Fall is here, and the colors are blazing; take it all in from the seat of a bicycle.

Fall colors line a typical quiet Vermont country road.

Fall colors line a typical quiet Vermont country road.

For decades, during the summer as well as the fall, the October Country Inn has been home-base for those who come to experience the idyllic Vermont countryside from the seat of a bicycle.  In fact, the OCI was originally founded to satisfy the lodging needs of the nascent Vermont bike tour businesses.  The incredible scenery along a plethora of quiet country roads make Vermont a destination for cyclists from near and far.

There are many route options to choose from.  Just in our little corner of the state, a dozen or so cycling routes can be found on the Vermont Bike Rides website.  These routes all come with maps and blow-by-blow road directions.   All you’ll need is a bicycle, a water bottle, and the inclination.  It’s not mandatory to stay with us, many don’t, but we’d love to have you if you decide against camping out.  Don’t forget, after your ride, the Longtrail Brewery is just across the street.

Old dairy barn alonside Pomfret Road.

Old dairy barn alonside Pomfret Road.

One of the cycling routes listed on the Vermont Bike Rides website, the Pomfret loop, is a 24 mile tour of Vermont hill farm country and river valleys that delivers a spectacular variety of fall foliage color vistas.  This particular ride begins and ends at the Billings Farm and Museum, outside of Woodstock, Vermont.  Park in the overflow parking lot and begin the ride by riding north on Route 12 for 0.6 miles and take a right on the “Y” intersection with Pomfret Road.  Follow it as it turns to the right at the Teago General Store

Colors light up the Vermont hill farm counry.

Colors light up the Vermont hill farm country.

(2.6 miles) and begins to climb, winding through incredibly beautiful hill farm country. When you reach the top of the climb (5.8 miles), shift into your big ring for a long downhill cruise. This leg starts out winding through open pasture land, and then funnels into a narrow creek side valley. Upon reaching the White River (11.8 miles), the road bends to the right, and follows the White River. This road dead ends at a stop sign (12.4 miles). To the left is a

Taftsville covered bridge.

Taftsville covered bridge.

bridge that crosses the White River, leads to Route 14, and the West Hartford General Store.  Turn right onto the Quechee/West Hartford Rd. (unmarked) and begin to climb. At the top (15.9 miles) shift into high gear once again for a shorter downhill sprint. Keep on the lookout for a paved road on the right that intersects with the Quechee/West Hartford Rd. at a very shallow angle (17.6 miles). Carefully turn right on this road (Quechee Main St., unmarked), and almost double back in the direction you came. Follow this road through and beyond the Quechee Country Club.  Turn right onto River Rd. (21.0 miles) when you reach the Taftsville covered bridge. At this point, River Rd. is hard packed dirt following the Ottauquechee River. River Rd. turns to pavement (23.2 miles). Turn right into the Billings Farm overflow parking lot to complete the ride (24.0 miles).

 

 

Old fashioned Summer fun of the liquid variety.

tubetravelSummer at the October Country Inn is all about natural surroundings. What better way to enjoy nature than to cool off on a hot summer day with a dip in our  pool, a lake, river or stream? Nothing feels as good as a dip in clear, clean water! Vermont’s natural bodies of water & flowing rivers & streams have some of the cleanest, clearest water you’ll find. It’s cool, refreshing & tubegroupthoroughly enjoyable. And what better way to enjoy Vermont than with an old-fashioned relaxing ride on an inner tube down a local river.

Just enough rain has produced excellent tubing conditions–not too deep with the water moving a good speed.  There is also plenty of variety.    In some spots you are just floating along while in Tubeplaceothers you are gently bumping your way through the large smooth river rocks.

You can bring your own inner tube, or rent one from a local tubing company.  There are a couple of different tubing rental companies in nearby Stockbridge (known locally as the Stockbridge Yacht Clubs). For a heat-escaping good time, all you need is a little spare time and an inner tube.  Vermont provides the rest.

 

Summer fun that you might not have thought of.

yogaboardThe end of June is fast approaching, and the weather here at the October Country Inn is as might be expected, warm and moist.  This is the perfect combination for an afternoon’s activity that involves getting wet, or at least has the option for a quick dip in a nearby lake.  Usually, canoeing or kayaking is the watercraft of choice for such an adventure, however, there’s a new game in town–paddleboard yoga.

Of course, you might opt to bring your own paddlebord if you have one, or rent a paddleboard from First Stop, a local shop, and just cruise around the local lake of your choice.  But if you’re already a yoga enthusiast,  or have always wanted to give it a try, yoga classes are offered by Karen Dalruy at nearby Killington yoga studio.

