Woodstock, Vermont is widely recognized as one of the prettiest small towns in America and is certainly one of the true gems of New England. And the stately Woodstock Inn has presided over the picturesque village in one form or another for 130 years. The 142-room, AAA Four Diamond Resort, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection, as well as the Historic Hotels of America, has evolved into a world-class resort in recent years without losing any of its charm or character. And the level of interior design, blending the historic contemporary rustic luxury, is on a higher level than comparable properties in New England.
The Woodstock Inn’s heritage dates back to a tavern that existed on the site in 1793, but the original Woodstock Inn, built-in 1892, was celebrated for “its grand architecture, 400-foot verandah, and more than 100 guest rooms,” and attracted many affluent visitors who flocked to Vermont’s first winter-sports center for tourists, complete with “riotous winter parties that were the talk of Boston and Montreal.” The modern Inn owes its existence and excellence to financier, philanthropist, and conservationist Laurance Rockefeller, who lived with his wife Mary in the town of Woodstock’s other icon, now known as the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion (now a museum) for many years.
Mary’s grandfather, Northern Pacific Railway president Frederick Billings, bought, enlarged, and remodeled the original 1805 mansion in 1869. Mary Rockefeller inherited the property in 1954, and she and Laurance adapted it for modern living. In 1967, when the Woodstock Inn was becoming dilapidated and its future was uncertain, Laurance purchased it and financed the construction of a new building in keeping with its history. It then became part of Rockefeller’s RockResorts brand, which he founded in 1956, joining the likes of Caneel Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Little Dix on Virgin Gorda, The Lodge at Koele, Manele Bay in Hawaii, and the Grand Teton Lodge in Wyoming, among others.
“Wrapped in luxury and history as they put it, the Woodstock Inn & Resort has evolved over the years and now has 142 rooms and suites. In 2018 the Inn unveiled a two-year, $16.5 million enhancement which comprised an upgrade and redesign of its 142 guest rooms, and saw the debut of six new Legacy Suites inspired by Laurance and Mary Rockefeller. The standout accommodation is now the Laurance S. Rockefeller Suite, the hotel’s finest, inspired by his personal rooms at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion, and Rockefeller’s influence on the town of Woodstock, much of which he helped preserve.
The stately 880-square-foot, three-room residence, furnished with custom Federal-era piece, features a black-and-white marble entryway, a living room with a fireplace, a separate dining room with a butler’s pantry, and king-bed sleeping quarters with a plush window seat. A hand-painted wrap-around mural in the dining room depicts the rolling hills of Vermont, there are special warming drawers for robes and slippers in the walk-in cedar closet, and the spacious Italian-tiled bathroom has a steam shower and a soaking tub. In addition, the refurbishments included a completely new lobby and cozy library, as well as an enhancement of the front lawn and other public spaces, that also saw the addition of an expanded concierge presence.
Courtney Lowe, president of the Woodstock Inn & Resort, tells us that even more good things are in store. “This summer the Woodstock Inn & Resort welcomes guests to experience ‘Woodstock Outdoors,’” he says, “with a variety of activities such as our 18-hole championship golf course, fly fishing excursions, falconry, tennis, mountain biking, and the resort’s 3.5-acre Kelly Way Gardens.” At the resort’s expanded Activity Center meanwhile, “local experts are available to recommend nearby outdoor happenings based on participants’ fitness levels and interests allowing guests to discover new hobbies, or hone favorite pastimes into family traditions.” And there’s also the option of simply lounging by the beautifully landscaped pool.
The outdoors has long been a focus for the property. In 1970 The Woodstock Ski Touring Center was opened, and in 1986 The Woodstock Racquet & Fitness Club opened south of the Golf course. Even more alluring, in 2010, the Resort added a 10,000-square-foot, LEED-certified spa facility featuring 10 treatment rooms and a welcoming Great Room lounge complete with a woodburning stove for chilly days. Custom treatments and therapies are “infused with the essence of Vermont.” There’s also a Scandinavian cedar sauna and heated outdoor whirlpool for even more relaxation options, as well as a fully-equipped fitness center if you feel the need to work out.
Dining at the Inn is also an amazing experience. The property has two venues in its main building, The Red Rooster, a AAA Four Diamond-rated fine dining restaurant focusing on homemade and local offerings, including specialty cheeses, heirloom produce, and organic meats, in a casually elegant farmhouse-inspired space with an adjoining bar and excellently-curated wine and cocktail list.
Standout menu selections include Oysters Rockefeller, with arugula, spinach, asiago, and herbed breadcrumbs; and Seared George’s Bank Sea Scallops with whipped potatoes, garden vegetables, roasted corn and tomato relish, basil pesto, and lemon butter sauce. And Richardson’s Tavern is a historic-inspired Vermont tavern with a large fireplace, rich wood paneling, cozy banquettes, and a porch in season, featuring classic gastropub fare, local craft brews, and artisan spirits.
Come winter, the Resort is the perfect destination once again thanks to the nearby Suicide Six Ski Area. The property also has its own winter sports concierge and Nordic Adventure Center, with an additional 30 kilometers of groomed trails to explore via Nordic skis, fat-tire bikes or snowshoes. Perley’s Pourhouse at Suicide Six is especially popular with the après ski set and offers a selection of Vermont craft beer on tap, a menu of hearty winter dishes, and a wood-burning fireplace. And at the Inn itself, one of our favorite features is a game room, bedecked in Vermont flannel, the perfect spot to wind up in after dinner no matter what the season, complete with a giant Scrabble board, foosball table, vintage pinball machines, board games, and more. We’ll see you there.
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