Things To Do in Woodstock, Vermont

A Stroll through Woodstock, Vermont:

photo by Doug Kerr

Just 13 miles north of the 1815 House, you’ll find the quaint village of Woodstock.  Now I’m not at all attracted to “cute” places, but Woodstock surpasses that moniker and settles firmly on the realm of “quintessential New England Village” in all its glory.  The village center is large enough to host an interesting variety without being so large that you cannot comfortably stroll through it.   Settled along the picturesque Ottauquechee River by a number of extremely colorful characters in the 18th century, it became (and remains) a showpiece of architectural styles fashionable over the last two centuries.  The main streets are home to a variety of local Vermont products, traditional shops, and galleries displaying art and crafts from local artisans (some of whom have become quite well known).  I recommend taking a simple walking tour of Woodstock, starting at the Village Green where the historical marker shown at the left provides a nice introduction.

The Green

photo by jessica CatoAbout mid-point on the north side of the green, there’s a side road that will take you across the river through a lovely covered bridge.  Have a peek at that, the view from mid-span is worth checking out.  Today, I’m not leading you to the other side of the bridge–there’s a lot over there, but that’s for another blogpost!  Today, we’re just taking an easy stroll around the village.  Walk down to the west end of the green.  Straight ahead of you will be St. John’s Episcopal Church.  Really a nice old stone Woodstock Town Hallbuilding.  And on your right is the old Town Hall.  This is worth noting for later.  The auditorium has been upgraded with a great sound system and comfortable seats. The local arts foundation, Pentangle for the Arts, holds a variety of events here…movies, concerts and theater.  Check the schedule that will be posted out front.  Maybe you’ll want to come back tonight for a show?

Norman Williams Public Library

Norman Williams LibraryNow walk back through the green toward the commercial section of town.  On your right you will see the Woodstock Inn, a courthouse, and then the Library.  What a wonderful public library!   There are a lot of small well appointed libraries in  villages all over Vermont (we have a very  nice one in Felchville), due to generous contributions from local businessmen who valued public access to information.  The Woodstock library was built in 1883-4 by the son of Norman Williams as a gift to the town and has been very popular since the day it opened.  Go inside if you have time and just walk around.  For such a small town, this is a magnificent space and a great resource.  And wow! it’s beautiful!  I promise you’ll be impressed.

Village Shops

Continue walking east into the heart of Woodstock and you will find yourself at the corner of Central and Elm.  For a couple of blocks in any direction, you will find a host of lively and whimsical shops that sell…oh, really anything!  There are art galleries and jewelry stores, fashion boutiques and crafts stores, but I’d like to draw your attention to a few of them that really define the local culture and that have been establishments in Woodstock for…generations, I’d guess.

Gillingham's StoreTurn up Elm Street.  On your left you will find Gillingham’s…officially, F. H. Gillingham & Son’s General Store.  Go inside and browse around and see if you can get out without finding something that you really need.  It’s harder than it sounds.  They have wonderful stuff and lots of it.  Pure entertainment.  Next door at the Village Butcher you can pick up an excellent deli sandwich, then walk two doors down and along the driveway to the spacious grounds along the river behind the historical society where you can enjoy your picnic lunch.

Back on Central Street, you’ll find shops that will intrigue pretty much everyone…even your grumpy uncle…buy him a homemade ice cream cone at the Creamery…that’ll cheer him up.  Stop in at the Woodstock Pharmacy for a bit of nostalgia, and at the Vermont Flannel Company for…you guessed it…all things flannel.  You’ll find interesting bookstores selling tomes by local authors, handmade fudge and locally crafted pewter ware, pottery and textiles.  You don’t have to buy anything, but it’s fun to look.

From 3 to 6 pm on Wednesdays in the summer and fall (June 1-October 12), the Chamber of Commerce sponsors a very nice farmer’s Market on the Green.  It’s worth a look, so get back to the Green before 6 if it’s a Wednesday.  Vendors compete to be included in this market, so it’s probably the best farmers market in the area.  There’s a nice variety of local organic produce, including a good selection of heirloom produce and items that can’t be found elsewhere.  There are also local cheese producers, bakers offering breads and pastries and artisans offering craft items and other consumables.  Like at Gillingham’s, it’s rare that I get out of there without finding something delectable for the evening happy hour.

I hope you enjoy your stroll through Woodstock and that this guide has given you some good ideas.  Now you know some things to do in Woodstock Vermont!

Regards,

Karen

6 thoughts on “Things To Do in Woodstock, Vermont

  1. Hi, Karen! Your virtual walkthrough Woodstock is lovely. Feels like almost being in that perfect and cozy atmosphere. I would love to go by and photograph Wednesday’s Market on the Green. I am a big fan of these types of events and they make for great images! I usually do that here in Brazil, but unfortunately Rio de Janeiro imports most of its agricultural products, so what we get seems very fake and not fresh.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Daniel. Yes, central Vermont is a wonderland of fresh produce and the farmer’s markets are wonderful! We really are fortunate! Because the farms here are relatively small compared to other places in the US, farmers here often specialize in heirloom fruits and vegetables, organic farming and other specialty produce. And the rest of us get the great joy of eating great food! Perhaps in Brazil, outside the city, you can find fresh produce? Best of luck to you, Karen

  2. Hi Karen. What a lovely page. New England has always appealed to me as a part of the US I would like to visit. I’ve always been a fan of old architecture and the buildings in the photos look very interesting. The covered bridge is particularly interesting as there’s just nothing like that in my part of the world. Keep up the good work.
    Mike.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments, Mike. Woodstock does have a nice variety of well-preserved stone and brick buildings from the 1700’s onwards. The area also boasts a large number of old wooden covered bridges. In future posts, I will discuss and provide photos of many of these, as well as take visitors across to the north side of the bridge in Woodstock to hike on Mount Tom and explore the history and grounds of the twin National Historic sites of the Billings Farm and the Rockefeller estate. So stay tuned!

  3. I love those old wooden covered bridges. Specially in the fall, with the colored leaves around it. Woodstock, Vermont sounds like a great vacation spot for anybody interested in history. My husband is a big history fan, might surprise him with a trip to Vermont… Been a few years since we were there but might be time to go back,

    Great article, thank you

    Vicky

    1. Vicky, thanks for your comments. There are LOTS of covered bridges in the area. I’ll make a post in the future with a map showing where they are so visitors can conveniently make a self-guided tour of the local bridges. There are some really great ones close at hand and there’s even an annual “Covered Bridges Half Marathon” race!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *