Last Fall, my husband and I participated in a golf tournament in memory of our brother-in-law’s dear brother, Bob who passed away a few years ago. Proceeds from the tournament support a fund created in Bob’s name at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute here in Boston to support pancreatic cancer research. The tournament was great fun and incredibly well run, earning a spot as one of Dana Farber’s top fundraising increases in just its second year. We were thrilled to spend the day with family and celebrate a great man who was taken too early.
During the silent auction, my husband spotted an item that, ever the hopeless romantic, inspired him to start bidding. A weekend in Woodstock, Vermont, offered by Bob’s wife, Lisa who had picked an inn for a 2-night stay, combined with a special dinner at The Prince & The Pauper, in the booth where Bob had proposed to Lisa years ago. This was a special place for them and we were psyched to win the item and have a weekend to look forward to down the road.
I am very familiar with Woodstock and neighboring Quechee, having spent a lot of time in the area in my twenties. I’m sure many of you have visited as well, but it doesn’t get any more quintessential New England than Woodstock, right? The town itself is incredibly charming, with small shops bustling with locals and tourists alike. The architecture is beautiful whether looking at the brick buildings that flank the downtown or the elegant homes that are nestled into neighboring streets. We were fortunate to have two gorgeous days so we were able to do everything we set out to do (and you know, I’m a planner!).
Here are the spots we hit.
On the way up to Woodstock, we took a slight detour and visited King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont. If you like to bake, it’s worth a visit. There are so many wonderful tools and ingredients here that it truly is a baker’s paradise. Skip the boxed mixes, though and head for the sanding sugars, chocolates and flours. I walked away with a couple of kitchen towels, some cinnamon sweet bits that I put into scones and almond paste. I didn’t go wild, but it was super fun to browse.
We also enjoyed a delicious lunch in their somewhat chaotic cafe. My husband’s choice was a delicious artichoke and feta sandwich, while I enjoyed their soup of the day, tomato-dill with a homemade ciabatta roll that was to-die-for…
On our way from King Arthur to Woodstock, we stopped off in Quechee to visit The Antiques Collaborative and The Anichini Company Store where I found a beautiful throw.
Meandering down the road to Woodstock, we still had some time to burn before checking into our hotel, On The River Inn. We had a lot of fun poking in and out of stores, particularly the Village Butcher Shop with every kind of Vermont-made product you can imagine, and F.H. Gillingham’s, the most comprehensive general store I have ever visited! I kept having thoughts of the movie Baby Boom with Dianne Keaton – do you remember that movie where she “inherits” a baby and ends up giving up her fast-paced New York city life and moves to Vermont? She makes baby applesauce in her home kitchen and it becomes a commercial success? Gotta rent that movie again…
After checking into our hotel, we ventured out for dinner at The Prince & The Pauper. We had a wonderful, romantic meal and ordered a delicious wine that I have ordered through a local store here in town. I will report back if it’s as good as we remembered!
The next day, my husband ventured out to downhill ski while I went to the Woodstock Inn’s Nordic Center and snowshoed up to Mt. Peg which was great exercise. The day was absolutely perfect with full sun and not too chilly. There had been a light dusting of snow the night before so trail conditions were about as good as they could get. So lucky…
Before picking up the hubs, I stopped at Mon Vert Cafe in the center of town and picked up some sandwiches. I love this place. Super fun vibe, very casual, organic cafe with a clever menu, coffees and baked goods including lots of gluten free offerings. They value local sourcing and have a chalkboard in the entrance that lists all of their partnerships with New England producers. Try the I Got the Beet Wrap (beet hummus) or the Gobble it Up Panini, our delicious choices. Ironically, I was waiting for our lunch and was browsing some of the art hanging on the walls, only to discover much of it was from my childhood friend, Christine Schultz who along with her husband is an artist-in-residence at Green Mountain College. She recently moved back to New England from the south and it was so fun to see her work! Christine and I go way, way back to kindergarten together. Check out Christine and Mark’s website, Taylor Arts!
We did a bit more exploring that afternoon, stopping off at the gorgeous Farmhouse Pottery that had us saying we’ll take one of everything. Watch pots being made on-site while you ponder which beautiful piece you’d like to take home. We ended up purchasing a trunk vase that will be both beautiful and functional in our kitchen…
image from Farmhouse Pottery
Our last night we spent dining at Simon Pearce in nearby Quechee. I hadn’t visited since much of it was rebulit after damage suffered during Hurricane Irene in 2010. What’s to say, other than the place is just gorgeous with a new bar that welcomes you into the space, a showroom that celebrates the magnificent work of Simon Pearce and of course, the restaurant where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner while watching the river rushing below us. Just magical.
We shared a salad of baby arugula, delicata squash, sunflower seeds, chevre, Asian pear and a sumac vinaigrette, and a cheese plate with Jasper Hill Farm’s Kinsman Ridge and Bayley Hazen Blue (once voted the World’s Best Unpasteurized Cheese)….
For dinner, I broke my rule about ordering chicken out and enjoyed the special, a pan seared chicken breast with roasted sunchokes, sundried tomatoes, cured black olives and an ice wine vinaigrette. Hubs enjoyed his horseradish crusted cod with crispy leeks, herb mashed potatoes and a balsamic shallot reduction. Our plates were wiped clean…
On our last morning, we got up early to do some cross country skiing in Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Our last stop was at the Woodstock Farmers’ Market which is really a misnomer because you are probably imagining a traditional “farmers’ market”. No, this is more of a market, that has all the feels of a farmers’ market, but has been carefully curated by the owners and staff. As they say on their website, they are a “very busy, crazy, year round market of fantastic food”. I could have spent hours there looking through all of the aisles that carry interesting artisan food products in every category you can possibly imagine, along with mainstream items as well. Breads, baked goods, made-to-order sandwiches and lots more make it a popular spot. We ordered two sandwiches for the road and headed home.
Only one last stop awaited, the store of Andrew Pearce, one of Simon’s sons who produces wooden bowls and a host of other products that are fun to check out. You can also see a selection of his products at Simon Pearce.
I’m telling you, if you need inspiration from nature or from people, this little section of Vermont is just a treasure trove of discoveries.
Until next time…
Two Years Ago: Brunch in New York (Jack’s Wife Freida and Russ & Daughters Cafe)
Three Years Ago: Shaved Tuscan Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
Sounds like a wonderful weekend, Val. I hope to replicate it sometime with my hubs!!
You definitely should, Timm!
I was thinking this morning that I had to put my Farmhouse Pottery trees away for the season but heck, it’s still winter and they’re so beautiful. So I put on my sweater I got last weekend at Sudie’s and went on with my day. Your post was perfect for me today!!
So fun, Amy!
Val, I love your blog. What can I do (not being very media savvy) to help you expand. Peggy
Thank you, Peggy! Let me think about that!
Yes, such great memories Val! So many snowy dinners at Prince & the Pauper in the 90s and our engagement brunch at Simon Pearce (those pillowy little rolls!). A very special place for so many of us.
Great memories! Love the Prince & the Pauper – I worked at the Woodstock Inn the summer of 81 🙂 E
Now that must have been fun!!!
OMG – thinking about vacuuming spiders in nearby Brownsville. I love Gillingham’s and Simon Pearce. Thanks for the recommendation to head back there!
Totally remembered that – we talked about our visits long ago. Such a great spot you had.