At the cabin there are books with hiking, biking and driving routes for scenic sights. There are also maps and in the front of the VT atlas are a list of interesting places. In addition, there are notebooks and manila folders full of brochures, menus, etc. to keep you busy for weeks! It is always advisable to call any restaurant where you plan to have dinner as they may be taking a vacation during the off-season or have certain days that are closed. It’s impossible to keep up with all the changes so in order not to be disappointed call to check first.
At the intersection of Rt. 5 and Rt. 12 in Hartland, there is a small shopping plaza “Jessar’s Common” which has:
- BG’s Market – a general store which has a small selection of foods (good meats), a selection of wines and beer, necessities of all kinds, gifts, propane tank refills and video tape rentals. It is open 7am – 9pm 7 days a week
- Post Office
- Restaurant – Hartland Diner. Good home cooked breakfast and lunch with the locals.
- Mike’s Mobil – On Rt. 5 just before you get to Jessar’s Common and across from the road to the library. In addition to convenient as you come off Rt. 91 for gas (and diesel) they also have fresh breakfast and lunch items, fried chicken and potato logs each day as well as a grill to order up something special. They also have free Wi-Fi, a wide assortment of Green Mountain Coffee offerings already brewed and a good selection of wine and beer.
Another nearby restaurant is Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland 4 Corners which has an upstairs($$$) restaurant (It can be crowded so make a reservation) and a downstairs Pub which is more casual and the same menu and often with live music – sometimes a bit too loud.
Leaving the cabin by turning left out of the driveway takes you to Rt. 106 at the stop sign (2 miles). If you turn left you go to S. Woodstock – about 2 miles. You will pass the Kedron Valley Stables (wagon rides and sleigh rides available) and the Kedron Valley Inn (802 457-1480) where there is a nice restaurant. Kedron Valley Inn sells passes to its swimming pond with sand beach. Next door is the South Woodstock General Store which serves up a mean breakfast and lunch and usually abounds with locals and visiting equestrians. Try their fish sandwich on Fridays!!!
The only other thing in S. Woodstock (besides lovely homes and vistas on the back roads) is the Green Mountain Horse Assn. horse grounds (which may be having a competition) and the horse tack store next door.
If you turn right on Rt. 106 you go to Woodstock. It’s almost as close to go to Woodstock proper as it is to go to Hartland and Woodstock offers a variety of small stores, restaurants and gas stations (diesel). In Woodstock you will find a lot of interesting stores for clothing, books, pharmacy, unique toy store (Unicorn), yarns, sports store, pottery, antiques, BIG general store called Gillinghams which has everything, butcher shop (on same side of street as Gillingham’s). There is also an upscale grocery store called Mac’s on the east side of town across from the Shiretown Motel. There is also the Billings Farm Museum in Woodstock, covered bridges and the VINS Raptor Center (on the road to Quechee) and the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park with lots of hiking trails and an interesting Farm Museum. For eating there is the Mountain Creamery (good for breakfast and lunch $), Woodstock Inn ($$$$) has several choices, Prince & Pauper (French $$$),and Bentley’s ($$). If you like to shop at a market with lots of organic and natural woods, go West on Rt. 4 just outside of Woodstock and look for the Woodstock Farmer’s Market on the left (open year round).
Other restaurants in Woodstock that offer interesting menus are Angkor Wat (Asian Fusion) and Melaza (Caribbean) and a few more on the main street worth trying!! A little further afield are Keeper’s in Reading, The Weathersfield Inn in Weathersfield, The Black Rock Restaurant in Springfield. There are several restaurants in Windsor which is about 5 miles from the cabin on Rt. 5. The Windsor Station restaurant and Barroom is in the old Railroad Station (actually still accommodates Amtrak) in Windsor. On Rt. 5 between Hartland and Windsor is the Artisan Park with the Simon Pearce Outlet, Harpoon Brewery (restaurant-limited nights open as well as a brewery!), the Sustainable Farmer (with Farmstead cheeses and a wonderful assortment of Vermont products) and The Silo- Vermont made liquors. In the summertime you can rent canoes nearby and go out on the Connecticut River and often outside the Sustainable Farmer they have oven fired pizzas for sale. Grab a beer at Harpoon, oven fired pizza and sit at their picnic tables on a lovely summer evening.
