Vermont: Woodstock, Family Vacation Ideas – Forest Walks, Waterslides, and Farm Adventures.
Like a Currier & Ives picture puzzle made of 1000 pieces, the village conveys a sense of New England worthy of experiencing. Framed by history and surrounded by natural beauty, the sensibly arranged shops, galleries, and antique stores, match with the landmark F.H. Gillingham & Sons General Store, making the puzzle real to visitors. Vacation activities include hiking, biking, birding, shopping, antiquing, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy living history. Milk some history.
Come visit one of the only working dairy farms which is also one of the premier farm life museums in the country. The Billings Farm & Museum offers interactive programs and historical exhibits that explore Vermont’s rural history. Visitors are invited to stop by at about 3:00pm to catch the afternoon milking of the herd and learn about the process of milk production. With both self-guided tours and intensive “live-in” experiences visitors to the historical farm house can learn about daily life on the farm a century before. Need to know:
The farm is only open to visitors from mid-April through October. (Billings Farm & Museum Route 12 & River Road Woodstock, VT 05091-0489. (802) 457-2355 or www.billingsfarm.org
) Explore the forest.
Vermont’s first national park is home to the Rockefeller Mansion, which houses an extensive art collection, as well as a 550-acre forest which is one of the oldest planned and continuously managed woodlands in America. The exhibits in the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park provide insight into the process of conservation stewardship and the twenty miles of historic carriage roads and trails are open round. Need to know: Access to the Rockefeller Mansion and gardens is available by guided tour only. (Billings Farm & Museum Route 12 & River Road Woodstock, VT 05091-0489. www.nps.gov/mabi
) Hunt for treasure.
Take a hike in Mount Tom Forest and seek out hidden treasures. Activities and riddles will reveal clues that lead to the unraveling of the forest’s mysteries. The hike takes approximately 2.5 hours and is appropriate for all ages. Need to know:
Everyone should bring water and a snack, and wear sturdy walking shoes. (Mount Tom Forest near the Billings Farm & Museum - Route 12 & River Road Woodstock, VT 05091-0489. www.nps.gov/archive/mabi
) Go back in time.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park will once again provide walking tours of Woodstock's Civil War "home front." To bring these home front stories to life, this ranger-guided tour includes some of the most significant historic sites in Woodstock. Included are places associated with the Underground Railroad, abolition meetings, the town's free African-American community, and Woodstock's pivotal role in the Union war effort in Vermont. Much of what will be seen along the tour is largely unchanged from the day the first shot was fired on Fort Sumter in April, 1861. (Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park Rte. 12 North - 1/2 mile out of town. Visitor Information (802) 457-3368 x22 or www.nps.gov/mabi/
Search for something sweet.
Have you ever wondered how maple sugar is made? Well, Sugarbush Farm invites you to learn about the entire process – from maple trees to maple syrup, then sample four grades of pure Vermont maple syrup manufactured on the farm. Take a stroll down the nature path to the maple woods and follow the path the draft horses use in the spring to collect the sap, and in the spring. Bonus points:
You and the kids can even make friends with the farm animals including horses, chickens, rabbits, goats and more. (Sugarbush Farm 591 Sugarbush Farm Road Woodstock, VT 05091. Toll-free 1-800-281-1757, (802) 0457-1757 or www.sugarbushfarm.com
) Have some fun in the sun.
Spread out over two mountains the Killington-Pico Adventure Center has tons of great activities for families during the summer months. The Center offers everything from miniature golf, waterslides, gondola rides, to an in-line skate park, and an alpine slide. Also available is lift-serviced mountain biking and hiking and a climbing wall. Daily activities at the center are always geared towards the ages of the children attending and include hiking, nature walks, Frisbee, games, music and arts & crafts. All children should bring a towel, a bathing suit, sun block, bug spray, a hat, sturdy shoes, and a change of clothes. (Killington-Pico Adventure Center 4763 Killington Road Killington, VT 05751. Toll-free 1-800-734-9435 or www.killington.com/summer/adventure
) Put a notch in your belt.
Plymouth Notch, Vermont is the birthplace, burial place and boyhood home of Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, and the home of the 1924 Summer White House. Plymouth Notch is considered the best-preserved presidential birthplace in the nation – the homes of Calvin Coolidge’s family and neighbors, the community church, cheese factory, one-room schoolhouse, and a general store have all been preserved, many with their original furnishings. The entire village has been designated the “Plymouth Notch Historic District” and the main office, located in the Aldrich House, offers information, exhibits and tour information for visitors. (Plymouth Notch. (802) 672-3773 or www.historicvermont.org
) Learn something new.
The Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) is the home to one of North America’s most impressive collection of live birds of prey including owls, hawks and eagles. Through October 31st seven days a week the institute offers live bird programs. Every Saturday and Sunday the institute offers an additional a live bird program. Bonus points: Nearby trails take visitors to the Ottauquechee River and the Quechee Gorge – on the weekends the institute offers a Quechee Gorge hike. (Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) 6565 Woodstock Road, Rte. 4, P.O. Box 1281 Quechee, VT 05059. (802) 359-5000 or www.vinsweb.org