Our Bifurcated Central Vermont Vacation

Joyce and I are real-life embodiments of passion behind the “I LoVermont tee-shirts and bumper stickers. We have loved the state since we first began coming here on autumn (for hiking and leaf peaking) and winter (for cross-country skiing) weekends and had seriously considered buying a vacation home (until we decided that a second home was inconsistent with our inherently peripatetic lifestyle).

Although we have traveled through much of the state, we tend to spend the most time in, and return most frequently to two areas: Those around;

  • Stowe, which not only has great hiking (think Mount Mansfield), but also proximity to a number of decent restaurants and to Burlington, which while nominally Vermont’s largest city (42,000 people), is primarily a fun-loving university town; and
  • Woodstock, a postcard New England town that was adopted by and whose beautification was partially funded by Laurence Rockefeller (whose company also owns the iconic Woodstock Inn).

While we enjoy traveling to each of these and other locations across Vermont, we typically manage to end up somewhere between Killington and Queeche—and especially Woodstock. This is especially true during fall foliage season, for which we return most years, even now that we live in San Francisco.

Bifurcate Foliage 1Bifucate Foliage 2Bifucate Foliage 3Bifucate Foliage 4

Although we typically stay in and spend most of our time around Woodstock, we sometimes, including on this trip, trade one of our timeshare weeks for one in Killington, a ski resort located between Woodstock and Rutland. Rather than endure a 60+ minute round-trip drive between Killington and Woodstock each day, we try to split our trip up, spending about half our week in the Killington area (generally between Rutland and Bridgewater) and half around Woodstock and Queeche. This was particularly true this trip, when we were concerned with the state of the roads and traffic between Killington and Woodstock, given the devastation caused by, and only partial recovery from Hurricane Irene.

But we can’t stay even in these two areas for a full week. We, therefore, made a few side trips, such as northeast to Strafford (for a lovely drive and to see a restaurant that we were unable to get to this trip), southeast to Hartland (for one of Vermont’s famous church suppers) and Brownsville (for a community lunch) and south to Plymouth, to visit and attend a music festival at the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site.

Rather than try to fit all these diverse locations in a single blog, we separated it into six:

  1. An introduction to and explanation of how we structured the trip (this blog);
  2. A brief overview of the devastation caused by and the rapid recovery from Hurricane Irene;
  3. An overview of our current and past experiences in the area between Queeche and Woodstock;
  4. An discussion of our experiences in Killington, and more broadly between Rutland and Bridgewater;
  5. A review of out Hartland, Brownsville and Plymouth church supper and hurricane benefit experiences, and
  6. What turned out to be quite an adventure in an attempt to visit a secretive restaurant in Strafford.

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