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Woodstock Vt

Photo of Middle Covered Bridge in Woodstock VT

Though in a state known for its liberalism, Woodstock VT is not the location of the legendary 1969 Woodstock music and art event. That is 160 odd miles to the west in upstate New York.

Woodstock VT, however is a place you want to visit today. Snuggled up against the eastern edge of the Green Mountains, it typically makes all the lists of prettiest towns in New England, and rightfully so. Nestled in a valley between Mount Tom and Mount Peg, with the Ottauquechee River sliding through, it’s a bustling little village of charming shops, eateries, churches and elegant homes. Strolling downtown is like walking through a movie set, only better, because it’s real and it’s not so pristine as to feel fake. As you can guess, that means it can get crowded with visitors, particularly in the fall. Plan accordingly

Settled in 1768 and incorporated in 1837, the fertile valley in which this charming village resides began its settled life as a farming community. The products included beef, pork, butter, cheese, and of course cider. Sheep farming was also important, a mainstay in Vermont in the early post-colonial days. The most famous farm was and is the Billings Farm, now the Billings Farm and Museum, worthy as a destination in itself, along with the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Park across the road.

In addition to Woodstock’s primary village, the town also includes the hamlets of Taftsville, West Woodstock, Prosper and South Woodstock, scattered afield from the main village. West Woodstock is primarily a small commercial strip (Vermont style, that is – don’t think plaza or chain stores) along Route 4 following alongside the Ottauquechee River. It hosts a handful of lovely inns, the Lincoln Covered Bridge, the Woodstock Farmers’ Market, and the cute and unlikely little White Cottage Snack Bar serving up fried clams, burgers and ice cream during the warm months.

Pretty little Taftsville is somewhat of a drive-by between Woodstock village and Quechee, but is worthy of a stop for the1836 Taftsville Covered Bridge, overlooking the Taftsville Station Hydroelectric Dam, which dates from 1909. Also worthy of a stop, presuming (fingers crossed) it is able to reopen under new owners, is the sweet Taftsville Country Store.

South Woodstock is centered by a superbly pretty and tiny village, and is known as Woodstock’s horse country, an area replete with historic federal and colonial houses and a gorgeous landscape. It is also host to the Kedron Valley Inn and the South Woodstock Country Store.

Last, but not least, is tiny Prosper, an area in the far northwest corner of the town through which the Appalachian Trail traverses.

The residents of Woodstock are engaged and proud of their community and there is always something going on. Between the big events like the July 4th celebration, August’s Taste of Woodstock, September’s Art Festival and December’s Wassail Weekend, the calendar is filled with smaller happenings that are the hallmark of a vibrant community. These include readings at the beautiful Norman Williams Public Library, movies at the iconic Woodstock Town Hall Theatre, sidewalk sales, and the summertime weekly Market on the Green.

Be sure to check the official Woodstock information site to see the latest. This is one of the best town sites I’ve seen, and it includes an excellent blog.

Spend some time here and you will likely never want to leave.

Events not to miss

Interesting Trivia

Six bells from Paul Revere’s foundry grace the town, allegedly and believably the most of any community in New England.

The Vermont Standard has been publishing its weekly newspaper since 1853.

The first ski rope tow in the U.S. was built in 1933 at the Woodstock Ski Hill (near present day Saskadena Six Ski Area, formerly Suicide Six). It was powered by an old Buick motor.

Billings, Montana is named after Frederick Billings, who is credited with completing the Northern Pacific Railroad, along with his farming fame in Woodstock.

Kedron Valley Inn was featured as the backdrop for Budweiser commercials featuring the Clydesdales.

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