Woodstock Inn & Resort

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Discover the Woodstock Inn & Resort, nestled in Vermont's Green Mountains and established by Laurance Rockefeller in the 1960s.

Woodstock Inn & Resort, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016, dates back to 1793.

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A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2011, the Woodstock Inn and Resort is steeped in history. Originally of Worcester, Massachusetts, Captain Israel Richardson built the first iteration of the facility four centuries ago in the wake of the American Revolution. He specifically constructed a rustic, two-story, clapboard structure that he called “Richardson’s Tavern.” Designed with the popular Federalist-style architecture of the age, it sat right in the middle of Woodstock, Vermont. The originally tavern exchanged hands numerous times over the next 50 years, in which it underwent various alterations and renovations. By the early 1800s, it had grown so large that it served as the primary lodgment in the entire area. Amid the constant turnover of owners, the building was eventually rebranded as the “Eagle Hotel.” Nevertheless, it soon became the center of all social life in Woodstock, offering locals and visitors alike a warm place to enjoy each other’s company. To celebrate its cultural importance, an expert carpenter and cabinetmaker named Moody Heath carved a beautiful golden eagle for the business that he subsequently mounted atop its roof. While the eagle no longer rests above the building, it still does reside within the facility. In fact, the sculpture is located in the Woodstock Inn & Resort’s brilliant Rockefeller Ballroom, where guests may view its wonderful detailing today.

As the 19th century reach its end, a vibrant tourism industry gradually emerged around Woodstock. The visitors that arrived had hailed from Montreal or Boston, allured to the region for its tranquil scenery and relative exclusivity. Many were avid outdoor enthusiasts, who yearned to ski, sleigh, or hike the surrounding mountains during the winter months. The biggest attraction was a new ski slope that a local named Wallace Bertram opened at the height of the Gilded Age called “Hill Number Six.” The former captain of the Dartmouth skiing club, Bertram eventually renamed the destination as “Suicide Six.” As such, aspiring hoteliers nearly reconstructed the Eagle Hotel for a sum of $120,000, transforming it into the “Woodstock Inn” in 1892. The newly reborn business quickly attracted a vast majority of those travelers, hosting “riotous” parties that lasted long into the night. One of the figures who was most influential in making the Woodstock Inn an attractive destination for winter sporting fanatics was its manager, Arthur Wilder. A devoted skier himself, Wilder spent immensely advertising both the inn and the Town of Woodstock as a premier skiing community. (In order to keep the Woodstock Inn fully booked during the summertime, Wilder also marketed the locale as a haven for golfing). But Wilder was also an accomplished artist, painting a series of murals that brilliantly encapsulated the area’s colonial beginnings.

Wilder continued managing the Woodstock Inn until 1935, when he ultimately stepped down from the position. After going through another period of fluid ownership, prominent businessperson Laurence Rockefeller and his wife, Mary, purchased the destination in 1967. A scion of the legendary Rockefeller family, Laurence had long been passionate toward historical preservation and conservation. Around a decade before he acquired the Woodstock Inn, Rockefeller wanted to create a brand of eco-friendly resorts that would help preserve the geography within which they resided. Rockefeller subsequently named the company “RockResorts,” which soon was managing such locations like Caneel Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Lodge at Koele in Hawaii, and the Grand Teton Lodge in Wyoming. Rockefeller was first approached about buying the Woodstock Inn by its then-current general manager, David Beach. Beach was aware that the millionaire had recently purchased Suicide Six, and was curious to know if he would help restore the aging inn. Rockefeller jumped at the occasion. Through RockResorts, Laurence and Mary Rockefeller spent $600,000 fully renovating the location into a beautiful historic resort. When the location finally opened a year later, the community embraced it with open arms.

Since then, the Woodstock Inn & Resort has undergone numerous improvements and renovations that have thoroughly enhanced its services. In 1970, the resort debuted its Woodstock Ski Touring Center, which was then followed by The Woodstock Racquet & Fitness Club a decade later. The Woodstock Inn & Resort also debuted an outstanding 10,000-square foot, LEED-certified spa facility in 2010. Perhaps the most ambitious of those projects involved a two-part construction effort that formally wrapped up in 2018. Phase one concluded two year earlier, though, which cost some $2.6 to million to complete. Among the areas renovated as a result of the construction included the creation of a new lobby and library that constituted a new communal living room for guests residing at the resort. The Woodstock Inn & Resort’s brilliant front lawn also received a series of alterations to its front entrance and law, which resulted in the installation of a porte corche and front steps as well as a wealth of new landscaping. The second phase cost $6.5 million, and saw all 142 guestrooms beautifully refurbished to appeal to the modern travel. The resort’s ownership group also created two new luxurious categories of accommodations, known as the Legacy Suites and the Woodstock Collection Rooms, respectively. Each guestroom type celebrates the history of the surrounding countryside and the wonderful heritage of the resort itself. Now considered one of the best places to stay in all of Vermont, this outstanding historic resort offers nothing less than the best in modern comfort.

