Jan 13, 2021 Travel Guide: Winter in Woodstock & Quechee, Vermont
Sam and I loved our time in Vermont in the fall. We decided to come back for a winter getaway. We had a blast strolling the streets, admiringthe holiday decorations around the town, and seeing the snow fall. Born and raised in Louisiana snow was not a common occurrence. So having a true winter was magical. Not a fan of the single digit temperature, but starting to embrace what the season brings. If visting for a day all the activities below can be completed at a leisurely pace.
Weather in Vermont is typically 30 degrees or less. Most often in single digits. Prepare for a winter escape with layers. I always notice depending on how active I am that day I am usually adding or removing layers. Some top things to pack are merino wool knit. This thin wool layer can be placed under your sweater or used as a base layer. Each time I do this an added level of warmth. I also HIGHLY suggest a down feather coat in this weather. Even thick polyester coats do not sustain in this weather. Finally, snow boots are a must. For boots not well insulated you can add shearling inserts I will link a pair I love below and wool socks.
Things to Do:
Downtown Woodstock: Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the main strip of quaint shops and dining on Elm Street. I loved strolling the streets before Christmas because of all the lovely decor. Below is a short list of my favorite stores to visit.
1) The Vermont Flannel Company: This store, which was founded in 1991, creates the best flannel that are made of 100% cotton. The flannels are some of the softest materials.
2) F.H Gillingham & Sons: This country store, which opened in 1886, has a little bit of everything including Vermont made cheeses, maple syrups, spices, home decor and Vermont clothing. This place even has a wine room, with a massive selection. However, no wine tastings are held here.
3) Clover Gift Shop: A tastefully curated boutique gift shop with wide selection of gifts and home decor. Most of the items are locally made and even has a section on eco-friendly gifts. Highly recommend purchasing the calendula + lavender balm, Vermont made with terrebalma oils, shea butter, and beeswax. Works wonders also available on their website click here. Opened in 1928 and is a female owned business.
Covered Bridges: Visit Middle Covered Bridge right in the heart of downtown Woodstock, VT. This covered wooden bridge spans over the Ottauquechee River. You do not need to drive to this location if you are already downtown, because it is walking distance of all the shops and dining. Another great covered bridge is Taftsville Covered Bridge, which is also located in Woodstock, VT. The bridge was built in 1836 and sits over the Ottauquechee River as well.
Quechee Gorge: As some like to call it, “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon,” this gorge is Vermont’s deepest canyon. From the bridge, you can see breathtaking views of the gorge that is 168 feet below. Parking is found on the side of the bridge. There is cut outs in the metal fence for taking photos.
Quechee Gorge Village: This shopping attraction has something for the whole family. This is the place to shop for souvenirs in Vermont partially because it has reasonable prices. Listed below were my favorite experiences, however there are many more stores in the village than what I included below.
1) The Vermont Alpaca Store: As it's name infers, this store has alpaca based products including clothing, gifts and even the finest alpaca yarn. If the store couldn’t get any better, there are alpacas that live right next door on property. You can feed them for 20 cents. This may have been the highlight of the trip. I have a soft spot for alpacas.
2) The Vermont Spirits Distilling Company: Vermont’s oldest craft distillery has a location in this village. This distillery makes vodka, gin, bourbon, brandy and liqueurs using pure local ingredients. Do not miss out on trying the Vermont Gold Vodka that is made with pure Vermont maple sap and is naturally gluten free. By the way, this distillery has free tastings.
3) The Vermont Toy Museum: Yes, Vermont does has a toy museum, it is located in this village as well. The museum is a collection of more than 100,000 toys from over the decades. There were information plaques throughout the museum that give a brief history on the toys. My favorite display was the interactive 4 season train that encompasses the Vermont mountainous scenery. This train was designed by a local and is very much a work of art. It is not a large museum and is just run on donations which are collected upon entry.
4) The Vermont Antique Mall: Three floors of antiques. You can spend hours in this maze of antiques that range from vintage clothing to furniture to houseware plus much, much more. The antique store features more than 450 booths from different sellers and has won Yankee Magazine’s Best of New England Antique Shop twice. We had fun looking at all the treasures.
5) Cabot Quechee Store: Cabot is award winning cheese made locally in Vermont. You can sample the cheese that this location, however inside the Cabot store, they sell spices, fine wines, craft beers and Vermont maple syrup, just to name a few. We bought some yummy hot chocolate mix.
Simon Pierce: Simon Pierce is an artist who worked in glass factories all over Europe before settling in Quechee, Vermont. He has a studio, retail store and restaurant, all at one location. You can admire the artists at work in the studio room, browse through the beautiful pieces of finished work in the retail store, and then head over to the restaurant and grab a bite to eat. Simon Pierce Restaurant also has a well crafted wine menu. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were unable to see the artists at work in the studio.
Andrew Pierce: Down the road from Simon's studio, his son, Andrew, has a wood working studio. All the wood is locally sourced and is hand crafted. Andrew makes everything from cutting boards to salad bowls. He even creates unique lighting. The retail store was beautifully decorated and even had a glass window to allow guest to look into the wood working room. We went the day before Christmas Eve, so we did not get a chance to view the artist in action.
Places to Stay:
Woodstock Inn: Set in the middle of downtown Woodstock and steps away from all shops and dining, the Woodstock In is a piece of history that includes multiple culinary experiences and a chic spa.
The Jackson House Inn: A beautiful crafted inn with character. Features 3 acres of beautiful landscape.
Windsor Mansion Inn: We stayed at this inn about 30 minutes from downtown Woodstock. The inn has impressive views of Lake Runnemede, the Cornish Hills and Mount Ascutney. Prominent figures including President Roosevelt and President Wilson have stayed here. I LOVED the service here. The rooms were quaint. We arrived late in the evening and were welcomed to a outdoor fire pit with marshmallows. Plus, it included a FREE morning coffee/tea bar. I highly recommend booking a stay here.
The Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the inn maintains 19th century elegance. Each room different style and story to tell. Views include Dewey’s Mill Pond and the Ottauquechee River,
Best Western Lebanon NH: Although this hotel is in New Hampshire. It is 25 minutes from downtown Woodstock. It has modern luxuries and you can earn points if you commonly stay at Best Western.
Hotel Coolidge: This hotel is listed on the national register of historic places as well. It is an updated inn located in White River Junction, VT. This inn is 25 minutes from downtown Woodstock. Steps away are local dining and antique stores.
Outfit: A Brooks Brother fair isle sweater (tried to find something similar), J. Crew cobalt blue beanie. Love a pop of color when traveling in the winter. Got Paige jeans and these might be my new favorite jeans so comfy and not rigid denim. Plus, Sperry boots for durabality.