“Traveling: it leaves you speechless, and then turns you into a storyteller.” Or, blogger. 🙂
As alluded to in previous posts, my husband and I, along with his family, voyaged East last month to spend some time volunteering. We stayed in a remote city of Vermont, called Ludlow, which has a population of approximately 800, and drove anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half in order to find residents. Some of these homes were nestled so deeply into the side of a mountain that, even in a versatile SUV with 4-wheel drive, we almost could not reach them! It was not a good commute for the faint-of-heart, though, it was extremely beautiful, serene, and, of course, rewarding.
At the start and conclusion of our volunteering week, we scheduled some time to do a bit of sightseeing. For the first installment of this East Coast Excursions series, I wanted to share some highlights from our first day, which was spent in a quaint village of Vermont named Woodstock.
Located in the Green Mountains of Windsor county, the southeastern area named Woodstock is best known for its rich historical roots and charming, small-town essence.
Our day began as any proper one should: overindulging in a large brunch-buffet! (Brace yourself for a cliche, social-media-worthy “food pic”… *eyeroll*)
We enjoyed this delicious meal at the Woodstock Inn & Resort. Even though we arrived near the conclusion of brunch hours, the large food selection was almost overwhelming- it was difficult to decide what I wanted to eat! From the vast choices of farm-fresh, classic breakfast staples to the assortment of delectable pastries and fruit to the gourmet, chef-prepared, customizable omelets, suffice to say it was almost impossible to not go back up for a second helping.
The beautiful setting enhanced the enjoyableness of our meal; the Woodstock Inn & Resort boasts of its “preservation of New England history, heritage, and elegance” – and proves true to those words. The fine craftsmanship and luxurious furnishings on the inside are mirrored by beautifully manicured gardens and foliage on the outside.
It was hard to tear ourselves away from the lush grounds of the Inn, but, after all, we had plenty more of Woodstock to enjoy.
We meandered down the streets of the town for a while, marveling at the beautiful, historic architecture. So many of the century-old homes were kept in such good condition and really added to the charm of Woodstock.
Soon we stumbled upon the rolling hills of Billings Farm & Museum.
The Farm’s purpose, when established in 1871 by Frederick Billings, was for it to be a “model dairy operation for farmers in the region, founded on the principles of efficiency, sustainability, and responsible land use”. Nowadays, while the dairy-farm still stands, Billing’s has expanded to offer educational and historical exhibits, events, and interactive programs provided for the informative enjoyment of all ages.
My favorite part: they let you pet the cows *swoon*.
Across the street from Billing’s Farm & Museum is the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion and its famous gardens.
The farmhouse, built in 1805, was first inhabited by George Perkins Marsh, an influential environmentalist and writer. Frederick Billings next purchased the house as well as the surrounding 550 acres (see the above: Billing’s Farm) with the purpose of reforesting and restoring its natural beauty. The Rockefeller family then took possession of the home, with the same intent to conserve the beautiful environment, before entrusting the property to the National Parks Service.
I loved all the intricate details of the home; every element was so perfectly constructed and preserved.
Because I am basically inept when it comes to vegetation other than rose bushes and dandelions, I will quote what the National Park System explains about these gardens: “Today, the gardens at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park include an azalea and rhododendron garden, rock garden, cutting garden, a hemlock hedgerow, a dense stand of Norway spruce” among many other beautiful flowers (I don’t know what half of the things are in that quoted sentence). That’s my extent of knowledge on plants: I can tell you if they are visually-appealing.
The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller gardens do not disappoint.
Towards the end of the afternoon, we meandered our way back through the main “commercial” area of Woodstock, though you won’t find many “chains” here.
Lined with quaint boutiques, the busier streets of Woodstock gave me a homey, close-knit town-vibe (Stars Hollow, is it you!?)
The Vermont Flannel Company, USA, is a family owned business, engineering flannel everything: coats, hoodies, pajamas, and even flannel pet-apparel! Just one example of the captivating Woodstock attraction.
Even the inside of the boutiques radiated small-town charm. I just had to snap a selfie here *cue teeny-bopper-valley-girl voice*.
A few steps down the street you find yourself at F.H. Gillingham & Sons General Store.
Situated in its original 1886 location, the General Store offers modern and vintage products alike. The current store owners, still in the same family of original store founders, pride themselves on their ancestors’ business philosophy: your money’s worth or your money back.
This remarkable walk through history is definitely worth your time if you ever happen upon Woodstock, Vermont.
To end the day, we picked up some modern necessities from Gillingham’s and headed home to prepare for our week of activity.
Stay tuned for the remainder of the East Coast Excursion series… next up: “What To Do In Vermont In The Summer” & “Exploring Boston”.
I’d love to hear your opinion! Have you ever visited Woodstock? Do you want to now?! Let’s chat! Feel free to ask any questions or give your opinions in the comments below!
Thanks for reading, friends! XOXO