Saturday, November 1 2014

About Woodstock

Woodstock, Vermont 05091
Town, Travel, Tourism, & Real Estate Information

Woodstock, Vermont is a quintessential New England Village and thriving Vermont resort community.  Noted for its natural and man-made beauty, Woodstock is cradled between leafy green hills and the serpentine Ottauquechee River. It is home to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park, The Woodstock Inn & Resort, the Norman Williams Public Library and dozens of wonderfully preserved historic homes in a most charming village.

The question most frequently asked about Woodstock is, “How does one account for the many fine homes when there is no evidence of industry to support them?”  The answer is that a mere twenty years after the first settler arrived in 1765, Woodstock became the Shire Town, or seat, of Windsor County.

In 1824, Alvin Adams first established the railroad express line between White River Junction and Woodstock Vermont, later to become known as the Railway Express.

Business and professional people were drawn to the town, and coming largely from Connecticut and Massachusetts, they brought an established culture with them.  Families were large, materials cheap and plentiful, and the earliest houses (many of which survive today) were well and amply built.  It was then that the Village Green embarked on becoming the showcase of fine Federal homes that it is today.

A year-round resort since 1892 when the Woodstock Inn first opened, the Village of Woodstock has thoughtfully preserved its architectural and natural heritage with much of the Village included in a Historic District.  Visitors and new residents alike are attracted to Woodstock for a multitude of reasons.  Ranked among the top ten are area attractions such as the historic Woodstock Inn & Resort, which in addition to being a reputable lodging and dining venue operates the Country Club’s 18-hole golf course, ski-touring center, sports center, and the Suicide Six Ski Area.

Other attractions to the area include the Billings Farm & Museum, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, the Norman Williams Library, the Woodstock Historical Society, the Recreation Center and Little Theater, the Town Hall where the Pentangle Council on the Arts presents performing arts, and the Green Mountain Horse Association.

“The good people of Woodstock have less incentive than others to yearn for heaven.”
- Senator Jacob Collamer

Among Woodstock’s notable citizens were sculptor Hiram Powers – creator of The Greek Slave sculpture, and Senator Jacob Collamer who served as a confidant to President Abraham Lincoln, and who coined the phrase, “The good people of Woodstock have less incentive than others to yearn for heaven.”  Another eminent Woodstock figure was John Cotton Dana, the well-known librarian and museum director who first opened the restricted book stacks to the public.  More recent residents were actor Otis Skinner and author Sinclair Lewis.

Much of Woodstock’s historic and environmental preservation can be traced to the dedicated efforts of George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings, and Laurance S. Rockefeller.  Marsh, the 19th Century Congressman largely responsible for the Smithsonian Institute, was the author of the ecologists’ bible, Man and Nature.  Billings, builder of the Northern Pacific Railroad, purchased the Marsh homestead and reforested Mt. Tom and Mt. Peg.

The Marsh-Billings mansion was later occupied by Billings’ granddaughter, Mary Rockefeller, and her husband, who perpetuated the tradition of environmental conservation and the appropriately-scaled commerce which underlies Woodstock’s economic vitality and quality of life.  Since 1998, their home and surrounding woodlands have been preserved under the ownership of the National Park Service.  The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park not only pays tribute to Woodstock, but to the nation’s conservation efforts and traditions, as well.  Taftsville is the lone village in the great town of Woodstock.

Woodstock, Vermont is also home to the Vermont Standard – one of New England’s best weekly newspapers.

The world-renowned historic village of Woodstock, Vermont was described by Ladies Home Journal magazine as “The Prettiest Small Town in America”.

It is no surprise then to find yourself mesmerized by the panorama as you wind past perfectly restored historic buildings and homes to open on the sprawling Woodstock Village Green;

Or, that you are awed at the spectacle of quaint New England shops, galleries, lodgings, and eateries spreading out before you and whisking you back in time;

Or, that the sun dancing through the trees, shimmers down side streets and into alcoves to romance you with the eloquent ambience emanating from this legendary historic New England village.

And, if you were unsure before your arrival in this quintessential New England town, you now fervently agree that the Village of Woodstock, Vermont is indeed “The Prettiest Small Town in America”.

For over 200 years, the focal point of Woodstock Village has been the famed site of what is now known as the Woodstock Inn.  The original structure was built in 1792, and in 1874 tourists were inspired to flock to the area via “The Woodstock Car” – a rail car that departed nightly from Grand Central Station in New York City.  In 1969, after being approached to renovate the then existing structure, Laurance S. Rockefeller (grandson of John D. Rockefeller) deemed the old inn unsalvageable and replaced it with the current, stately structure.

The Rockefellers have been friends of Woodstock for generations, and in 1998, Lady Bird Johnson and Laurance S. Rockefeller attended the dedication ceremony of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park – a 550-acre forest surrounding the M-B-R Mansion, with interpretive tours denoting the history of conservation and the evolving nature of land stewardship.  Similarly, the nearby Vermont Institute of Natural Science offers a Raptor Center, with its goal being to protect Vermont’s natural heritage through education, research, and the active care of our environment.

Another Woodstock treasure is the Billings Farm & Museum, where you can discover rural Vermont farm life at a working farm and museum.  The Woodstock Historical Society recently introduced a new multimedia exhibition featuring “Woodstock Works” at its historic 1807 Dana House Museum.  And, the Pentangle Council on the Arts presents music, drama, dance, and movies at the Historic Town Hall Theater, with free noon concerts and a school ‘Arts in Education’ program dedicated to keeping the arts alive in the community.  An exciting addition to the list of area attractions is the Ottauquechee Valley Winery, now offering a daily Wine Tasting Program with Winery Tours scheduled to start next season.

Woodstock is home to a variety of beautiful country inns, hotels, motels, and casual to elegant dining venues.

Indulge yourself with a stroll around the Woodstock Village Green, walk downtown to visit a shopping mecca of quaint boutiques, antique shops, unique galleries, gift and souvenir stores, New England crafts and wood creations, clothing retailers, sweet shops, glass, brass, and candleworks.  Arouse your senses as you stroll past dining venues and eateries as varied as the aromas on the breeze.

As evening turns to dusk, old-world wrought iron lamp posts set along cobblestone walks emit a warm glow as though yearning to reveal a great artist’s rendering of this Quintessential New England Village – a place set apart for your timeless fulfillment of heart, mind, body, and soul.

Whatever your whimsy might be, let it be quelled amid the esthetic wonders and bristling fragrances found along your nostalgic journey through Woodstock, Vermont.  Come for a day, a week, a month or a year, renewing your spirit in a land seemingly suspended in time.

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