One of the most relaxing weekends we’ve experienced all summer was camping at Silver Lake State Park. The 35-acre state park is located in Barnard, about 10 miles north of Woodstock. Dave, Phoebe and I camped with our friends Gina and Andre, their two young children and black Lab.
We slept in tents, swam in Silver Lake, roasted marshmallows on the campfire, and made pancakes on a portable stove (Gina and Andre brought along a vintage Coleman gas stove from the 1970s). There was no cell service, so we were disconnected from our phones and from the rest of the world for 48 hours. It was Phoebe’s first time camping, and we had our challenges getting her to sleep at night. Still, I felt more rested than ever after two days in Barnard.
Established in 1955, Silver Lake State Park was once part of several farms. (A farm homestead was located near the current park entrance, and the remains of a barn foundation are still visible in the campground.) These days, the impeccably maintained park is perfect for camping, and scenic Silver Lake is ideal for kayaking and swimming.
Silver Lake State Park is a favorite place for Vermont families looking to camp or head to the lake for a day trip. If you’re camping and the weather isn’t ideal, the region offers plenty of fun activities to let you make the most of your getaway.
Out and About in Barnard, Woodstock and Quechee
Barnard Country Store
6134 VT Route 12, Barnard
Established in 1832, the historic Barnard General Store is one of the oldest in the state. It’s a favorite spot for fresh coffee, deli sandwiches, and ice cream. You’ll find a seating area inside and an outdoor porch on the side of the building to enjoy a scenic view of Silver Lake.
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
6565 Woodstock Road (Route 4), Quechee
Interested in owls, falcons, hawks, and eagles? Situated on 47 acres, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (known as VINS) features 17 state-of-the-art raptor enclosures, exhibit spaces, classrooms, and of interpretive nature trails. The organization focuses on bringing birds back to health and releasing them into the wild. VINS is a must for all ages.
5573 Woodstock Road (Route 4) Quechee
Quechee Segway is a new business offering Segway tours around Quechee, taking riders to Dewey Falls, Dewey Mills, Marshland Farm, The Quechee Bridge, and Quechee Gorge. Guests will learn about the history of Dewey Mills, Quechee Gorge, and other notable spots in the area. Another option is to ride around an obstacle course and neighboring field outside the Quechee Segway offices. A fun way to see a beautiful, historic region.
Billings Farm & Museum
5302 Old River Road, Woodstock
Billings Farm & Museum was established in 1871 by Frederick Billings. This Jersey dairy farm focuses on agricultural excellence by offering farm programs and historical exhibits that explore Vermont’s rural heritage and values. Explore the historic barns and get a close up look at sheep, horses, oxen, and chickens at this magnificent Vermont farm.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park
54 Elm St., Woodstock
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, a 550-acre park that opened to the public in 1998.The park is the only national park in Vermont, and it’s the only national park to tell the story of conservation history and land stewardship in the United States. The property was the childhood home of George Perkins Marsh, one of America’s first conservationists, and later the home of Frederick Billings. Enjoy walking trails, building tours, and beautiful gardens.
Route 4, Quechee
Quechee Gorge is a 165-foot-deep chasm that was sculpted by glacial activity some 13,000 years ago. Flowing through the 3,000-foot-long narrow gorge is the Ottauquechee River, which winds through Windsor County and eventually feeds into the Connecticut River. Part of Quechee State Park, the gorge is Vermont’s tiny version of the Grand Canyon. This popular scenic attraction is also Vermont’s deepest and longest river gorge.