Woodstock, Vermont: A Historic Town in the Green Mountains

Pit Stop in the Green Mountains

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I recently explored Woodstock, Vermont after visiting Quechee Gorge. I had driven through Woodstock a couple of times and always wanted to stop and shoot some photos there. The stone and brick buildings, the wooden covered bridge, and all of the little shops seemed worth the visit. Here is some history I learned about the town and photos that I had the opportunity to take!

Brief History of Woodstock, VT

Woodstock, the charming little town nestled in the Green Mountains, was chartered all the way back in 1761! It was later known as the Shire Town of Windsor County in 1786 and it became an appealing spot for craftsmen, artisans, and early manufacturers.

Woodstock became one of the largest towns in Vermont by 1830. The buildings that continue to stand on Green and Elm Streets were built around this time period and they are stunning.

In the 1840s, the population of Woodstock started to decrease due to improved transportation and industrial practices. Woodstock’s manufacturing industry suffered, and many people went elsewhere to find work.

Improved transportation ended up aiding Woodstock though by allowing it to become a tourist destination. Woodstock became a haven for those wanting to escape the dirty urban areas they resided in. Woodstock, VT has established itself as a tourist town with numerous offerings such as shopping at galleries and country stores. There are also outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and nature photography. Read more about the history of Woodstock, VT here!

Middle Bridge, 1969

Woodstock Middle Bridge

This bridge was one of the reasons why I wanted to stop in Woodstock, VT so bad. The bridge is historic and aesthetic, made of wood and creates beautiful shadows when the right light hits.

Middle Bridge was designed and built in 1968-69 by Milton Graton and his two sons. It was the first authentic highway covered bridge to be built in Vermont or New Hampshire in this century that utilized the truss patented by Ithiel Town in 1820. It burned down on May 11, 1974 and was rebuilt in 1976 by Gaton Associates. There is a sign on the bridge that stated all of this information about its history.

Shadows on Middle Bridge

Frame on Middle Bridge

Windsor County Court House

Windsor County Court House

The courthouse was built in 1855. The first floor was the town hall and the second floor was the court room. The town hall was the site of the town meeting and it also served as a theater, playhouse, and gathering place. In the lobby remains the original ticket window. For more interesting history of the building and a murder trial that occurred back in 1926, click here.

The Norman Williams Public Library

Norman Williams Public Library

This aesthetic sandstone building was built all the way back in 1883-1884. The cost of the building was $30,000. After reading through the Norman Williams Public Library’s website, I learned that Woodstock has always been a “literate community.”  In the early 19th century, there were private academies, a medical college, numerous reading circles. There were also five weekly newspapers that were published. 

The library underwent a $5 million renovation, restoration, expansion, and automation project in 1999-2000. After using 2/3 of the funds to update the poor structural shape of the building, the remainder of the money was used for space in the library. The project increased the usable space from 5,000 to 15,000 square feet!! 

In 2010, the library started offering wireless Internet in the village area of Woodstock, “Wireless Woodstock.” This was a partnered venture with the community. 

I did not venture into the library, and the few photos that I got of the building were in poor lighting, but I do look forward to going back and exploring the interior! For those that visit, the library’s hours are Monday – Friday 10AM to 6PM and Saturday 10AM to 4PM.

Stores Worth Checking Out

F.H. Gillingham and Sons

This general store is probably the most interesting and well-stocked store I have ever browsed. It has EVERYTHING that an individual could possibly need. It has  groceries, toys, outdoor working gear with brands like Carhartt, and more! This is not sponsored in anyway by F.H. Gillingham’s General Store. I just really enjoyed spending a half an hour exploring in there. The history of the general store is also intriguing!

Frank Henry Gillingham opened this store WAY back in 1886 and now, in 2019, that same family is still running this store!! The family tradition has carried on over 130 years ago and honestly, I find that amazing and admirable. They even use the same guarantee:

“Your money’s worth or your money back.”

Please, I beg you to check out their website to learn more about its history and pictures from over the decades. Click here to go to their website!

