Scenic Route 100: Vermont’s Main Street

scenic route 100 VermontVermont is our brand here at the October Country Inn.  We do our best to provide our guests with as much local knowledge about whatever might interest them. For sure, especially during the fall, taking a drive along Route 100, also known as Vermont’s Main Street, is sure to please.

Vermont Route 100

Following the eastern edge of the Green Mountains for 146 miles, Route 100, now designated as a Vermont Scenic Byway, is recognized as one of the most scenic drives in New England. Along the route you’ll find great food, farm stands, brewpubs, cheese makers, opportunities to explore history and culture, museums, and country stores. There are wonderful opportunities to visit galleries and shops featuring handmade furniture, ceramic wares, antiques and contemporary art. You’ll find Vermont scenic viewstreasures similar to what you’d expect at an urban gallery.

Vermont Hidden Gems

There’s also the oldest craft school in America, live theater venues, and classical music. There’s also easy access to Vermont’s end-to-end hiking and backcountry skiing trails. The Green Mountain Forest contains an exceptional network of cycling routes, State Parks, snowmobile trails, camping sites and lakes.

Changing Seasons in Vermont

In Vermont, one thing is beautifully certain: The seasons will change. And with that change, so changes the landscape, the activity, and the way of life. With every season comes different opportunities to explore, and recreate. Vermont is a state that is truly never out of season. Spring is all about enjoying the soft snow conditions on the mountain and visiting a sugar house for some pure Vermont maple syrup. Summer is the season to soak in the warmer weather; fishing, biking, hiking, and camping are just a few popular activities to enjoy during the summer.

Fall in Vermont

Fall is scenic fall in Vermontincredible. Vermont has the world’s best foliage colors. Combine the stunning scenery with comfortable weather, hearty food and great company, it’s guaranteed to be a trip to remember. Of course, Winter brings colder weather and snow—which either invites you to play outside or drives you indoors to sit around the fire with friends. With it’s award winning ski resorts and spas, Vermont celebrates more than just the holidays during the winter months.

Beauty in Every Season

Regardless of the time of year that you decide to explore Vermont’s Route 100, the attractions and destinations that await are plentiful throughout the state. Truly a four-seasons state for tourism, weather is no factor in finding a good time in Vermont. Even if you’re already familiar with Route 100, enlist the aid of a personal tour guide. Download the Vermont Rt 100 Gypsy Guide before hitting the road. Available for smart phones from the App Store or Google Play, this GPS empowered app picks up from where you are, and entertains as well as educates. It’s really fun.

By |2021-01-05T19:04:32-05:00September 20th, 2019|Sightseeing|

Father’s Day in Vermont: Hot Air Balloon Rides

Colorful hot air balloons in the mountainsEverybody here at the October Country Inn understands that time spent in Vermont is never wasted.  That said, as a bonus, during the Father’s Day weekend, the nearby town of Quechee once again hosts its annual Quechee Hot Air Balloon, Craft & Music Festival.  A very popular event, be sure to plan ahead, and arrive early to ensure convienent parking.

History of Hot Air Balloons

Besides being the longest running hot air balloon festival in New England, with up to 20 hot air balloons rising at 6 a.m. each morning and 6 p.m. each afternoon, there will be continuous music, 60 craft artisans displaying their crafts, food vendors, and a beer and wine garden.  And there are activities for children such as Euro Bungee, a ninja warrior obstacle course, bounce house, and more.  Now is your chance to take that balloon ride you’ve been thinking about.

Ride in a Hot Air Balloon.

There are two types of hot air balloon rides available.  A Tethered Ride gives riders a taste of Ballooning while being held down by long ropes only floating up to 50 feet in the air. They are a great way for small children or elders to experience a balloon ride. Like all other Balloon Rides, tethered ride are also weather permitting. Each ride lasts 5 – 10 minutes .Tethered rides are available for purchase during the festival weekend only.

An Ascension Ride or the typical balloon ride is between 30 – 40 minutes with the whole experience taking about 2 hours. The balloons take off together and soar hundreds of feet in the air, gracefully moving over the landscapes of Quechee, VT and beyond. The balloons land outside the festival grounds, end with champagne and transportation back to the festival. They are available for purchase before and during the festival. All balloon rides are wind and weather dependent.

 

By |2021-01-06T19:36:04-05:00May 17th, 2019|Sightseeing|

Woodstock lodging: It’s better at the October Country Inn.

Visiting Woodstock Village? October Country Inn is a better Woodstock lodging option.

