The small, picturesque, New England town of Woodstock is situated on the Eastern most border of Vermont with New Hampshire. James Sanderson was the first settler in 1768 and by the Revolutionary War, the population had reached 1600 people. Today Woodstock has just over 3,000 inhabitants, and retains its small town charm.
The most popular tourist attraction in the area is the Billings Farm and Museum. Visitors will find a number of inns and restaurants in Woodstock as well. The Village Green is the central square and a stroll around it reveals a number of Federal Style, Georgian and Greek revival homes.
1. Billings Farm
© Billings Farm
The 270-acre Billings Farm was founded in 1871 by Frederick Billings as an example to farmers in the area of ideas of sustainability, prudent land use and efficiency. Billings brought George Aitken onto the operation in 1884 and as the farm grew to over 1000 acres, they imported sheep, hogs and cows from New Jersey.
Within nine years Billings Farm marked it’s place in history when it won “Champion Heifer of the World” at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Today Billings Farm is open to visitors. Families can visit a museum, barns with dairy cows, horses and sheep. Also on site is the original furnished farmhouse from 1890. The farm hosts annual activities and programs.
69 Old River Rd. Woodstock, VT. 05091, Phone: 802-457-2355
2. Sugarbush Farm
© Sugarbush Farm
The Luce Family has been operating Sugarbush Farm for four generations in central Vermont. Today Betsy Luce and her family carry on the tradition of making and selling award winning cheeses, jams and four grades of Pure Vermont maple syrup.
The Farm operates year round and autumn is the busiest season. Visitors to the farm can observe the various processes of cheese making as well as how the maple syrup is produced. Visitors may try different samples, browse the gift shop, explore the nature trails and pet some of the farm animals, including goats, baby cows, horses, rabbits and chickens.
591 Sugarbush Farm Road Woodstock, VT 05091, Phone: 802-457-1757
3. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
© Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park lies Northwest of the village of Woodstock. Charles Marsh built his federal style home here in 1805. Railroad magnate, Frederick H Billings purchased the estate in 1869 and over the years updated the original house in the Queen Anne Victorian style.
In 1992, Billing’s granddaughter, Mary French Rockefeller and her husband Lawrence Rockefeller donated the home to the people of the United States. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark as well.
Visitors have access to over 600 acres of varied ecosystems within the park via various roads and hiking trails. There is also a visitor’s center as well as the original mansion and gardens. Tours are available for small and large groups, reservations are recommended.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, 54 Elm Street Woodstock , VT 05091, Phone: 802-457-3368 x222
4. Things to Do in Woodstock, VT: Mount Tom
© Roman Sigaev/stock.adobe.com
Mount Tom is located in the Northwest part of Woodstock. It’s peak measures at 1,357 feet from sea level. In addition to numerous trails to hike and explore, the town holds a variety of events throughout the year on Mount Tom. Among the different trail systems on Mount Tom, the most popular is the Faulkner Trail, constructed 75 years ago by Marianne Faulkner.
The mountain is home to a large variety of plant and animal species including some rare species of reptiles. Frederick H Billings, the previous owner prior to the land becoming a park, planted numerous species of trees from around the world. Mount Tom is part of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.
54 Elm Street Woodstock , VT 05091, Phone: 802-457-3368 x222
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5. Taftsville Covered Bridge
© Christian Delbert/stock.adobe.com
Spanning the Ottauquechee River, the Tafstville Covered Bridge is one of the oldest standing covered bridges in the United States. Its unique architecture is of an early craftsman style, possibly linked to early designs from Switzerland.
The bridge was built in 1836 by a native to the area named Solomon Emmons III. His timber design held up for over a century until in was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011. After repairs took place, the bridge was once again opened in 2013.
The Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and is located between Upper River Road and Woodstock Road in Woodstock VT.
Woodstock, VT 05091
6. Ottauquechee River, Woodstock
The Ottauquechee River flows East from the town of Killington in the Green Mountain until it reaches the Connecticut River in the town of Hartland, 41 miles downstream. Along the way it plunges 165 feet through the Quechee Gorge just outside of the Quechee State Park. A bridge on U.S. Route 4 crosses the gorge and is an ideal location to get a glimpse of the geological marvel.
The U.S. Corp of Army Engineers built a hydroelectric dam at the mouth of the Ottauqechee River and the result is North Hartland Lake. Fisherman frequent the river and lake for its Bass, Northern Pike and in the springtime, Trout.
Woodstock, VT 05091
7. Norman Williams Public Library
© Norman Williams Public Library
Situated on the Village Green of Woodstock is the Norman Williams Public Library. The pink sandstone building was built between 1883 and 1884 and is a testament to the history of Woodstock as an unusually literate village during the early 19th century. At the time the library was built, the town had five local newspapers, a medical college, several private academies, and reading circles were very popular.
The library has since undergone a $5 million renovation that highlights the original architecture, while allowing for modern amenities. In addition to providing more than 50,000 reference materials, the library provides computers, printers, copiers and WiFi.
10 The Green, Woodstock, VT 05091, Phone: 802-457-2295
8. Cloudland Farm
© Cloudland Farm
Cloudland farm was established in 1808 by the Emmons family. They provided sheep, pigs and Jersey cows as well as eggs and apples to the town of Woodstock and surrounding residents. Today, the farm is still in the family operated by Bill and Kathy Emmons. The farm raises chickens, pigs, turkey, and Black Angus cattle in their pastures.
Located on the premises is the Cloudland market where visitors can purchase pottery, pickles, various Vermont cheeses, teas, maple syrups, sodas and teas. Also available for purchase are Cloudland’s Angus beef steaks, sausages, and free range pork, all of which are raised on Cloudland Farm.