The Vermont Flannel Company

This store is located in downtown Woodstock and I am sure you can guess what inventory it sells by its name. I walked into this store and was overwhelmed by how much flannel gear they had! There were flannel shirts, button downs, pajamas, and I am pretty sure I saw flannel robes as well. I was tempted, but I refrained from buying anything. I don’t think I will practice such restraint the next time I visit!

RTW Note

Ayyyyy, thank you to all that keep supporting this website! I hope you enjoyed this post about Woodstock, Vermont and found it informative! It is so pretty and offers plenty of activities to partake in. It is worth a weekend vacation or at least a visit if you find yourself crossing paths with this town in your travels! If you liked this post, hit the like button and smash that follow button as well! If you have ever visited Woodstock, what was your favorite part of the town or favorite activity to do?? I look forward to reading your responses! Keep on traveling and trekking Road Trip Warriors!

-Ant

 

 

 

“Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon”: Quechee Gorge

A Trip to Quechee, Vermont!

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I recently went on a small trip to Quechee, Vermont to explore the area! I wanted to share with you all the top things to do in this quaint village! From hiking, browsing thousands of antiques, and exploring cheesy shops (pun intended), this gem in Vermont is sure to keep you well-entertained!

Quechee and Its Famous Gorge

Also known as “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon,” Quechee Gorge was formed 13,000 years ago by glacial activity. It sits 165 feet deep and the Ottauquechee River continues to carve through the gorge. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

The original bridge traversing the gorge was built back in 1875. It was a railroad bridge for the Woodstock Railroad. The steel arch bridge that is used today was built back in 1911. For 22 years, it was a railroad bridge until the rails were removed and it became the Route 4 that it is today.

Below is a photo I took when the leaves were bursting in different colors. I was on my way back from hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I couldn’t resist stopping in Quechee Village and shooting some pics from atop the bridge.

Quechee Gorge - Fall

Trekking to the Bottom of the Gorge

Getting to the bottom of Quechee Gorge is relatively easy and it is more of a nature walk than a hike. It is roughly .3 of a mile and the trail has benches, plenty of signs, and people walking up and down the dirt path. If you start behind the visitor center like I did, you’ll see this large wooden sign.

Quechee Gorge Trail Sign

You can also hop onto the trail next to the Quechee Gorge gift shop. The trail starts right behind the store and you can walk under the bridge.

Following the trail from the visitor center, you’ll eventually reach an intersection where you can either turn right or left. If you’d like to go to the bottom of the gorge, take a left. This is pretty clear since you can see the trail to your left descending rapidly. I suggest walking down to the bottom of the gorge. It isn’t far and the view is well worth it. I did a little climbing along the gorge to get the picture below. I’m still working on my landscape photography game, but I liked this one because half the gorge was sunny and the other half was dark.

Quechee Gorge - Bottom

Quechee Gorge Village Vermont Antique Mall

Just a short walk from the gorge is the Quechee Village. The shops in this village are an absolute blast! There is a country store with a wide variety of Vermont cheeses one can sample. There are many maple syrups, and other snacks too!

The antique store was and still is my absolute favorite stop in Quechee, VT. It is unlike any antique store I have ever visited. It is enormous, with two floors containing items such as fossils, antique currency and coins, vintage board games, old signs, and my personal favorite, vintage cameras! I have been in the antique store twice and each time I come across new items I have either missed or that were newly acquired. My brother purchased two vintage cameras here because he appreciates them as much as I do. If you’re in the area, check it out!

In the village there is also a diner and a blacksmith shop. I have yet to visit either, but they are on the list for my next stop. I’d also like to visit when the village flea market is taking place. Looks like I will be visiting Quechee again sooner than later!

RTW Note

Thanks to everyone who checked out this post about Quechee Gorge and Quechee Village in Vermont! If you find yourself driving through, add it to the list of places you should stop. You only need a half-hour, but I guarantee you will want more time. If you enjoyed this post, found it informative, or even just liked the photos be sure to like it, leave a comment, and tap that follow button! I appreciate all the support and I look forward to sharing more! Make sure to keep on adventuring Road Trip Warriors!

-Ant