Relax and Recharge at Vermont's Woodstock Retreat
Often called “the prettiest small town in America,” Woodstock is quintessential Vermont—from its historic Federal-style homes lining the streets and a classic covered bridge in view of the town green to an enticing array of locally owned boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. On a recent visit, I stayed at the venerable Woodstock Inn & Resort, which has undergone a $16.5 million redesign and refurbishment of its guest rooms, lobby and common areas (as well as the Woodstock Athletic Club, Woodstock Country Club and Suicide Six Ski Area).
Care was taken to feature furniture by local craftspeople, and much of the historic artwork and vintage photography is curated from the Woodstock Historic Collection and the Billings Farm Museum. A grand lobby with an oversized wood-burning fireplace greets guests and has multiple seating areas for lounging, while the library and other cozy nooks throughout the ground floor offer spots for reading and more-intimate conversations.
A real treat was a tour of the resort-owned Red Barns at Kelly Way Gardens culinary center a mile from town. The three-acre, certified-organic gardens are the dream project of master gardener Benjamin Pauly, and they supply the inn and its restaurants (including the farm-to-table Red Rooster and the casual Richardson’s Tavern) with fruit, flowers, herbs, vegetables and honey. Everchanging floral arrangements throughout the resort are crafted from Kelly Way flowers.
The gardens surround a pair of rustic barns, where the inn hosts cooking and gardening classes, tasting tours, events and dining during the spring and summer. On a knoll above the gardens, the Kelly Way Gardens Lawn is an idyllic spot for outdoor weddings with hand-built arches, fire pits and unbeatable mountain views.
Eco-friendly touches fill the interiors of the Red Barns: Countertops are repurposed from bowling alley lanes; maple dining tables in the kitchen studio and white pine tables in the garden studio are made from trees ethically harvested at the nearby Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park; a backsplash was created from a butternut tree harvested on the resort property; while chandeliers salvaged from Woodstock Country Club light the 11,000-square-foot kitchen studio, which is fully equipped with a BlueStar range cooktop and Bosch wall ovens.
The inn makes a great home base while exploring the area—from hiking trails right out the door of the inn to touring the town on complimentary cruiser bikes, fly fishing with an Orvis-endorsed guide, heading to the country club for a round of golf or trying your hand at falconry with partner New England Falconry. And the onsite spa is the perfect way to cap off a visit to the Green Mountain State. —Catriona Branca
The Woodstock Inn & Resort Spa
It’s relaxing just to walk into the light-filled great room at the resort’s LEED-designed spa. Vermont-inspired treatments reflect the changing seasons; last summer, local honey was the star of a hydrating Bee Pampered seasonal treatment. Shaker wood stoves and a Scandinavian sauna add to the refined-rustic ambiance, while a four-season outdoor courtyard features an inviting whirlpool and outdoor fireplace.
The Simon Pearce Flagship Store
I’ve been a fan of Simon Pearce ever since my husband gave me a Woodbury vase filled with flowers as part of our new-millennium celebration. So, of course, I had to visit the hydro-powered flagship store and its Mill restaurant in Quechee, only seven miles from Woodstock. Here, you can watch artisans bring handmade pieces to life, shop for glassware and pottery, and try the pieces out while dining in the Mill. If you go in the evening, you might catch the balloons taking off from the neighboring green; they often dip into the river alongside the restaurant.
A version of this article appeared in the May 2019 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Green Mountain State of Mind.