A view of Woodstock Village.

We are often puzzled that on some certain weekend all the inns in Woodstock seem to be completely booked, and yet, Woodstock lodging is better at the October Country Inn but we are not full.  It must be because word hasn’t yet gotten around.

We want to blow our own horn.

Not that Woodstock isn’t worthy of such attention, it’s a charming small New England village. There are good restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and plenty of shops and galleries all within walking distance from any of several inns that are located within the village. But then what? After you’ve spent a half-day wandering the village, you will want more; and more is available, but it’s all outside of Woodstock village. It requires getting in your car and driving to one or another of the many, many points of interest in the greater Woodstock Killington area.

Woodstock lodging is better at the October Country Inn.

October Country Inn provides lodging for the Woodstock area.

Woodstock lodging is better at the October Counry Inn. Vermont’s best kept secret.

At this point, staying at an inn within the Village has lost its home field advantage. You’ve already exhausted all that’s within walking distance. So, instead of staying in Woodstock, why not meet Chuck and Edie, and stay at the October Country Inn in Bridgewater Corners because it’s a better Woodstock lodging option.   We’re in the town of Bridgewater, but the Woodstock town line is in the middle of Bridgewater. The October Country Inn is slightly more than one mile outside of Woodstock’s town line.

Truth be told, we know the answer. It’s because you didn’t know about us. You are not in on the best kept secret in the greater Woodstock area. It’s not your fault. The system is set up to key on location, and Woodstock has become a name destination. You would have to be some kind of black-belt, travel master to be able to pierce the online search-engine veil of mystery to get a complete view of the area you are interested in visiting.

The internet is a complex enterprise.

Bridgewater Corners Country Store near Woodstock

Bridgewater Corners Country Store.

This is the point of this posting. Although you might argue that because this post appears on the October Country Inn blog, anybody reading it would already be in on that best kept secret. However, the internet is a complex enterprise. Perhaps this post is like the ripples of water from a small pebble that spread across an enormous lake. In any case consider yourselves let in on the best kept secret in the greater Woodstock area. Stay at the October Country Inn. It’s a better Woodstock lodging option.

Check our online reviews.

Check our reviews on Trip Advisor, Google, or Yelp. Woodstock is fine, but Bridgewater Corners’ October Country Inn is sublime. It’s still as close to everything outside the Village, closer to all that the Killington area has to offer, and is outside the Route 4 traffic corridor and all that goes along with it. It’s quiet here. We’re in the country, we have a swimming pool set on a tranquil hill overlooking the Green Mountains, the Longtrail Brewery is across the street, and the Bridgewater Corners Country Store, to serve any of a multitude of personal needs that may arise, is within walking distance.

By |2020-12-13T19:39:29-05:00August 11th, 2017|Sightseeing|

Artisan’s Park: A lot of fascination in a small space.

Path of Life gardens overlooks the Connecticut River.

Path of Life gardens overlooks the Connecticut River.

A common breakfast table query from our guests here at the October Country Inn is: “What is there to do around here.”  This question always gives us pause, because there’s so much to do around here we don’t know where to start.  Our typical follow-up discussion would then try to match a local activity or attraction with our guests interests.  If successful, we then provide the necessary logistics including directions.  As is often the case, there may be multiple options from which our guests may choose.  Each option with its own specific logistics.

Many places to visit at Artisan’s Park.

pathoflife garden layoutArtisans’ Park makes our efforts of being good Vermont ambassadors more efficient by the accidental location of several fascinating attractions within walking distance of one another.  Located between Route 12 and the Connecticut River just north of Windsor, Vermont, the artisans in Artisans’ Park refers to either: Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company, Sustainable Farmer, Harpoon Brewery, Silo Spirits, or Simon Pearce.  The park part of Artisans’ Park refers to either: Path of Life Garden, or Great River Outfitters. That’s a lot of options from a single parking spot.

Relax at the Harpoon Brewery.

Longest covered bridge in the U.S.

Longest covered bridge in the U.S.

At the Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company you can learn all about cheese making while sampling from a wide variety of their artisanal and speciality cheeses.  Sustainable Farmer serves wood-fired pizza, as well as offering maple syrup, honey, and other local Vermont products.  Kick back at the Harpoon Brewery and sip one of their cold craft brews.  Step up the kick and sample vodka distilled from local corn at Silo Distillery.  Amble over to Simon Pearce and watch local glassblowers ply their trade.

Longest covered bridge is here.

