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Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:49 pm
by jrl2018
Hi everyone! Hope your New Year is off to a great start. Apologies in advance if this post is not timely (I feel like an insane person planning 9 months in advance but am too excited to not :P) or completely appropriate for this forum, but I stumbled across this amazing and helpful community, and felt strongly that I would find the best wisdom / insight here, so here I go!

I've officially caught the Vermont / leaf-peeping bug and am planning a trip for my husband and myself this fall. This is the tentative itinerary I have drafted:

Fly in/out of BTV with .5 days in Burlington, ~2 days in Montreal, and ~3.5 days in VT (based out of Woodstock and/or Warren).

Nightly accommodations:

10/5 Sat: Burlington
10/6 Sun: Montreal
10/7 Mon: Montreal
10/8 Tue: Woodstock Inn
10/9 Wed: Woodstock Inn
10/10 Thu: Woodstock Inn OR Pitcher Inn (Warren)
10/11 Fri: Woodstock Inn OR Pitcher Inn (Warren)


(1) You're probably thinking: why the diversion to Montreal? I myself would be happy to spend the whole week in VT, but the two nights in Montreal represent a possible compromise for my husband, who may prefer a bit more variety. In previous travels, we've enjoyed splitting a week-long trip with the first half in a more urban setting and the second half in a more rural / relaxing setting. I saw that BTV to Montreal is 2 hours away, and so included it to be opportunistic.
(2) I'm pretty attached to staying at the Woodstock Inn, but not as much to staying at Pitcher Inn. That said, I thought it might be good for the last two nights because 1) people seem to speak highly of staying in Warren as a base, especially given those specific days, and 2) It's 1 hour closer to BTV airport, which we will fly out of on Sat morning.

Questions for you:

- Does anything jump out at you as a possible misstep / mistake?
- We do like to travel Sat to Sat due to our work schedules. While I know nobody can make precise predictions, how does this week seem vs. the week before (9/28-10/5) or after (10/12-10/19)?
- Any of your candid feedback or other elements I should consider would be most appreciated and valued.

Thank you so much!!!


Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:08 pm
by ctyanky
Hello JR and welcome to our wonderful foliage forum! And Happy New Year to you! I do not think you are insane by planning months ahead! Once you get your airfare and lodging confirmed, then you have lots of time to really immerse yourself in all the fun activities Vermont has to offer!

First off, my own opinion is to stick with the dates. Foliage has been running a tad later each year and I think you should stay with the current itinerary. I definitely would not choose the later dates but that is my own take on it. As for lodging, wow, you have chosen some awesome places to look at. Woodstock mid-week may still be quite busy but it is a lovely, quintessential New Englandy town with great shopping, restaurants, hiking nearby and there are so many things I could add about it but will save for later!

Warren, wow. I love it here. I've been staying in the Waitsfield/Warren area for 10 years and it is quite a different feel than Woodstock. More rural, local and mountainous. If it were me, I would split the time and keep both of you happy. The Pitcher Inn is a Relais et Chateux lodging so you are in for the best of the best. I've been in it and was wowed with every room. Across the way is the Warren Store! Amazing! So much to do in the Mad River Valley aka MRV. I have lists of things for you to do there and I am sure others may add once you get this all squared away!

I think you have a solid plan. I do not think you have made any mistakes but since this is high season, PLEASE find out if you have to have a three day minimum at any of the lodgings you chose. Also, I see that Friday begins Columbus Day Weekend this year (late) and the Pitcher Inn might (a) be already booked or (b) require a 3 day stay for the biggest foliage weekend of the season. It might not be a bad idea to ask now. I'm thinking you will not have that issue mid-week at the Woodstock Inn but always worth a check.

Please ask away and so glad you have joined this forum! You will not be disappointed! Let us know what you have decided for lodging and then we can fill in your itinerary with everything you would ever want to make this Vermont foliage vacation the best! CT

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:22 am
by jrl2018
Wow! Thank you so much, Ctyanky! :) I could not have hoped for a more encouraging or thorough reply. You've given us just the boost of confidence we need to proceed with the booking piece. I've confirmed that both of those hotels are available on our specific dates, but I'm seeing more broadly there's already a decent bit sold out in the dates adjacent -- so crazy!

Thank you again for the warmest welcome to this special forum and I look forward to following along with all the posts as it gets closer, as well as possibly picking your brain on Woodstock / MRV later. :D

All the best!

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:57 pm
by ctyanky
JR: You're welcome! I think you are going to be very happy with your choices, to complement both of your wishes in lodging. The town of Woodstock itself, is bustling and spirited and pretty touristy (not a bad thing at all!) and there is an energy there I can't quite describe! There is a whirlwind of activities in town and close by to enjoy! Quechee is amazing! If you leave the Woodstock area you will also find the quiet, less "busy" surrounding towns, ie. Pomfret, Barnard, Reading, etc.

The Warren/Waitsfield area is pretty low key and laid back - I love the serenity of the whole MRV. It is close to Stowe and Waterbury if I want a more "active" scene...… There is a different kind of "vibe" in both towns and I know you will enjoy both!

I will start to compile the list of Woodstock area activities/lovely back roads/etc. in the near future first. Glad you are locking in your choices now. I dearly wanted to stay at one of my places longer but she was already socked in before and after much to my surprise!

