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Why You Should Take a Multigen Vacation to Woodstock, Vermont

by Barbara Rogers

Apr 19, 2024

© Jennifer Lobo | Dreamstime.com


Kids can meet farm animals and try their hand at old-time crafts; energetic parents can hike the trails of Mount Tom; and those who prefer a slower pace can tour historic homes and gardens, photograph covered bridges, browse for antiques or gallery hop. All members of the family will enjoy family travel to central Vermont for a multigenerational getaway in Woodstock.


A good place to begin is at Billings Farm and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. Once part of the same vast estate, the adjacent attractions share a parking lot. Each has a historic home to visit and gardens. Billings Farm has display gardens and Sunflower House, a maze-like field where visitors, come late summer, are dwarfed by giant yellow blooms. Programs for kids may include crafts or butter making.


Across River Road, more formal gardens at the Queen Anne-style Rockefeller mansion are in bloom from late spring through September. The house features Tiffany glass windows and embossed wallpapers, along with the Rockefellers’ collection of early American landscape paintings.


The town center is picture-perfect around its broad village green, and stretches along a street lined with stately brick buildings housing craft and art galleries, along with stylish boutiques and shops. Beautifully maintained 19th-century homes line side streets, among them 1807 Dana House, home to generations of the same family until 1942, and now a museum. A bonus for photographers is a covered bridge just opposite the village green.

Antiques lovers should seek out Wigren Barlow Art & Antiques on Pleasant Street, filled with vintage finds and fine antiques displayed in spacious room settings.

Kids can learn all about eagles, hawks and falcons at Vermont Institute of Natural Science, a nature center that returns injured raptors to the wild. A naturally landscaped songbird aviary, hands-on activities and a creative nature playground are popular with kids. At the innovative Forest Canopy Walk, people of all abilities can overlook the forest from a 50-foot-high platform reached by an ADA-accessible (and stroller-friendly) boardwalk into the treetops.

At nearby Quechee Gorge, you can see Ottauquechee River, flowing more than 150 feet below, through a gorge formed by glaciers. You can follow a trail down to walk along the river at the bottom of the gorge. Behind the Rockefeller house, more walking and hiking trails form a network across Mount Tom, ideal for cross-country skiing in the winter.


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