Leaf peeping in Quechee and Woodstock Vermont
It’s Columbus Day, the Monday of the three-day holiday weekend, and it’s cool with rain showers and fog as we drive through the mountains of western Massachusetts heading toward Vermont. We hopped off of Interstate Rte. 91 at Exit 8 in Vermont and followed it past Mount Ascutney into Woodstock and Quechee, traveling along Rte. 12, a very pretty road indeed!
We’d booked into one of our “go to” campground chains – KOA, this time at the Quechee Valley KOA on Rte. 4. This is one of the nicest Koa’s we have ever stayed at! It is beautifully maintained and the staff is helpful and friendly. This KOA also has one of the best stocked stores/gift shops and they even sell craft beer and Vermont wine . . . not something you will find at most campgrounds.
When we arrived, the campground office and grounds, as well as many of the individual RV sites, were lavishly decorated for Halloween, in preparation for a big annual event scheduled for the following weekend. We heard they were totally sold out for this fun Halloween event!
Tonight, we will settle in with a quick meal of sausages, onions and peppers, relax a bit and make plans for tomorrow.
During our stay here we noticed a HUGE pirate ship being built on one of the RV sites. We strolled after dark one night to enjoy all of the lighted Halloween decorations and met the fellow RVer who built it. Apparently he reserves two sites each year and builds a fabulous replica of “The Black Pearl”, complete with scenes and sounds from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”.
It’s his homage to the movie and it’s his fun way to enjoy his childhood fantasies as an adult. He invited us behind the scenes and we were amazed at the work he put into it.
You just never know what you will find when you are RVing! It was tough to photograph the pirate ship itself, but hopefully these photos (credit to my husband Steve) give you a sense of the fun scenes.
Woodstock, Vermont is a charming town in the Green Mountains of Vermont, located along the banks of the Ottauquechee River, chockful of historic buildings, unique shops, a cool old library, cafes and restaurants, the famous Woodstock Inn and a lovely town green. It is also home to three covered bridges and the only national park in Vermont.
The village green is surrounded by beautiful antique homes which seem to be either Georgian or Federal. I’ll have to do my research and look up the architectural styles featured on the green. Luckily, we found a parking spot for our 24’ motorhome right on Main Street next to the green, and spent $3 for three hours of parking, plenty of time to explore.
We wandered, shopped, snapped photos and relaxed over a coffee at the Mont Vert Café. The retail shops along Main Street work hard with their fall décor and downtown is a riot of autumn colors and plantings and featuring creative displays of pumpkins in all the newest colors. I just loved it!
Now, back to Quechee for a stop at the Gorge. Billed as the “Grand Canyon” of Vermont, the Gorge, at 165’ deep, was created when a massive ice sheet retreated across the region over 13,000 years ago. It’s a huge tourist attraction and can be viewed from both sides of the Rte. 4 bridge with great views and photo ops of the Gorge and the Ottauquechee River below.
After satisfying our photographic urges we took the stairs next to the Gorge Gift Shop which leads to a trail alongside the Gorge. One way leads to the Visitor Center, the other way (our choice) takes you to the dam of the river. It was an easy, comfortable and shaded half-mile walk that could be done by any age and most fitness levels.
This area is incredibly scenic with all of those bucolic Vermont scenes of rolling verdant hills, dairy farms, red barns and iconic farmhouses that we image when we think of Vermont. Recent years have brought an increase in retail establishments, mostly antique malls and upscale outdoor wear, along with a sprinkling of local wineries, breweries, the renowned Cabot Cheese and Simon Pearce Glassware companies and many others. The Billings Farm and Museum, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and the nearby Montshire Museum of Science are all top-rated attractions.
Our visit was too short and we’ll have to come back for another slice of idyllic New England!