On you way over to Great River Outfitters check out the longest covered bridge in the U.S. spanning the Connecticut River.  Season permitting, you can kayak the Connecticut River, or wander around the Path of Life gardens.  In other words, a full and fascinating day awaits those who venture to Artisans’ Park.

By |2021-01-07T18:18:04-05:00June 22nd, 2017|Sightseeing|

Spring in Vermont: The countryside awakens.

The Ottauquechee River runs full.

The Ottauquechee River runs full.

Around the October Country Inn, it seems like it happened in a matter of a week or so.  The trees were bare, the ground was covered in snow, and you’d want to have a jacket and hat on when outside.  Then the sun came out for a couple of days.  Snow on south-facing slopes began to recede.  The Ottauquechee River level began to rise, and start to run in a serious white-water kind of way.  Smoke began to pour from local sugar houses around the clock.  Then the robins show up.  All the signs are here.  Vermont Spring has come to our little corner of Vermont.

Vermont Spring is a quiet time of year.

Bears are awake and hungry.

Bears are awake and hungry.

This is a quiet time of year.  Many call it “mud season,” as if to warn away downcountry visitors.  We, however, understand that we are about to witness one of mother nature’s truly remarkable transformations.  There will be a rebirth.  Look closely.  Bare limbs of trees and bushes push out new shoots and buds that will burst into flower and leaf.  Weird  looking mushrooms, and tiny green sprouts push aside the cover of last fall’s mulch of leaves.  Overhead, honking geese fly north.  You have to take the bird feeders down for a month or so because bears are awake and they are hungry.

Time to start mowing the lawn.

A typical Vermont sugar house busily boiling down maple sap (notice sap bucket hanging in the foreground) to produce maple syrup.

A typical Vermont sugar house busily boiling down maple sap (notice sap bucket hanging in the foreground) to produce maple syrup.

It’s not like we have been shut-ins all winter long.  We enjoy winter, and look forward to the special kinds of activities having to do with snow.  But, when spring comes, it feels like we’ve been shut in all winter.  All of a sudden we just can’t wait to get outside.  Go for a walk without putting on the snowshoes.  It also kickstarts a new round of chores.  We have to get and stack a couple of cords of firewood so that it will be dry for next winter.  Change out the storm windows for screens.  Put up the rain gutters.  Before you know it the grass will need to be cut, the cover will have to come off the pool, and patio furniture and shade umbrellas will need to be set out.  We better get busy, but there’s really no hurry.

By |2021-01-09T15:40:16-05:00April 18th, 2015|Sightseeing|

Stick season: Discover Vermont’s quiet side.

Stick season in Vermont.

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.

We like stick season.

The color is on the ground.

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.

Stick season is for relaxation.

A quiet walk in the woods.

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.

 

By |2021-01-11T10:13:41-05:00October 29th, 2014|Sightseeing|

Vermont’s CCC Road: A backroad adventure.

A Vermont local along the CCC Road.

A Vermont local along the CCC Road.

Discovering Vermont is an adventure.  And travelling the back roads without a map is best.  Here at the October Country Inn, we love back road travel whether it be by car, bike, or on foot.  We often sit around after breakfast discussing the day’s sightseeing options.  One option is to check out the nearby CCC Road.  The Civilian Conservation Corps built it.

Built as part of the New Deal.

Remains of an old CCC shelter at the trailhead to the Shrewsbury Peak trail.

Remains of an old CCC shelter at the trailhead to the Shrewsbury Peak trail.

After the stock market crash of 1929, a drastic economic depression followed.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt formed the CCC to provide employment.  Called “Roosevelt’s Forest Army,”  he employed over 3 million needy young men. They were provided shelter, 3 meals a day, some education, and new skills.   These men carryied out forest conservation projects in thousands of camps all around the country.  The CCC Road was one such project.  Built in the early 1930s, it joined the CCC camps  in Plymouth and Shrewsbury.

The road is closed during Winter.

ccc road mapThis road, closed during the winter months, is roughly six miles of decent hard-packed dirt that runs from Route 100 just south of Woodward Lake in neighboring Plymouth, across the Plymsbury Plateau and ending in North Shrewsbury where it’s a short trip to Rutland and points west.

There are several hiking trailheads.

Although you can stop anywhere along the road and pull off, there are several places you can get out to walk and explore. At one mile is Tinker Brook State Natural Area. Access is on the south side at a curve in the road (there is no sign, only a small pull off for parking). A short walk in takes you to the hiking shelter.  At 2.0 miles (one mile east of Tinker Brook) is the east access to Shrewsbury Peak.  At 2.9 miles (1.9 miles east of the east Shrewsbury Peak access) is a gated access on the north side of the road. On the south side of the road is a small pull-off and access into the Plymouth Wildlife Management Area.

