Besides serving breakfasts, morning at the October Country Inn usually finds us hauling out the maps and setting our guests up with suggestions for local hikes or bike rides. Most of the year, there are many opportunities for treks of varying degrees of length and difficulty to choose from. In November, however, a note of caution comes into play. November is deer season in Vermont. Most local deer hunters are very experienced, and very careful about discharging the particular weapon they may hunting with. However, the prudent hiker would avoid hiking in many areas of the woods during hunting season. With that caution in mind, there are November hiking opportunities in areas where hunting does not occur.
Nearby, the diverse trail system of Woodstock’s Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Park is an excellent example. Although there are many hiking opportunities available in the hundreds of forested acres that comprise this park, one of the most popular is a relatively easy walk to the summits of South Peak and Mt. Tom. The popularity of this three to four mile hike is largely because you can easily begin the walk from Woodstock village.
From the Woodstock green, cross westbound Route 4 where Mountain Ave. leads through the historic covered Middle Bridge. Proceed about 3 tenths of a mile along Mountain Ave., past River Road, to Faulkner Park, a small grassy square on the right. Follow any path through Faulkner Park to the back of the park, where you can pick up the trail to Mt. Tom. Although directly uphill, the trail winds up in a series of switchbacks at a gentle grade. Benches are periodically located at the side of the trail. The first overview is at South Peak. From here to the summit of Mt. Tom, the trail gets a bit easier. You can press on for another mile or so to the summit of Mt. Tom, or be satisfied with the view from South Peak. It’s worth the effort in any case.