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September 25, 2012

Vermont – Sunday, Sept. 23

I was staying 2 nights at this motel (my self-imposed rule of staying 2 consecutive nights somewhere each week to catch up with things…or try to!)and breakfast was included, so I didn’t have to pack up, and after a few helpful suggestions from the proprietor once he knew what direction I was headed in, I drove east to Woodstock. My intent was to maybe stay an hour or so and walk a couple miles, and then move on. But that didn’t happen! I loved the town, and the walk turned into a 7 1/2 mile, 4+ hour delight all in all. The town is very picturesque in a Norman Rockwell sort of way, with a nice central park, lots of pretty shops, and beautifully-maintained homes. I just kept walking! We ventured a little north of town and I stumbled across Vermont’s only national park site – the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. In the back of my head, I knew Vermont had 1 national park, but I had forgotten about it, and where exactly it was located. The grounds are extensive with a working farm and numerous museums and a house to tour. I couldn’t go into the visitor center at that moment since Tula was with me, but I headed up there anyway to see what the dog policy was as far as being outside on the grounds, and I bumped into a lady walking 2 large Bernese Mountain dogs. She told me about a trail leading up the mountain to a pond (all part of the national park property) and said it was about 2 1/2 – 3 miles. So we set off shortly behind her and even though it was uphill for the first mile or so, it was a beautiful walk. There were a couple places where stone fountains were available for your horse if you happened to be riding, but they work for big dogs too! They didn’t go all the way up and I met them again on their way down. Once they were out of sight, I felt like I had the whole mountain to myself, and I let Tula off the leash. The big pond near the top was pretty and there was another 3/4 mile trail around that. Once we were nearly done walking around the pond, Tula couldn’t resist a quick swim. I think it was pretty cold, because she scampered out quickly and then ran around like a wild little puppy! I was happy we had miles to go before getting in the car, and she dried off somewhat on our walk back down. I had grabbed one of the national park pamphlets in a garage/museum partway up the mountain that had several carriages and other conveyances behind glass. I read through that, and became aware that the 3 families who the park is named after were very forward-thinking in their ideas and practices of good stewardship of the land and its resources. So I started to think about looking into a donation of some sort connected to that. When we had made it back down the mountain, Tula was still a little damp, but that didn’t stop 2 nice ladies from stopping to chat. I do meet some nice people!

I still had one other part of town to walk through, and there was another covered bridge, so I walked over that and into another neighborhood. Then we finished our long walk through the park where I read the historical sign, and learned that Woodstock was the site of the first ski-tow in the country, and is the only town in America to still have 5 church bells that were cast by Paul Revere and Company. And maybe the churches were part of the charm on this particular day – since it was Sunday morning when I first arrived, the churches were all crowded, and now and then the bells would chime, and it all added to the wonderful day. But, finally, our walk came to an end. After a little more research in the car, I discovered that The Woodstock Foundation is connected to the national park, and the funds are used for education, conservation and continued good stewardship of resources, so I knew I had to return to the visitor center to make a donation. They seemed very pleased, and also very interested in what I’m doing, and one of the ladies suggested I hurry into the theatre room where a 30 minute movie about the history of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller families was just beginning. She told me I might be even happier about donating to the Woodstock Foundation after watching the movie. And she was right!

After a quick stop at the general store to look around, and at The Village Butcher next door (which was also a deli) I ended up with some good split-pea soup and a corned beef sandwich before heading a few miles to my next stop – Quechee Gorge. On the way up, I passed a “broken” covered bridge (missing part of its span and I don’t know if repairs are under way.) The gorge was beautiful, viewed from the high-up bridge. I walked my last 1/2 mile there while Tula slept.

Then, about 15 more miles to the last stop of the day – the longest 2-span covered bridge in the world. And it was worth the drive. It was a huge beautiful bridge, with 2 lanes (most covered bridges are one lane bridges)and a sign warning people not to trot their horses on the bridge or there’ll be a $2 fine. No fines for me! The bridge spans the Connecticut River and connects Vermont to New Hampshire. I drove, and walked, across it in both directions.

I was happy to have a room waiting back at the Killington Pico Motor Inn.

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  1. Your blogs have become part of my daily routine … thanks for taking us along 🙂

  2. Erik permalink

    I spent a fall weekend in Woodstock with brother David back when he lived in Boston. We invented a mixed drink in the bed ‘n breakfast and named the concoction The Woodstock of course. Sadly I do not recall the exact ingredients; it was apple cider and two liqueurs that have absolutely no business being combined with apple cider.

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