Karen poses with a group of paddleboard yoga students.

Karen poses with a group of paddleboard yoga students.

The best of both worlds can be combined with a session of paddleboard yoga instruction by Karen at Woodward lake.  This would be a good bet for one of those hot, moist Summer days.  Loosen up those blockages, improve your muscle tone, and flop in the cool clear water when the mood strikes you.  What are you waiting for?

 

On Memorial Day, our favorite bike route gets competitive.

Echolake2Of the many great outdoor activities that October Country Inn guests have to choose from, one of our favorites, is an 18 mile bike ride from OCI, past the Longtrail Brewery, up a quiet winding road through a forested valley past the Calvin Coolidge historic homestead and Plymouth Cheese Company, down hysteria hill through Plymouth and up past Woodward lake, and finally back down to the Ottauquechee River where you follow it back to the OCI.

ocitriangle

For detailed route directions see www.vermontbikerides.com

Usually, if it’s a busy weekend, you might encounter a couple of other cyclists along the way.  But usually not.  However, if you should happen to pick the Friday of the Memorial Day weekend, you’ll have plenty of company.  This day marks the start of the annual Killington Stage Race which consists of a circuit race of between two to four laps around the same 18 mile route.

killstageSome years ago, the Killington stage race was a five stage event considered to be one of the most prestigious road cycling events in the Eastern U.S.  After a 10 year hiatus, a reduced 3 stage event came back in 2010.  Besides Friday’s circuit race, there’s a 61 mile road race and a time trial.  It’s really exciting to see these tightly grouped racers quietly whoosh by.  You can feel the energy in the air.  If you’ve ever thought about giving it a try, they have a citizen’s class for the circuit race to give you that opportunity.

Spring is here. Time to get ready for the Bridgewater Raft Race

raftraceIt was just before noon on a recent warm clear Saturday Spring day when, from the front porch of the October Country Inn, you heard the start cannon go off.  Shortly thereafter the first wave of splashing rafters could be seen through the trees making their erratic way down the nearby Ottauquechee River.  The 39th annual Bridgewater Raft Race had begun.

raftrace4The race is always held on a Saturday at the end of April or beginning of May.  The three mile course down the Ottauquechee River, paralleling Route 4, starts from just west of the Long Trail Brewery, and ends at the Bridgewater Mill.  It is open to anyone with a self-propelled, home-made raft, and a $5.00 entry fee.  The entry fee, and revenue from T-shirt sales go to support the local Bridgewater volunteer Fast Squad.  Prizes are rewarded for first, second, and third place finishers, as well as for best raft name, most original raft, most challenging raft, and any other fun category somebody comes up with.

raftrace2In 1974 two local hippies decided to honor the Phantom Duck of the Rivers, and began what has become the annual Bridgewater Raft Race tradition.  Rules are minimal.  Rafts (including any oars)  must be home-made and self-propelled.  The Ottauquechee Rive is usually shallow at this time of year, but the water is cold.   Helmets and life jackets are recommended.  Interested in doing something unusual, and having some wet Springtime fun in the bargain,  check out the Bridgewater Raft Race website for details.

Buttermilk Falls–A Vermont style waterpark.

Upper Buttermilk Falls

A well known destination for those hot Summer days Buttermilk Falls offers locals and visitors alike the chance to cool off in the Branch Brook, without having to fork over an entrance fee.   Many people have cooled off in the Buttermilk Falls since they were little kids and now bring their grandchildren.

Middle Buttermilk Falls

 

Buttermilk Falls consists of three separate waterfalls, spread out over .2 of a mile of the river. The lower falls, a set of cascades about 8 feet high, lacks a pool of any significance.  The middle falls is about 20 feet high and be quite dramatic during times of high-water volume. It flows into a 25 foot wide pool that is deep enough for complete submersion.  The upper falls is segmented into two flows about 12 and 15 feet high respectively.  Both falls flow into a large swimming pool with clear water and a pebble covered bottom.

The State of Vermont, through the Vermont Rivers Conservancy, purchased the land around the falls when it came up for sale.  Over 60 private individuals and businesses contributed to the purchase.  In order to preserve this unique river resource, the site has come under Vermont’s Department of Parks and Recreation.  Buttermilk Falls is cared for by the staff from Camp Plymouth State Park during the summer months.


Lower Buttermilk Falls

The get to Buttermilk Falls from the October Country Inn, go South on Route 100A about 6 miles to the intersection with Route 100.  Turn left, and follow Route 100 North for about 10 miles to the intersections with Route 103.  Turn right.   Buttermilk Falls Road is almost immediately on your right.  Parking areas stretch out along the last half-mile of this dead end road.