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Attractions ~ Exploring Hawk Country ~ Quechee, Vermont

Featuring a landscape dominated by exceptional geological formations, ranging from a precipitous gorge to one of the most picturesque waterfalls in all of Vermont, the town of Quechee provides an interesting diversion for Hawk guests. Located a few minutes up the road from Woodstock, this upscale community on the banks of the historic Ottauquechee River is best known to today's visitors as the location of Simon Pearce's glassblowing mill. However, the quiet village is also home to numerous covered bridges and picturesque country roads dotted with antique shops and crafts fairs.

Quechee Gorge

If you are driving over from Rt. 89 in the warm-weather months, make it a point to get out of your car at the Quechee Gorge (which you'll pass over on Rt. 4) and hike down into the state park for some beautiful nature trails set to the melody of raging water. Summertime is the most magic of seasons in Quechee, as the town comes alive with the arrival of the annual hot air balloon festival and a series of polo matches.

Noteworthy Attractions in and Around Quechee

Simon Pearce, Quechee
Watch handblown glass and handmade pottery being created - start to finish - from special catwalk viewing galleries above the workspace floor. Glasswear and pottery, including seconds, can be purchased from the retail shop. After shopping, an Irish meal served on the same glasswear and pottery can be enjoyed in the restaurant, overlooking a covered bridge and waterfall on the Ottauquechee River. (802) 295-2711

The displays at Simon Pearce

Quechee Gorge Village, Quechee
Over 220 antique and crafts dealers are located under one roof in this sprawling complex adjacent to Quechee Gorge. The marketplace also features a country store, sugarhouse, Christmas loft and blacksmith shop. (800) 438-5585

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival and Crafts Fair, Quechee
Each year come June, visitors descend from around the world upon this picturesque Vermont village to gaze at the spectacular sight of multi-colored hot air balloons taking to the skies. Take a ride yourself or just watch as you tour the booths of over sixty crafts vendors in the summer air.

Taftsville Country Store, Taftsville
Historic 1840 brick country store specializing in an eclectic selection of Vermont's finest cheeses, maple syrup, homemade jams, mustards and other Vermont specialty foods. (800) 854-0013

A Brief History

During the Ice Age, some 13,000 years ago, the town of Quechee (like the majority of our continent) was covered by a gigantic glacier. As the glacier receded, the melting process slowly and steadily cut away the bedrock ridge that formed one of Vermont's most spectacular natural wonders - the Quechee Gorge. Quechee was settled in 1764, when homesteaders from Lebanon, Connecticut, were deeded acres for the erection of mills along the Ottauquechee River. These mills quickly became the heartbeat of a thriving community, providing everything from lumber to cider for its settlers. To accommodate growing traffic, a bridge was built over the river at the current site of the Quechee covered bridge. In 1875, the Woodstock Railroad Company built another bridge (an engineering feat of its day) to span the Quechee Gorge. For over 50 years, the train traveled back and forth between White River Junction and Woodstock, Vermont, carrying visitors and local folk, grain, bags of wool, bolts of fabric, lumber, tools and other commodities for the Upper Valley and beyond. However, progress soon brought with it the automobile, resulting in the train's final run in 1933. The rail bed was subsequently converted to highway use and, today, remains Vermont's only direct east/west roadway.

Simon Pearce Mill

During the 1800s, Quechee's mills gained nationwide attention for their quality fabric. J.C., Parker & Co. (the mill now occupied by Simon Pearce Glass) developed a new fabric, "shoddy," made of wool and reworked soft rags. The popular product quickly gained J.C., Parker & Co. a reputation for producing some of the country's finest white baby flannel. Concurrently, another Quechee woolen mill, Dewey & Company, was establishing its reputation for providing the fabric used in making baseball uniforms for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Over 64 buildings sprang-up around this company, creating the village of Dewey's Mills just downstream from Quechee Village.

In the 1950's, due to a shortage of affordable labor, and the enticement of the South with its increasing labor needs, Quechee's landmark mills began closing. The town soon lost the economic base that had existed unthreatened for nearly 200 years. The once booming community of Quechee soon became a village of abandoned buildings with broken windows, fallen roofs, brush and bramble-covered walls and crumbling foundations. To add to the decline of Quechee Village, in 1962, the government initiated a project to address flooding in the lower Connecticut River. As a result, the village of Dewey's Mills ceased to exist. In its place, the Army Corps of Engineers built a causeway between Dewey's Mills Pond and the Ottauquechee River, which has since created a wonderful walking trail and wildlife sanctuary that serves as a popular tourist attraction.

In the late 1960's, a group of investors arrived in the area looking for some quintessential Vermont land to build a four-season resort community. As this was the first development of its size to come under the jurisdiction of Vermont's Land Use Act 250 Law, the end result is a resort well planned, developed and maintained with great attention to its surrounding - the Ottauquechee River Valley, its hillsides, open meadows and woodland.

See Also

Hawk's Guide to Vermont Shopping and check-out some of the wonderful shops in Quechee and the surrounding towns.

Plymouth / Calvin Coolidge Homestead (Our hometown...)
Ludlow / Okemo (10 minutes)
The Killington Region (10 minutes)
Woodstock (20 minutes)
Weston (25 minutes)
Rutland (30 minutes)
Manchester (45 minutes)

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