  • About the Location +

    Woodstock’s origins began in the waning days of British America, when the colonial Governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth, first allowed British colonists to settle the land on July 10, 1761. At the time, the Province of New Hampshire claimed suzerainty over the area that now constitutes Vermont, often quarreling with New York to administer the territory. Governor Wentworth specifically allowed David Page and several dozen other families to settle the region by means of a royal land grant. Over time, more colonists from other the other New England colonies started to arrive and established homesteads upon the ground that the original settlers had yet to occupy. They christened their new community after the Town of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England, which was located a few hours outside of London. On the outskirts of that Woodstock resided the regal estate of Blenheim Palace and its owner, George Spencer, the 4th Duke of Marlborough. As such, the residents of the new Woodstock felt bound to carry the memory of the lord over to the “New World.” While those families raised farms throughout the surrounding countryside, an actual village square did no emerge until James Sanderson and his family arrived around six years later. Then, in 1776, Major Joab Hoisington provided a much needed source of income for the nascent town, constructing a gristmill and saw mill along the Qttauquechee River.

    When the American Revolutionary War erupted in the mid-1770s, settlement to Woodstock slowed considerably. Yet, it picked up dramatically, though, as soon as the conflict ended in 1783. The town itself was subsequently one of the many communities that was governed by the separate Vermont Republic, which first emerged as a political entity just a few years into the Revolution. It eventually joined the United States, once Vermont decided to join the Union in 1791. Woodstock received a wonderful honor nearly two decades later, when the Vermont General Assembly decided to meet in the town before permanently relocating to Montpelier the following year. Factories soon began to emerge throughout Woodstock due to the strong currents of the Qttauquechee River, giving the locals a source of employment. The businesses originally produced objects made of wood, such as scythes, axes, and carding machines. But, as the manufacturing processes began more intricate, the plants created everything from carriages to luggage trunks. Its economic vibrancy had become so great that some 3,000 people lived in the town on the eve of the American Civil War.

    Toward the end of the 19th century, the town experienced several new economic booms. One of the first began with the arrival of the Woodstock Railroad network in neighboring White River Junction in 1875. Not only did more people start to travel to Woodstock, but local merchants and industrialists started to move more goods to other markets across the nation. But as those passengers began to explore the surrounding countryside, they decided to vacation for long periods of time. Many were soon attracted to the sloping geography near Woodstock, making the town an exclusive destination for outdoor enthusiasts. As such, seasonal guest homes soon dotted the landscape, as well as a few hotels and inns. The greatest of those locations was the Woodstock Inn, which aspiring hoteliers developed from the Eagle Hotel in 1892. The hills and mountains near Woodstock also became the sight of popular ski trails, the most notable of which was Suicide Hill. And as the 20th century dawned, the town had firmly established itself as one of New England’s most luxurious holiday destination. Woodstock has maintained that identity ever since, with the great Woodstock Inn & Resort playing a central role toward maintaining that status.


  • About the Architecture +

    Throughout its history (and various iterations) the Woodstock Inn & Resort has displayed one prominent architectural style: Federal. Federal architecture dominated American cities and towns during the nation’s formative years, which historians best identity as lasting from 1780 to 1840. The name itself is a tribute to that period, in which America’s first political leaders sought to establish the foundations of the current federal government. Fundamentally, the architectural form had evolved from the earlier Georgian design principles that had greatly influenced both British and American culture throughout most of the 18th century. The similarities between the two art forms have even inspired some scholars to refer to Federalist architecture as a mere refinement of the earlier Georgian aesthetic. Oddly enough, though, the architect deemed responsible for popularizing Federal-style in the United States, was in fact, not an American. Robert Adams was the United Kingdom’s most popular architect at the time, with his work largely involved providing his own spin on the infusion of neoclassical design principles with Georgian architecture. (This is also the reason why some refer to Federal architecture as “Adam-style architecture.”) As such, his new variation spread quickly across England, defining its civic landscape for much of the Napoleonic Era. Despite the bitter resentments that most Americans harbored toward Great Britain at the time, their cultural perceptions of the world were still largely influenced by the old mother country. Thus, Adams’ new take on Georgian architecture rapidly spread throughout the United States as it had previously across the Atlantic.

    Unlike many other popular American architectural forms, Federal-style is easily recognizable due to its unique symmetrical and geometric design elements. Most structures created with Federal architecture typically stand two to three stories in height, and are rectangular (sometimes square) in their overall shape. While the buildings normally extended two rooms in width, larger structures would usually contain several more. In some cases, circular or oval-shaped rooms functioned as the center living space. The outside façade of a Federal-style building were simplistic in their appearance, although some detailed brass and iron decorations made their appearance, too. Perhaps the most common form that the ornamentations assumed were elliptical figures, as well as circular and fan-shaped motifs. Architects concentrated those features around the front entrance, where cornices, iron molding, and a beautifully sculpted fanlight resided. (Fanlights are a regular design element for Federalist buildings, appearing in other locations throughout the top of the structure, as well). The exterior walls themselves were primarily composed of clapboard out in the country, but consisted of brick in urban areas. Palladian-themed windows also proliferated throughout the façade, installed in a way that conveyed a deep sense of balance. Roofing was also hipped, and contained simple gables and dormers that allowed for natural light to more easily infiltrate the upper echelons of the structure.


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