Other spots of interest are the Maple Syrup Farms – Sugarbush Farm is set up for tourists – a working farm with a petting area, a comprehensive educational exhibit on the art of sugaring, a cheese and maple syrup tasting room and a gift shop.
You should definitely visit the Quechee Gorge – about ½ hour from the cabin – Rt. 4 East out of Woodstock. You pass by Taftsville General Store and Covered Bridge over the Ottaquechee River and then you will come to the bridge over the Gorge – very scenic and you can hike to the bottom of the gorge on a footpath and there is some still water where you can wade in and cool off. Quechee also offers gift shops and numerous antiques in the area – a very large one – with wooden moose out front is a short distance after the Gorge. Also on the way to the Gorge is Jake’s Market on the left and Singleton’s Market on the right – both offering a lot of Vermont products as well as grocery items. Quechee is also the home of the Simon Pearce Glass Factory which is interesting with some pricey gifts and a delicious restaurant – although a bit pricey it is worth it for a lunch with a seat overlooking the waterfall and the covered bridge. This place is crowded in the summer so plan an early lunch to beat the crowd. They are also open for dinner – a little more expensive menu. Another good but pricey restaurant is next door at the Parker House Inn. To get to Simon Pearce you will turn off Rt. 4 to the left at one of the only stoplights – there will be a sign and at this intersection there are several other highlights – Antique Mall on left and the driveway on the right goes to a nice deli (Trapdoor Bakehouse and Deli) with lots of home baked breads, lunch items and desserts.
As you head over the Quechee Bridge toward Simon Pearce if you turn right instead of left to Simon Pearce, you will come to Marshland Farm which has lot of activities. It has a relaxing bar in a great room, a restaurant and for the winter there is cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing and snow tubing. In the summer there is fly fishing.
For ice hockey lovers there is open hockey at an indoor rink in Woodstock and an outdoor rink is erected during the Winter – bring your own skates – at the Albert Bridge School in Brownsville. There also a small outdoor rink in Hartland near the City Hall on Rt. 12.
Ascutney mountain in Brownsville, which is currently no longer offering skiing, has developed a trail system for biking and hiking which is worth checking out as they continue to expand more trails for the future. There is also a restaurant there – Brown’s Tavern.
If you go in the direction to Windsor – which is only 5 miles from BG’s market (see top) you have another set of stores and restaurants from which to choose. Just before Windsor there is a PriceChopper supermarket and Aubuchon hardware store. In the town there is a well-stocked liquor and wine store as well as a pizza shop.
For major shopping go to New Hampshire (W. Lebanon/Lebanon or Claremont) where there is NO Sales Tax. Claremont is exit 8 off Rt. 91 – follow the signs – downtown proper is full of antique/junk stores and as you head out of town you find Wal-Mart with grocery store, Radio Shack, and a great small furniture store called Love’s Bedding. Lebanon is off of Rt. 89 off Rt. 91 – you’ll see the signs. In Lebanon is a delightful Italian restaurant – Three Tomatoes – and nearby is a good Chinese restaurant. W. Lebanon has all the stores of a big city – Pier 1, Sears, etc. Dartmouth College is in Hanover, NH nearby.
For downhill skiing there is Suicide Six in Woodstock – Okemo in Ludlow and Killington/Pico – all close but in the order listed from 6 miles to about 45 miles. Cross-country skiing(and rentals) in Woodstock at the Ski Touring Center which includes use of Mt. Tom. Also cross-country is offered at Marshland Farm in Quechee and also in Okemo. There are also lots of interesting restaurants in Ludlow on the way to Okemo. There is a sledding hill in Woodstock just after the Billings Farm across from the Mt. Tom Farmer’s Market (which is open in the summer/fall) and sledding at Marshland Farm as well.