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I didn't want to leave. Some places capture our soul and will not let go.

Eastern Vermont's Woodstock-Windsor Region is a summer love song. A rhapsody of adventure, relaxation and beauty.

Leaving my home state of Oregon, the flight to Cincinnati was routine. Changing from the large Boeing 757 to the small prop Fairchild 328 jet caught my attention quickly with a more intimate visual air-to-land connection, especially as the industrial Midwest gave way to the evergreen forest and lake district of northeast New York.

Vermont's Green Mountain State title was immediately evident upon approaching and landing in Burlington, located along the shores of Lake Champlain. Small, green-forested mountains and hills, punctuated by streams, rivers and lakes, occupy most of Vermont.

Burlington is muggy but pleasant in August. My companion (who picked me up at the airport) and I enjoyed the old town district, walking and exploring the many streets-one street, Church, is foot traffic only-that lead to the marina where a flotilla of sporting and sail boats moor. The slow summer sunset was golden, ripe with harvest light and silhouetted sailboats tacking into the wind.

Woodstock, Vermont
Formal Garden, Woodstock

We ate a delightful meal at the authentic Italian cucina Trattoria Delia, following in the old country tradition of five courses: antipasti, primi, secondi, dolce and digestivo. My secondi dish cinghiale brasato (wild boar with red wine, rosemary, tomatoes and sage over soft polenta) was superb. A three-hour drive to Woodstock near the New Hampshire border followed.


Vermont is a charming, largely rural state of covered bridges, country roads (backroads outnumber paved 53% to 47%), country churches, small farms and dairies, unique barns, country inns, wood, rail and stone fences and lovely gardens. Woodstock has all of these.

A village of 3500, it is the seat of Windsor County, cradled between dreamy green hills and the serpentine Ottauquechee River. Former Vermont Senator and confidant of President Abraham Lincoln best said it," The good people of Woodstock have less incentive than others to yearn for heaven."

Woodstock is home of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, America's only national park that tells the story of conservation history and the evolving nature of land stewardship in America.

Each summer, the Park offers a variety of education walks and programs such as "Romantic Designs: Landscape Meets Literature." We enjoyed walks on Mount Tom's carriage roads, a visit to The Pogue (a large wetland pond) and the Formal Garden. The 550-acre park maintains a dairy farm and a museum of agriculture and rural life.

Juniper Tree Inn
Silver Lake
America's Longest Covered Bridge

Woodstock has a fascinating legacy as the site of America's first ski-tow (1934) and is the only town in America with four Paul Revere church bells. Several Revolutionary War veterans are buried in the local cemetery. Woodstock's Wassail Celebration in early December is one of the many events held annually.

The Village of Woodstock has wisely preserved its architectural and natural heritage with a downtown Historic District. Strolling the homey streets is a pastime for locals and tourists. We enjoyed visiting the art galleries and the Vermont food and kitchen specialty shop Aubergine. We took a lunch break at Bentleys Restaurant, feasting on maple leaf farm duck. An afternoon visit to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and Rapture Center is worthy.


Using Woodstock as the hub, there are many easy day excursions exploring Windsor County. The more adventurous will find fly fishing, hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking in nearby Quechee. Quechee Gorge Bridge offers stunning views of Ottauquechee River 400 feet below. Hot air balloon trips offer an even more dramatic viewing of this spectacular chasm that some call Vermont's Grand Canyon.

En route to Quechee on Highway 4, visit Sugarbush Farm and sample four grades of Vermont maple syrup and ten Vermont cheeses. We had fresh corn on the cob drizzled with butter and sprinklings of Vermont maple sugar.
Corn at the Sugarbush Farm
Nearby are historic Taftsville, picturesque Taftsville Covered Bridge and the historic Taftsville Country Store, which was established in 1840. The store has the finest selections of over 40 Vermont cheeses to sample, including a number of artisan farmstead cheeses cut from the wheel. Bon appetite!
Taffsville Covered Bridge

Thirty miles from Quechee is the New Hampshire border. We spent an evening at Opera North (operanorth.org) watching Mozart's vastly entertaining Don Giovanni. The vintage opera house is near Lebanon, New Hampshire's town square.


Vermont and New Hampshire share 250 miles of the Connecticut River. This common boundary is a haven for the canoeist and rafter. Fishing on the Connecticut is an angler's dream with abundant perch, bass and trout.
Connecticut River

A great one-day trip (approximately 75 miles) from Woodstock is south to Windsor. Windsor is the birthplace of the State of Vermont (1777). America's longest covered bridge (460 feet) spans the Connecticut River, connecting Windsor with Cornish, New Hampshire. It was built in 1866. We giggled at the sign above the bridge's entrance: "Walk Your Horses or Pay Two Dollar Fine."

While in Cornish, visit Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park. Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) was America's foremost sculptor in the 19th century. Nearby is also the home of the famous American painter Maxfield Parrish. Many of his original works are exhibited at the Cornish Colony Gallery and Museum. Nearby Ascutney Mountain was the backdrop for many of Parrish's luminous landscapes.

One of the finest evenings we spent in Vermont was at the Juniper Hill Inn in an ancient pine forest overlooking Windsor. The 28-room mansion is stately and grand yet retains Vermont heritage as a comfortable country home with colonial simplicity. It is a romantic getaway.

A summer stay in Windsor County would not be complete without a picnic and swim at Silver Lake in the hamlet of Barnard, a short drive north of Woodstock. It was our late afternoon ritual for a week. It seemed that time stood still while we were there. Summer in Vermont and time standing still seem to go hand in hand, soul in soul.

Vermont Tourist Information: 1-802-223-3443, info@vtchamber.com. Woodstock Area: 888-4WOODSTOCK, www. woodstockvt.com. Quechee area: 800-295-5451, www.quechee.com. Windsor area: 802-885-2779, www. vacationinvermont.com. Burlington area: 877-686-5253.

Where to Stay: Woodstock: Ardmore Inn 800-497-9652, The Canterbury House 800-390-3077, Village Inn of Woodstock 800-722-4571. Windsor: Juniper Hill Inn 800-359-2541, www.juniperhillinn.com.




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