After a late start Saturday morning, we began driving east and north towards our next destination, Colchester, Vermont. The drive took us from northern Pennsylvania, through mid-New York State, and then to northwestern Vermont along Lake Champlain’s eastern shore. We will spend three nights here.
Surprisingly, there are not many things for traveling tourists to see or do in Vermont, at least as far as we’re concerned. It is known for its vivid fall colors, maple syrup, cheese, and winter snow skiing. The countryside abounds with pastured farms, and almost all have a red barn. Interestingly, many of the old buildings have been preserved (not necessarily restored), but with relatively new additions. Thus, it is odd to see a somewhat modern building attached to an old one, and there were many.
Our Sunday drive began about 11AM, with a main objective of traveling Vermont Highway 100, a “must do” according to Vermont travel websites. Our first stop was all the way across the state to the Quechee Gorge, located in Quechee, Vermont, along U.S. Route 4 near Woodstock, Vermont. The gorge is 165 feet deep and is the deepest gorge in Vermont. It serves as a popular tourist attraction in Quechee State Park, offering kayaking and fishing, plus other water sports. We viewed it from the U.S. Route 4 bridge, and it was pretty awesome.
After Quechee Gorge, we briefly visited the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. It was dedicated to the public by benefactors Laurance and Mary Rockefeller with a vision to preserve 550 acres of delicate woodlands surrounding the town of Woodstock. Accompanying the nature preserve are the historic homes and art collections of the Marsh, Billings, and Rockefeller families, whose environmental stewardship helped shape the ethic of American conservation, and some 20 miles of carriage roads and hikeable trails that meander throughout the property.
Next was the affluent village of Woodstock. Woodstock is a quintessential New England village with three covered bridges and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park, Its charming colonial character is enhanced by the local artists and craftsmen along its streets. A collection of country stores, boutiques, bookstores, and art galleries line the village streets, enticing the many Sunday afternoon visitors to wander its charming streets.
We then traveled south through the picturesque New England country side, in sporadic heavy rain, to the Vermont County Store in Weston, Vermont. The Vermont Country Store, Inc. is one of the original New England catalog, retail, and e-commerce businesses (think LL Bean) and is based in Vermont. The company was established in 1946 and is operated by the Orton family. Kay enjoyed shopping there and bought a few “can’t do without” items.
From Weston, we began driving north on Vermont Highway 100. Though the forecast was for 30% chance of rain for a couple of hours, it rained, sometimes very hard, most of the rest of the afternoon. The drive north took us through the ski resort town of Killington north to the ski resort town of Stowe (remember the Von Trapp family in Sound of Music), and then back to Colchester to our hotel.
Despite the often heavy rain, we enjoyed driving through the New England countryside. We’re glad we did it but wouldn’t do it again.