Woodstock, Vermont, full of well-preserved 18th and 19th century buildings, a go-local culture and lush nature, is the perfect place to unwind on a weekend escape. It's also full of opportunities for active pursuits, often with a cultural twist. To help you plan your trip, here are five suggestions for awesome active adventures in Woodstock, Vermont.
Located in Faulkner Park, Mount Tom reaches 1,350 feet high. The mountain is accessible from the Faulkner Trail, which one can walk to from The Green in the historic Woodstock Village. You'll pass through a whimsical covered wooden bridge before entering the park, zigzagging your way up Mount Toms South Peak. Just make sure you're nimble, as right before the top it gets steep and rocky. At the top, wooden benches make the perfect spot for a picnic and from which to enjoy 360-degree views of Woodstock and the surrounding Green Mountains. While The Faulkner Trail is 2.75 miles round trip, continuing up to the top of the South Peak - highly recommended - is 4 miles round trip.
From the summit, you can hike into the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park trails, with numerous trail options. It's recommended to head toward The Pogue, a 14-acre mirror pond you can loop around for a serene experience.
Also part of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is Billings Farm & Museum, a 270-acre working dairy farm operating since 1871. Along with museum exhibits showcasing the agricultural history of Woodstock and the farm itself as well as providing insight into 19th century farming, there are interactive experiences for a first-hand understanding. Each day the museum provides an activity schedule to visitors, including options like meeting baby chickens and sheep, learning to milk a cow, and trying your hand at churning butter. If you're interested in exploring what a local farmhouse was like back in the day, an 1890's farmhouse tour with docents in period attire is eye opening and immersive. Walk the grounds to see barns containing historic carriages and machines, animal-filled pastures, delicious heirloom gardens and a dairy barn selling homemade ice cream.
The backcountry roads, small villages, lakes and ponds and lush nature in Woodstock make it an ideal place to explore by bike. Stop into Woodstock Sports - family owned since 1967 - to rent a bike and get setup with some trail suggestions. One not to miss: following the beautiful Ottauquechee River; the sound of rushing water, and the smell of local sugar maples delighting your senses. Salt Ash Loop is another great bike trail, an 18-mile loop taking you past the Woodward Reservoir, Salt Ash Hill, and Calvin Coolidge's birthplace.
While the name might sound overly adventurous for some, Suicide Six is actually a family-friendly ski and snowboard resort with well-groomed trails, hosting locals and visitors alike since 1936. In fact, of the 23 onsite trails, over half are geared toward beginner and intermediate snow bunnies. Top elevation is 1,200 feet, with the longest run being 5,280 feet. Bonus: They're known for their outstanding instructors and phenomenal customer service (just check their TripAdvisor reviews if you need further confirmation!). If you stay at the Woodstock Inn & Resort you'll receive free shuttle service to and from the mountains, not to mention they offer special stay packages for skiers.
At Sugarbush Farm visitors can immerse themselves in Vermont maple syrup and cheese. Start off with an easy yet scenic nature walk on their Maple Trail, passing the Maple Chapel as well as the tubing and bucket system that collects the sap from the maple trees. This is later turned into maple syrup, a process you can view first-hand in their Sugar House. In the main farm house, structured tastings of their various homemade maple syrups and wax-wrapped Vermont cheeses are done in the front, while a back room showcases free samples of Vermont products: jams, chocolates, honeys, salsas, and more. While you'll actively be exploring Vermont culture, this adventure is one where you'll likely put back on those lost calories.
Which of these Vermont experiences would you try first?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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