Easy Escapes

Easy Autumn Escape: Affordable Woodstock, Vermont

by  Donna Heiderstadt | Oct 2, 2018
Woodstock, VT
Woodstock, VT / iStock

Autumn in Woodstock, Vermont is known for rolling hills carpeted in brilliant foliage; atmospheric inns with roaring fireplaces; and quaint streets—lined with country stores and boutiques—that seem lifted from a Robert Frost poem.

It’s also known for sticker shock. From late September to late October, hotel room rates inflate as fall foliage-seekers converge to admire the golden maples and crimson oaks. Here’s how to enjoy and save on a weekend in this quintessential New England village this fall.

Where to Stay

The 142-room Woodstock Inn & Resort is an easy place to give in to the urge to splurge. A recent $16.5 million resort-wide refurbishment unveiled fresh decor and a large wood-burning fireplace in the lobby, a gathering place for guests enjoying a nightcap in the colder months. There’s a AAA Four-Diamond fine-dining restaurant, The Red Rooster, an eco-friendly LEED-certified spa, a golf course, and a game room.

Plus, a stay here includes a number of value-added activities (part of a $33 per day per room resort fee, bundled in the nightly rate)—such as access to the 42,000-square-foot Woodstock Athletic Club’s indoor pool and whirlpool, racquetball courts, exercise equipment, and fitness classes—that make it equally easy to stick to a budget.

How to Get a Deal

Rates for the inn are $409 per night between late September and mid-October. But come late October through early December, rates drop to nearly half the price: from $279 for a Garden Level King and $289 for a Woodstock King. Yes, the vibrant foliage will have faded, but the charm and hospitality remain.

If you wait to book until October 14, and your dates are flexible (between October 21 and December 20, excluding Thanksgiving and Wassail weekends), you can snag additional savings with one of two new packages: The Pre-Holiday B&B Package, which starts at just $229 a night for two adults in a Garden King and includes breakfast; and the Fall Back & Relax Package, which starts at $309 a night for a Garden King and includes breakfast, $100 spa credit per room per night, and a complimentary bottle of wine. 

What to Do, See & Taste

Explore Woodstock

From the Middle Covered Bridge to neat-as-a-pin Federal-style brick homes, Woodstock is quaint and picturesque. Browse the charming shops along Elm and Central Streets, including F. H. Gillingham & Sons general store (which dates to 1886), Danforth Pewter, and Collective—The Art of Craft. If antiques are your thing, head eight miles east on U.S.-4 to the 17,000-square-foot Vermont Antique Mall in Quechee Gorge Village.

Visit Billings Farm & Museum

Woodstock owes much of its appeal to the late Laurance S. Rockefeller, the hotelier/conservationist whose interest in the town began with his marriage to Mary Billings and culminated with his purchase of the Woodstock Inn and the establishment of The Woodstock Foundation, a non-profit intended to preserve Billings Farm and Museum, which dates to 1871. At the 270-acre farm, you can interact with some 90 Jersey dairy cows (time your visit for 3:30 p.m. to see the milking that produces Billings’ own 100-percent raw-milk Vermont cheddar cheese), as well as sheep, goats, horses, chickens, and pigs. Admission $4-$16; free for guests of Woodstock Inn & Resort.

Sample local craft brews at Woodstock Hops N’ Barley

Don’t leave without a few bottles of local Vermont craft brewed beer. Woodstock Hops N’ Barley stocks more than 700 different kinds of beer (and wine, too) and has 13 taps for growler fills. It’s located in Woodstock’s East End and doubles as one of the last remaining video rental places in Vermont.

Dine at Worthy Kitchen

While you’re on your beer run, indulge in some rustic-hipster farm-to-table dining at neighboring Worthy Kitchen. This is the place to order a burger—the beef has been sourced locally at Almanack Farm. And the buttermilk-fried chicken is crispy, juicy (the chef uses boneless thighs), and perfectly seasoned. Both are $14.

Order the fondue at Richardson’s Tavern

If you saw the milking process at Billings—or if you just love cheese—reserve a table at Richardson’s Tavern to taste the final product. The Billings Farm Cheese Fondue is thick and creamy and comes with an assortment of bread, vegetables, grapes, pickles, sausage, and house-made potato chips that make great flavor combos—all shareable for just $18.

Hike Mt. Tom

Work off some of that yummy cheese and beer en route to the 1,250-foot summit of Mt. Tom, which affords memorable views of Woodstock village. You’ll find a trail entrance just behind the Middle Covered Bridge on Mountain Avenue, and reasonably fit hikers can make it to the top in about 30 minutes.

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