I didn't want to leave. Some places capture our soul and will not
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.
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
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
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.
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.
EXPLORING WINDSOR COUNTY
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
|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.
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,
email@example.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.