Destination – Woodstock, VT
Frequently ranked among the prettiest small towns in America, Woodstock, Vermont sparkles with quintessential New England charm. The grassy oval of the centrally located Village Green is ringed by an array of pristinely restored colonial-era houses. White steeples atop centuries-old churches account for the only structures higher than three stories. In a town where even the powerlines have been buried to preserve a historic street view, the word “quaint” hardly begins to cover it.
And yet, there’s more to Woodstock than picturesque village-life. Much more.
If you’re there for the holidays, a right turn at the Green and a half mile jaunt south on Route 106 will bring you to the recently revamped Woodstock Nordic Center, where the Woodstock Inn and Resort’s well-equipped shop can gear you up and set you loose on 60 km of wide Nordic trails groomed for both skate and classic skiing. Terrain ranges from the expansive flats of the Resort’s Golf Course, to the gentle rollers of the adjacent forest, to the long hilly loops of the nearby Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical park—all well maintained by the Nordic Center crew. Stunning vistas and impressive summits are easy to come by at either location. If you’re with the family or just new to skinny skis, professional quality lessons and tours are readily available.
Visiting in the summer months? Ten minutes north of town lies the Inn’s downhill ski area, dauntingly named Suicide Six, which adds miles of world-class mountain biking to the extensive network of single-track that surrounds the Nordic Center. Check in at Woodstock Sports for some local knowledge!
And of course, a spectacular hike is always easily accessed the heart of the Green Mountains.
After your outdoor adventure—and after an obligatory shopping session in the historic F.H. Gillingham’s and Sons general store, or in any of Woodstock’s other eclectic and inviting shoppes—warm up and wind down with a Vermont roasted coffee and a fresh pastry or a Coffeehouse Brisket Sandwich at Mon Vert Café.
Looking for something stiffer? Vermont is the at the heart of an exploding craft brewery scene, and Woodstock has not been left out of the action. A short drive west on route 4 will bring you to Long Trail Brewing, a pioneer in the craft beer world that’s been cranking out hoppy originals since 1989. Tour the operation and take the beer to go, or stay for a round and some classic pub fare. For a more bare-bones brewing experience, head the opposite direction, fifteen minutes east on route 4 to River Roost Brewery. If you’re hungry after sampling from a daily rotation of aromatic ales, you can stroll over to any of White River’s excellent restaurants: with options ranging from Turkish to tacos, there’s something for every palette.
As evening rolls around, enjoy a (another?) Vermont brew and live music at the Worthy Kitchen, a buzzing, chic “craft beer and farm diner” at Woodstock’s east end. Be sure to order, well, anything from their delicious seasonal menu of innovative and locally-sourced dishes. Craving a flavor from afar? Further down the street are Angkor Wat, a small Cambodian joint with tasty take-out and limited seating, and Melaza, a bistro featuring Caribbean classics and expansive outdoor seating.