Article by Contributor Tricia Bielinski
I did not grow up in a “winter” family. I grew up in a beach family…my parents were not skiers but they loved the beach, and took me and my brother to it all summer long for day trips and once a summer a weeklong trip to Cape Cod, Hampton Beach, or Rhode Island. Winter was for hibernating, cooking, and sledding with the neighborhood kids.
One of the silver linings of Covid in my opinion is how it’s forced people outside. For those that typically stick their head in the sand (sorry, snow) until winter is over there’s now so much more emphasis on embracing the great outdoors, even during a New England cold one. Restaurants and cafes still have their sidewalk tables out with blankets and heaters. State parks and other hiking destinations are much busier than in years past. Friends bundle up to gather around a fire pit in someone’s backyard with their coolers for visits.
So despite the fact that it was the middle of January, I headed up to Woodstock, Vermont for a weekend recently to explore an outdoor I hadn’t seen yet. On my Vermont to-do list was hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing, and I couldn’t wait to inhale all of the fresh winter air in a new destination.
I stayed at the Woodstock Inn & Resort, an absolutely delightful property right in the middle of town where all of the shops, restaurants, and cafes are. I arrived on Friday evening to a classic New England frosty weather site: snow-topped bushes with twinkling white lights and the colonial look and feel of white paint with black shutters. It was quintessential, to say the least, and how lovely to walk into an entry room warmed by a large stone wood-burning fireplace! That night’s dinner was at the Richardson’s Tavern onsite, with a delicious cheese fondue and red wine from their small but quality wine list.
Saturday started off brisk with temps in the teens, but as hopefully, we’ve all learned during this outdoor Covid winter as long as you dress for it you’ll be fine. I headed to the nearby Faulkner Trail to hike to the summit of Mount Tom. Cold as it was, it was a beautiful sunny day and this area offers trails for all levels. I have a longstanding tradition of partaking in a frosty beer after hiking, so a trip to the Worthy Kitchen was in order. All farm to table with a great selection of local brews, this was the perfect pit stop. I ordered oysters that came with a cider vinegar mignonette that I am still thinking about, and wondering why I didn’t drink what was left after dousing my oysters with it!
The resort has a great Activity Center to help you with any active plans you have in mind, from falconry to snowshoeing to a visit to the nearby Billings Farm & Museum.
I headed to the Activity Center to get fitted for my cross country skis and boots (also called Nordic Skiing) and then it was just around the corner to the resort’s 18 hole golf course to kick off. This was the most perfect part of the day as the sun was getting low and cast a beautiful brumal light over the whole course with trails. It was easy to get into a rhythm and get lost in thought, enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Rosy cheeked and now thoroughly exercised, it was back to the inn for a much needed hot shower and dinner! But not before a little apres ski in front of the grand fireplace. There’s nothing like a day of brisk weather adventure to give you the warm, fuzzy mellow feeling just right for cocktail hour.
The Red Rooster is the perfect setting for a relaxed dinner. Low lit and rustic, it has a great cocktail list and fantastic wine selection. You’ll find classic and hearty dishes made with local ingredients. Breakfast here is also a win, I had the best blueberry pancakes I’ve ever had in my life!
If you’re looking for a change of scenery Woodstock will not disappoint, and you can find everything you need in one small radius. I’ll say the same thing that I say to my arctic fearing parents–get out and enjoy our beautiful New England winter!
Featured image from https://www.woodstockvt.com/