Charming Woodstock (VT)

Article by contributor Bernadette Dostaler

In 1899, Doctor Frederick Merrill and his bride were presented with a 2 1/2 story colonial revival home with Victorian decor, as a wedding gift.  Those of us lucky enough to stay in Woodstock, Vermont can now enjoy this lovely and welcoming home as guests at the Village Inn of Woodstock

The owners, Heather and Jarret Adams, are friendly and gracious hosts. They view their innkeeper roles as a lifestyle, not a job, and it shows in their appreciation of the inn’s history, architecture, interior decor, garden landscaping, and the excellent breakfasts served to guests.

Parlor at The Village Inn of Woodstock

The inn has eight comfortable rooms.  All rooms have luxury linens and antique furnishings.  Some rooms have fireplaces, and a few have private porches.  The main floor features a dining area where breakfast is served, a parlor with a fireplace, a tavern, and a lovely garden courtyard. 

Winter travelers take note, Village Inn is near a number of ski areas. Woodstock is a quintessential New England town with a village green, shops, restaurants, covered bridges, classic New England homes and gardens, a national historic park, and Billings Farm, a working farm and museum, within its borders, not to mention numerous places of interest within a short driving distance.

Start your sightseeing with a visit to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and the Billings Farm and Museum.  The National Historical Park offers tours of the Rockefeller home and a number of hiking trails.  Billings Farm is an operating dairy farm and a museum of Vermont’s rural past.  We visited the farm in August and walked through the Sunflower House, a magical garden filled with thousands of sunflowers ranging in height from 18 inches to 14 feet.  

Viewing the sunflowers

A visit to the Woodstock History Center on Elm Street, in the town center, provides interesting information about Woodstock with artifacts and photo displays, and a tour of the historic Dana House.

Further afield, we drove via the scenic route to the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch where President  Calvin Coolidge was born and raised.  The village has barely changed since the early 20th century.   A visit here is like walking back in time. The Coolidge Museum and Education Center offers tours of the village.  President Coolidge led a life filled with many achievements and heartbreaking personal tragedy.  His wife, Grace Coolidge, a University of Vermont alumni, was the first First Lady to earn an undergraduate college degree. 

President Coolidge was famously sworn into office in Plymouth Notch, at his father’s home, in the early morning hours of August 3, 1923, after the unexpected death of President Harding.

Also in Plymouth Notch is Plymouth Artisan Cheese, located in the original cheese factory built by President Coolidge’s father and other community members. On the day we visited we found that many people on our tour were there because Plymouth Cheese had recently been featured on CBS This Morning.  We can personally attest that the cheese is delicious.

A visit to Woodstock would not be complete without exploring the shops located in the center of town which include The Yankee Bookshop, Primrose Garden, and F.H. Gillingham & Sons General Store

Outside the Prince and the Pauper

The Woodstock area is a haven for restaurants serving up dishes made with local ingredients.  In addition to breakfasts at The Village Inn of Woodstock, we had an outdoor lunch on the flower filled patio at Mon Vert Cafe, in the center of town.  The delicious sandwiches are served on Red Hen Bakery bread. The Prince and the Pauper is a charming restaurant located on the green and leafy Elm Street.  Waitstaff are polite and friendly, the food is delicious, and a calm ambiance made our dinner a highlight of our Woodstock visit.  

More casual restaurants include Mountain Creamery which serves homemade ice cream including VT maple walnut.  If the thought of a hamburger and seafood shack next to a river sounds appealing don’t miss White Cottage Snack Bar.  The restaurant has picnic tables and chairs along the Ottauquechee River.  On hot days put your feet in the river and cool down or skim rocks along the water.

A visit to Woodstock would not be complete without a stop at the Woodstock Farmers Market for all foods Vermont including cheese, produce, maple syrup products, baked goods, and sandwiches.

Finally, when heading home from Woodstock here are a few recommended stops.  Glassmaker, Simon Pearce’s flagship store and restaurant are located in nearby Quechee. Simon Pearce is known for its crystal, lead-free handmade glass pieces.  Visitors can watch glass blowers at work. 

For nature lovers of all ages, VINS, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science Nature Center, also in Quechee, offers raptor presentations, including raptors that fly over the heads of the audience, exhibitions of birds who are too injured to release, and a cool elevated canopy walk that winds up through the tops of the trees with a lookout tower with views of the tranquil Vermont countryside.

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