Spring also means that the CCC Road will soon open.

A Vermont local along the CCC Road.

A Vermont local along the CCC Road.

Discovering Vermont is an adventure best unveiled while travelling the back roads without a map.  Here at the October Country Inn, we love back road travel whether it be by car, bike, or on foot.  So, if we’re sitting around after breakfast discussing the day’s sightseeing options, don’t be surprised when we suggest you check out the nearby CCC Road.  This road’s name is derived from the Civilian Conservation Corps–because they built it.

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, and the country’s drastic economic depression that followed, then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt formed the CCC in order to put the unemployed to work.  Known as “Roosevelt’s Forest Army,”  over 3 million needy young men were provided shelter, 3 meals a day, some education, and new skills while carrying out forest conservation projects in thousands of camps all around the country.  The CCC Road was one such project, it was built in the early 1930s joining the CCC camps  in Plymouth and the Shrewsbury.

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.  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 |2019-10-03T11:52:22-05:00April 21st, 2014|Sightseeing & Local Culture|

Fall colors in Vermont–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 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 during this time of year more than any other just to see this unique and remarkable display.

leavesApart from just witnessing nature’s raw beauty as the foliage changes its color, you might wonder how this 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.

redtrees

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.

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 |2019-10-03T12:05:06-05:00September 20th, 2013|Sightseeing & Local Culture|

Favorite Back-roads Series–Pomfret and Cloudland roads loop

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.

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 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.

Vermont hill 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 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.

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

By |2019-10-03T12:26:40-05:00September 30th, 2012|Sightseeing & Local Culture|