Stick season in Vermont.
It’s no surprise that Vermont’s tourist season at the October Country Inn peaks with the pursuit of that elusive goal of being here during “peak” foliage; that brief moment when every tree is ablaze with color. Admittedly, the sheer volume and overwhelming mix of blazing reds, oranges, and golden yellows carpeting the Green Mountains is a sight that is never forgotten once experienced. However, this experience comes with a price. This is the time of year when we avoid Woodstock if possible. There is no such thing as a quick trip to the market during foliage season. Forget about finding a parking spot. Forget getting a table at a local restaurant unless you’ve reserved it weeks in advance. And if you made the mistake of finding a room when you get here, you’ll probably end up sleeping in your car.
The color is on the ground.
Then, about two-thirds of the way through October, a bit of wind comes up, and maybe a healthy bit of rain, and all the leaves fall off. It’s still pretty, but all the color is now on the ground. This is stick season in Vermont. We like stick season. We like Vermont’s quiet side. There’s no problem finding parking in Woodstock. There’s no problem finding a table at a local restaurant on the spur of the moment. The snow has not yet fallen. The weather is still pleasant, and the crowds have gone back to their respective worlds. A walk in the woods on Mt. Tom during stick season is going to be a quiet walk.
A quiet walk in the woods.
This is the time of year to visit Vermont is you really want to get away from your daily routine, and accompanying stress. Stick season in Vermont is undervalued if relaxation and rejuvenation is the goal. Give it a try. October Country Inn is having a stick season special. If you appreciate peace and quiet, this offer is for you. Come visit us. Take a quiet walk in the woods. Shuffle your feet through a carpet of leaves. Discover Vermont’s quiet side. You’ll be calmer for it.
An unassuming turnout on the east side of Route 106, a few miles south of Woodstock, is home to a headstone like monument and history marker of uncommon interest. Called “Indian Stones,” a couple of carved slate tablets tell the story of the 1754 capture of a local family by indians, and marks the spot where Susannah Johnson gave birth to the great-great grandmother of Woodstock native Mary French Rockefeller. But these tablets don’t tell the whole story.
In the 1750s, James and Susannah Johnson lived at the edge of the frontier alongside the Connecticut River in the town of Charlestown, New Hampshire. Marking the start of the French Indian War, on August 30, 1754, the entire Johnson family, James, Susannah, and their 3 children were captured by an Abenaki war party and force marched to Canada to be sold to the French. The next day, Susannah, who was nine months pregnant, went into labor and gave birth to a daughter upon a flat rock in a nearby strembed. She was named Elizabeth Captive Johnson. One hundred and fifty-six years later, in 1910, Mary French Rockefeller, the granddaughter of Frederick Billings, was born in Woodstock.
It is well-known that the town of Woodstock and its rural surroundings have greatly benefitted from the patronage of Laurance Rockefeller. This is in no small part due to Mary French’s influence. Laurance said that his interest in Woodstock flowed simply from the fact that it was Mary’s home. Indeed, Woodstock was very definitely Mary’s home. Having spent her childhood living on her grandfather’s Woodstock farm, and roaming through the forests of Mount Tom on her pony, her love of Vermont’s rural nature was as much due to her childhood experience as to her direct connection to the land forged by the earlier birth in a nearby streambed of her great-great grandmother Elizabeth Captive Johnson.
Because it was Mary’s home, Rockefeller adopted Woodstock. He saw the dangers unwise development could pose for Woodstock and worked to guide development so that landscape and townscape were considered together. With this in mind he purchased and replaced the aging Woodstock Inn, greatly improved the country club and ski area. He also funded the underground routing of electrical and telephone wires throughout the village, greatly enhancing Woodstock present historical and aesthetic appearance.