Wassail Weekend in Vermont

December 30, 2012  •  1 Comment

Posted by Cindy A Stephens


Main streets and back roads of Woodstock, Vermont


“What’s a Wassail weekend,” my family asked?  I had just announced that I had made plans to spend my birthday weekend in Woodstock, Vermont for the annual Wassail Weekend.


Clearly my family did not share my unbridled enthusiasm for driving two hours to Vermont in December.  I’d change that.


“What’s Wassail Weekend?”  Wassail Weekend is one of the top 10 holiday things to do, I practically shouted.  “It will be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of finding the perfect gifts and mailing Christmas cards.”


And with that, and some pleading, they were resigned to humor me on my birthday weekend.


Wassail Weekend, Woodstock Vermont

Copyright 2012, Cindy A Stephens


All kidding aside, when I think of the main streets and back roads in our communities, one of the things I am reminded of are small town celebrations that bring neighbors and visitors together.  Like Fourth of July parades, local festivals and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.


Woodstock held their 28th annual Woodstock Wassail Horse and Carriage Parade on December 8th.  It was a festive parade of horses and riders dressed in traditional Christmas costumes from the 19th century.


I can’t imagine a more quintessential Vermont experience than this Wassail Parade, steps from a covered bridge bright with Christmas lights, and a warm bonfire on the Green whose pathways will be lit by hundreds of luminaries. 


Only the classic White Christmas movie of 1954 (one of my favorite holiday movies) could muster more of the traditional Christmas feeling.  It felt great to be away from hectic mall shopping and the trappings of a modern-day holiday.


We went in search of hot mulled cider after the parade to warm cold feet (theirs) and hands (mine, from shooting).


Wassail Weekend, Woodstock Vermont

Copyright 2012, Cindy A Stephens

Farms and Food

The main streets of Vermont also conjure images of local craft fairs, quaint inns, artisan-quality gifts, general stores, and local produce.  Woodstock does not disappoint in this. 


Strolling the main streets I had the feeling that life in Woodstock is more connected to the “here and now” than the high-tech hustle and bustle in neighboring Massachusetts.


On my list of “must do’s” for the weekend was a visit to the Billings Farm and Museum.  It operates in partnership with the Marsh-Billings-Rockerfeller National Historical Park.  It was delightful. 


Wassail Weekend, Woodstock Vermont

Copyright 2012, Cindy A Stephens


Imagine the sight of walking into the nursery and seeing a calf born just hours earlier, at 7:30 that morning!  Or, smelling squash pies baking on a wood stove in the Farm House that is decorated for Christmas.  


Wassail Weekend was a success from the warm hospitality we experienced at the Blue Horse Inn, to a superb dinner at the Prince & Pauper, to beautiful main streets adorned by parades and parade watchers.


Until the next journey to main streets and back roads… - Cindy


Larry B.(non-registered)
Love the blog and (especially) the photos. They are so multi-layered and truly evocative... I almost feel the chill on my own face. Beautiful work, as always. And how great to have developed such a distinctive eye/approach in a world full of same-old images. You got it *all* going on. Fantastic! Happy New Year to you!
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I am a marketing professional and a fine art photographer.  With more than 20 years of experience as a marketer and image maker during the digital technology revolution, I now educate creative professionals how to create their artistic presence in the changing art world.  


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