Cloudland farm offers an authentic farm-to-table dinner made from a combination of ingredients from Cloudland and neighboring local farms. More day trips in Vermont
1101 Cloudland Rd. Woodstock, VT 05091, Phone: 802-457-2599
9. The Lincoln Inn and Restaurant, Woodstock
© The Lincoln Inn and Restaurant
The Lincoln Inn not only a Bed & Breakfast, but prides itself in being a culinary destination. The menu changes daily depending on which ingredients are freshest and available. The restaurant offers a seven and twelve course menu as well as a four-course prix fixe option, each paired with hand-selected wines. The 6-acre property is managed by Michelin-trained chef Jevgenija Saromova.
Guests who wish to spend the night can choose from six rooms on the second story of the restaurant. Each of the rooms have views of the Vermont countryside. Lucky guests might get a glimpse of Lord Lincoln and Frankie the Duke of Woodstock, the Lincoln Inn’s beloved resident Whippets.
2709 West Woodstock Road, Woodstock, VT 05091, Phone: 802-457-7052
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10. Eshqua Bog Natural Area
Eshqua Bog is a true marvel of nature just waiting to be discovered. The bog was formed more than 10,000 years ago when the glaciers retreated, leaving little pockets of bog and a large fen which provide the ideal habitat for a number of rare and special plants like ladies’ slippers, cotton grass, pitcher plants and more. To ensure that everyone can enjoy the June show of flowers, a 460ft accessible boardwalk has been installed. Other activities in the area include hiking, wildlife watching and photography. Hikers can download the Avenza Maps App and the area’s Trail Map to enhance their hiking experience in this very special natural area.
Eshqua Bog Natural Area, Garvin Hill Rd, Woodstock, VT 05091, 802 229 4425
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Attraction Spotlight: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Visitors to Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont have access to 554 acres of forest, a mansion that is over 200 years old, and community events to explore. This is Vermont’s only national park site. The National Historical Park was created when President George W. Bush on August 26, 1992 when he signed an act into law that appointed the park as a place to preserve the history of conservation stewardship in America.
The park would also recognize the contributions of George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings, and preserve and maintain the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion and surrounding acreage and holdings.
Visitors can tour the mansion, were three pioneering American families once lived, the formal gardens, hike trails, and visit exhibits in the carriage barn. The park offers education on conservation stewardship and works in conjunction with the Woodstock Foundation and Billings Farm & Museum which sits next to the park.
There are many activities for the entire family and at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The park offers a Winter & Spring program flyer online which is the best source of information on detailed special events and program information at the park.
Ranger Guided Programs- The National Historical Park is the country’s oldest sustainably managed forest and rangers are available four times per day for guided tours of the trails, property, and mansion. Themes of these tours vary seasonally. Detailed information on the narrative of tours, meeting times and places and ticketing information can be found on the national park service website. Some of the tours include a focus on how women shaped the Billings estate, fallout shelters, Landscape paintings, hiking tours, behind the scenes tours and more.
Mansion and Gardens- The mansion was first built in 1805 for the Marsh family. Frederick Billings purchased the home in 1869 and renovated the entire home into a Queen Anne Style. It remained untouched until the Rockefellers inherited the home in 1954 and began modernizing the interior. The house was placed on the National Historic Landmark Registry in 1967 and was dedicated by Lady Bird Johnson.
Carriage Barn- The Visitor’s Center and Bookstore can be found in the 1895 restored Carriage Barn. There is an educational exhibit on conservation People taking care of Places here, a library, and maps for self-guided tours. The Carriage Barn is open seven days a week from 10 am to 5pm from Memorial Day weekend through Halloween.
Hiking or Walking- Take a hike or walk on one of the trails through Mont Tom Forest. Visit The Pogue, a man made pond tucked into the hillside of the mountains that is spring fed. The Pogue is said to be bottomless and was created in the 19th century.
Winter Sports- Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are offered at the park during winter months, weather permitting. The average winter snow fall is upwards of 80 inches and freezing temperatures are common from November to March.
Working Woodlands Workshops- These workshops are held throughout the year at the park and are hosted by forestry professionals, scientists, landowners, community members, and other inspirational figures that want to explore topics in woodland education. Some of these topics include tree identification, sawmilling, animal tracking, trail maintenance, how to control invasive plant species, conservation, low impact gardening and more.
Junior Ranger Program- kids in grades 7-12 are welcome to participate in the Junior Ranger Program where they can shadow a park ranger and learn about the National Historical Park. These programs are offered during the summer.
Civil War Home Front Walking Tour- The National Park system is part of the walking tour that was piloted in 2003. The tour goes through the entire town of Woodstock including the Home of Senator Jacob Collamer, the First Congressional Church, River Street Cemetery, Adjutant General Peter Washburn’s Office, and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The park was the home of George Perkins Marsh who was Lincoln’s ambassador to Italy and argued the Union’s cause.
The park buildings are open to the public from May to October however, educators to encouraged to access the park and its buildings any time of the year and to work with Park Education Coordinators to discuss the best ways to meet the needs of students and curriculum goals. Teachers materials and resource guides are available online through the national park service website.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Park is pleased to offer an Artist in Residence Studio found at the Horse Shed in the Meadow. Although originally built to house Mary Rockefeller’s horses in 1961, the shed is now an artist’s studio and has a platinum LEED certified classroom and meeting space. Artists much arrange for their own living accommodations but are free to work and hold classes in the Horse Shed.
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54 Elm Street , Woodstock , VT 05091, Phone: 802-457-3368 x222