By |2021-01-11T10:50:30-05:00April 21st, 2014|Sightseeing|

Vermont’s Fall colors: One of the wonders of the world.

Fall colors at the October Counry Inn.

Fall colors at the October Country Inn.

As the last days of September slide away, shorter days and cooler nights work their magic.  Vermont’s Fall colors blossom on the foothills of the Green Mountains bordering the October Country Inn.  No matter how many years we’ve watched summer morph into fall, this incredible display of color always astounds us.  No wonder our guests come from around the world. They come during this time of year more than any other just to see this unique and remarkable display.

Nature’s raw beauty on display.

diagram of photosynthesisApart from just witnessing nature’s raw beauty as the foliage changes its color, you might wonder how Vermont’s Fall colors change comes about.  Leaves are nature’s food factories.  Plants take water from the ground through their roots, take carbon dioxide from the air and, with sunlight and through a process called photosynthesis, turns it into oxygen which is released back into the air, and glucose which provides the energy for life and growth.  Photosynthesis happens in the presence of sunlight and chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll is also the chemical that gives plants and leaves their green color.

The green masks the underlying color.

brillant red colored foliage

As fall approaches, and the days get shorter and shorter, Vermont’s hardwood forest begins to shut down its food-making factories.  The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves as sunlight diminishes, and as the bright green fades away we begin to see combinations of yellow, orange, red, and purple.  These colors show the traces of other chemicals that have been in the leaves all along but that were masked by the volume of green chlorophyll needed to enable photosynthesis to provide enough food for the trees to live and grow.

Put Vermont’s Fall colors on your bucket list.

Of course, knowing a bit about why this remarkable display of color occurs is all very interesting, but it’s a poor substitute for being in its presence.  If you’ve got a bucket list, make sure that spending time in Vermont during fall foliage is on it.  If you don’t have a bucket list, this is a good reason to start one.

By |2021-01-12T11:09:14-05:00September 20th, 2013|Sightseeing|

Vermont back roads: Woodstock’s Pomfret and Cloudland roads loop.

Fall foliage colors seen from Pomfret Rd.

Fall splendor alongside Pomfret Road.

Fall is here, and the colorful foliage that Vermont is known for is close to full bloom at the October Country Inn.  Everybody wants to be here during the “peak,” when the colors are the brightest.  But “peak” is a moving target.  Generally, “peak” foliage colors move from north to south, and from higher elevations to lower elevations.  Given this movement, the best strategy for viewing fall colors is to drive around Vermont back roads.

Drive around Vermont back roads.

Map of the Pomfret, Cloudland Roads loop

Pomfret and Cloudland roads loop.

Another reason to drive around is that you will often find that stands of vibrant colored foliage occur in pockets–you’ll drive around a corner and be stunned with a burst of color that will take your breath away.

There are many little known Vermont back road routes in this area to choose from.  Just wander around, don’t be afraid to take dirt roads, most are in great shape and will reward the adventurous sightseer with an endless series of postcard quality views.

One such route just outside of Woodstock, is to take Pomfret Road to the top of Galaxy Hill and Cloudland Road back down.   Begin this 15 mile route at the Billings Farm on Route 12 just north of Woodstock.

Pomfret, Cloudland Rd. loop directions:

Sleepy hollow farm

Sleepy Hollow Farm alongside Cloudland Road.

Driving north out of Woodstock on Route 12, go past the Billings Farm where it intersects with River Road.  Less than a mile further, leave Route 12 by taking the “Y” to the right onto Pomfret Road.  About 2 miles further, Look for the Teago Store.  Follow Pomfret Road by turning right at the Teago Store and  wind up the hill for a couple of miles.  Just before the top, next to an apple orchard, take Galaxy Hill Road to the right.  This short dirt Vermont back road passes some impressive real estate before intersecting with Cloudland Road.  Take Cloudland Road to the right and begin down this dirt road.  The Appalachian Trail crosses near the top.  Keep on Cloudland Road until it intersects with River Road.  Turn right at River Road and arrive back at Billings Farm and Route 12.

Be adventurous.

There are many such routes in the area.  This will give you a flavor of what to expect.  Be adventurous.

By |2021-01-13T16:13:41-05:00September 30th, 2012|Sightseeing|
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