No strip malls, no billboards, no Starbucks, no sprawleven the power lines are underground in this quintessential New England village. Your only risk of overstimulation comes from the surrounding Green Mountains: Mount Tom and Mount Peg sandwich the town. By September, the region's famous foliage is emerging, the air is crisp, and it's prime time for the first two sports of the Woodstock Holy Trinity of fishing, biking, and skiing.
Road riders have long flocked to Vermont's vast and traffic-free network of intertwining country roads. But follow the knobby tracks out of town and you'll likely stumble across a local secret. Curvy singletracks traverse the forest, and primitive backroads connect quaint villages. Rentals at the Biscuit Hill bike shop are $20 a day (+1 802 457 3377; www.biscuithillbikes.com).
To absorb the shimmering foliage at a slower pace, drive to the nearby section of the Appalachian Trail (off State Highway 12) for a rolling hike through farmland and sugar maple stands (Green Mountain Club; +1 802 244 7037; www.greenmountainclub.org). Anglers can join the local quest for rainbow trout beneath the covered bridge by the Taftsville Country Store (fishing license, $15; worms, $2.29; 800 854 0013 [U.S. and Canada only]); rookies should enlist the help of a guide from Wilderness Trails ($135 for a half-day; +1 802 295 7620; www.scenesofvermont.com/wildernesstrails) and understand that fly-tying is as sacred as foliage hereOrvis was founded in nearby Manchester back in 1856.
Visitor Vitals: Woodstock is a 20-minute drive from New Hampshire's Lebanon Municipal Airport, two and a half hours from Boston, and five hours from New York City. The triathlon-addicted owners of the Winslow House ($125 and up; 866 457 1820; www.thewinslowhousevt.com) let pets board free in their heated barn. The original Woodstock Inn, on the village green, opened in 1793; now it's a luxurious resort property with the town's best health club ($210 and up; 800 448 7900 [U.S. and Canada only]; www.woodstockinn.com). The Jackson House Inn (+1 802 457 2065; www.jacksonhouse.com) offers some of Vermont's finest dining. Locals get dreamy-eyed about any of the 30 made-to-order sandwiches from the Woodstock Farmers' Market (+1 802 457 3658; www.woodstockfarmersmarket.com).
Why Stay? A small-town lifestyle with big-city pleasures (a movie theater, gourmet food, boutiques).
$300,000 Buys: A three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter), circa-1800 clapboard cottage on 2.3 hilly acres (about 1 hectare) with a small pond.
Job Market: Mom-and-pop shops and cottage industries (antiques, homemade jam) that cater to tourists, plus Dartmouth College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in nearby Hanover, New Hampshire.
Meet the Locals: Liberal-minded ex-urbanites and A-list environmentalists like Roger Payne, founder of the Ocean Alliance, who would make the town's original resident conservationistsGeorge Perkins Marsh, author of Man and Nature, and forest advocate Frederick Billingsgrin in their graves.
Winter Salve: Two nearby ski areasKillington and the town hill, Suicide Sixplus 40 miles (64 kilometers) of cross-country terrain satisfy this historically snow-smitten lot. Powered by a Model T Ford engine, the country's first ski tow rope started pulling.
To check out the nine other tempting towns featured in the September issue of Adventure, subscribe today.
From the print edition, September 2004
Where to Live and Play Now: Spend a week in these enticing base-camp burgs and you may never go home.
- Woodstock, Vermont: Green Mountain Playground
Pelton's World: Surviving a foreign fleecing
The River Wilder: Maine's classic American river trip
K2 at 50: The controversy surrounding the world's most vicious mountain