Stay tuned! CT

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:52 pm
by From_the_NEK
I don't want to throw a huge monkey wrench into your plans, but with the fairly long drive between Montreal and Woodstock, I think you may be better served breaking that transit up into two days. Taking some time to explore a little of northern, Vermont. However, doing so may require you to stay somewhere in between Montreal and Woodstock on the 8th. If you make the drive along Vermont Route 100, staying at an inn near Stowe may be a good idea. If you want to venture into the Northeast Kingdom (NEK), there are a lot of very nice inns around the Burke, Lyndon area as well. A one night mid-week stay should still be available at most locations.

However, no matter what you do, you really can't go wrong driving around Vermont in early October. :D

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:24 am
by jrl2018
Thanks, From_the_NEK! :) Not throwing a huge monkey wrench at all...just some perspective from a different angle, which is nice. Our plans are still not firmed up so this is appreciated. Thank you!

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:29 am
by mmvt
I will add to NEK's comment/suggestion. While Woodstock is a lovely town, it IS very crowded during "peeper" season and tends to attract a lot of tourists, tour buses, etc. I love visiting the town in the "off season" but really dislike it during peak foliage as the shops are crowded, parking is a hassle, etc. I much prefer the smaller towns where I get a more "local" feel for the state. I feel similarly about Stowe which is a madhouse during foliage and ski season. Ironically, the foliage in the immediate Woodstock area has been pretty "blah" for the past several years but you will certainly find lovely foliage within easy driving distances as you venture out and about.
For the past several years, the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) has had fantastic with Fall foliage. If you spent a night in the Burke/Lyndon area you'd be able to explore this region and then enjoy a more leisurely trip to Woodstock.
Hope this is helpful! enjoy making your plans!!

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:16 am
by Andy
Agree 100% with mmvt! Unless you like crowds and touristy things (shopping, etc.) avoid both Stowe and Woodstock. If you are looking for a taste of the real "Vermont" and some quiet countryside, opt for further away. For example Waitsfield is only 20 mins south on Route 100 from Stowe and is a much better base of operations.

Not sure where to tell you about Woodstock, but my couple times through there resulted in over an hour wasted in bumper to bumper traffic. Not what most of us travel to Vermont to see :D

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:43 am
by Utah Baker
If you choose to visit Woodstock & Stowe, I would do so mid week. I’ve never encountered a problem doing so. A drive up through Smugglers Notch above Stowe and down to Jeffersonville is gorgeous, avoiding mid day and weekends. Woodstock is enchanting, walk the main streets, or my favorite, cross the bridge and wander through the neighborhoods, the homes are lovely. Avoid both areas during Columbus Day weekend. Enjoy your visit and be sure to share your photos here !

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:20 pm
by Andy
Utah: Thanks for the perspective. I tend to think of seeing Vermont through my own lenses (pun intended). Because I am a photographer, I am much less interested in some of the other cultural things Vermont has to offer. I have spent some time (though precious little) in Woodstock and will say that there are some beautiful homes on stately, tree-lined streets (that could also perhaps benefit my lens). I grew up spending my summers and then 4 years as a young adult, just 10 miles north of Jeffersonville, and wholeheartedly agree that you cannot really appreciate "Vermont" without driving through Smuggler's Notch at least once, which of course means Stowe. There are also some very nice back roads in Stowe that I have spent a fair amount of time on.

I think whether someone stays there and uses these places as a base of operations really depends on what they are focusing there trip on.

Will you guys be in Vermont this fall?

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:50 pm
by ctyanky
Two years ago, I stayed in Woodstock, right in town, for 3 nights and four days mid week and the traffic/tourism was at a low. I loved Woodstock and spent a lot of time in Barnard and Pomfret and hiking so not a lot of shopping/dining in town. I guess it gets crazy on the weekends but midweek, I agree with Utah 100%, not an issue. The Marsh Billings Forest was where I spent some time as well. I'm going up again next weekend to Woodstock for the Taste of Woodstock on the Green and to hike Mt. Tom base to summit. It's a great area with tons to do if you like the outdoors, but my go to places there are again, Barnard and Pomfret back roads. Enjoy! :D

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:08 am
by Utah Baker
Hey Andy! Nice to hear you back here. I have always enjoyed seeing your perspective! And I hope I have learned somethings along the way from it! :wink: Like CT, I really love the surrounding areas of these two communities as well, a lot to explore.

As we came out in May to visit our daughter in NH, we won’t be making a fall trip :| . They moved back to Utah two weeks ago. I have resigned myself to spending Autumn at home this year, it should be a good one with record snow pack last winter, a very wet spring and decent rain fall this summer. I look forward to everyone’s reports and lots and lots of photos! My heart & mind will always wander the back roads of Vermont in Autumn.

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:41 pm
by ctyanky
oh Janice, I'm so sorry you and I won't be meeting up in Peacham in October! I was looking forward to seeing you finally but I understand how wonderful it will be to have your daughter back home. My daughter lives half way around the world and I get to see her only twice a year. So you enjoy your beautiful autumn in Utah and we will meet again. Perhaps next season as I will be in Peacham again for a week and another week around Stowe at a horse farm. So let's do keep in touch! CT

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:08 pm
by jrl2018
Thanks for your replies and advice, everyone! I've been MIA because the post notifications were going to my Spam. In another fun twist, I'm now expecting (due in December) so while overjoyed about the new adventure, it did sadly mean we had to cancel our VT trip! Guess I'll have to bug you all another year in the future when we'll have a third travel mate in tow. Have a happy fall, everyone!

Re: Advice to first-time VT visitor - 1 week itinerary?

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:28 pm
by Andy
Congratulations. Vermont won't go anywhere :) . I have a 2 1/2 month old grandson. Priorities are pretty easy here.