The Billings Farm and Museum is a lovely rural oasis near the village of Woodstock, VT. I found out that itís also a cool respite on a hot Vermont day.
I dropped in at the farm on an sultry July day. The 340-acre working farm offers rolling green landscapes, barns featuring cows, horses and sheep, and historical exhibits.
I began at the Visitorís Center, where I watched an orientation film, A Place in the Land. This film explores the history and people of the farm that Frederick Billings purchased in 1871. At that time, the farm consisted of 270 acres, and Billings, an avid conservationist, followed the lead of former owner and fellow conversationalist George Perkins Marsh. He and farm manager George Aitken planted trees, selectively bred Jersey cows and established a reputation for outstanding farming and agricultural conservation methods.
I left the center, eager to start my self-guided tour. I grew up on a farm and I was looking forward to seeing the animals. In the nursery, immaculate brown Jersey calves watched me with brown eyes seemingly ribbed with black eyeliner. Petting the animals is prohibited, and it was very hard to refrain. I could have stayed there all day, but it was on to the cow barn, where equally clean Jersey cows peacefully chewed their cud.
There are several interesting exhibits in buildings along the way. I enjoyed seeing the old equipment and photographs that depicted life in the 1890's. Youíll also want to tour the restored 1890 Farmhouse.
At the Dairy Bar, I stopped and enjoyed a refreshing ice cream cone. They also offer frozen yogurt, milk, and other snacks, including a Farm Picnic of cheese, crackers and fruit.
I was pleased to see plenty of children touring the farm. The goal of the Billing Farm and Museum is to "reach significant numbers of Americans to convey an understanding and appreciation of the importance of dairy farming and rural life". What a wonderful way teach children (and adults) about farm life!
The Billings Farm & Museum is located on Route 12 & River Road in Woodstock.
For more information, call 802-457-2355 or visit here.
Open daily, May 1 through October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Weekends in November including Thanksgiving weekend, December weekends and December 26 - January 4 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Weekends in January and February, Sleigh Ride Weekends: Martin Luther King and Presidents' weekends, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.