with tours of the
mansion and the surrounding 550 acre forest.
Photo by TalismanPHOTO for Buick