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Our Own Forest Oasis

A Woodstock, Vermont summer storm is brewing. Dark clouds swiftly move in, darkening the ever-present blue skies our town’s famous for. The scents of the green sweetness of the forest and the earthiness of mountain soil, envelope your surroundings. Your entire being is entranced. You regress to your childhood, to the porch, to the hammock, to your twin bed right by the window. Flowing white curtains, your dog under the bed, the hint of freshly laundered crisp percales cozied up to your chin. The screen door blowing in the wind to a three-quarter beat - the peepers singing a symphony for nature - here comes the rain. Listen to the pitter-pat, the rat-tat-tat; slowing down and speeding up - drenching, calming, and renewing. You fall asleep craving that morning hike.

A new morning dawns in this prettiest small town in America. We are surrounded with beautiful hills, mountains, trails, carriage roads, and the natural wonder of Woodstock, Vermont. It’s all here, virtually in our backyards – an oasis waiting to be experienced, savored, treasured…honored. Some of us long for that unbridled sense of freedom; youngsters dip into the outdoors stage for their vivid imaginations; writers weave a web of words that bring to the reader marvelous images of the great outdoors.

Visit Faulkner Park on Mountain Avenue, just a short jaunt from the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park. The shaded trees and picnic tables are so ever inviting – you may hear the whispers of our ancestors. The light beckons you from the pine needle covered path, aka, Cemetery Road. To your left, the River Street Cemetery, a resting place for many of our family members. You now begin your trek, passing a curious Girl Scout overnight cabin. Your breathing becomes excited, your heartbeat quickens, and your skin becomes dewy. You have begun what will be a fabulous walk. This trail is an easy stroll, that hairpins up the south peak of Mt. Tom – a majestic wonder keeping eye on our little haven. As you escalate, delight in the panoramic view of our Woodstock village and surrounding mountains. At the lovely overlook, stop and contemplate – rest on a bench, take out your harmonica - rejoice. If you’re adventurous, travel the last 100 yards of trail – challenging, but worth the task. At the summit, be captivated with the breathtaking view of Woodstock and the surrounding mountains. How fortunate can a human within nature be?

Let’s go exploring. It’s what we do in the summer. After your hike, walk, swim, or saunter lazily – stumble upon our steps and explore Vermont’s oldest family-run general store, F.H. Gillingham & Sons at 16 Elm Street – you’ll be on that street upon your homecoming - we just know it – every place in Woodstock leads to us. Get some sustenance – local maple yogurt, granola, beverages, produce, confections, and snacks. We even have a hammock or two, backpacks, boots, fishing poles, warm socks, a good book, walking sticks, and harmonicas.


We celebrate our forests, and revere two of their preservationists, George Perkins Marsh, and Henry David Thoreau:

“We have now felled forest enough everywhere, in many districts far too much. Let us restore this one element of material life to its normal proportions, and devise means for maintaining the permanence of its relations to the fields, the meadows and the pastures, to the rain and the dews of heaven, to the springs and rivulets with which it waters down the earth.” George Perkins Marsh, Man and Nature, 1864

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”   Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

For more information on Woodstock, Vermont’s trails, visit the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park

F.H. Gillingham & Sons is located at 16 Elm Street in Woodstock, Vermont. This year, we are celebrating our 130th anniversary. Stop by for a truly unbelievable Vermont general store experience.

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