Over the River and Through
the Woods – It’s Thanksgiving Time in Vermont
This year let someone else to the basting and baking, giblets and gravy and sauces and stuffing. It’s time to relax and appreciate what you have. Time to make new traditions as you reflect on ones past. Come along and celebrate the beauty and the bounty of this harvest holiday with good friends, great food and lots of laughter. Welcome to a Vermont Country Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
4 Days/3 Nights
Saturday, November 27, 2021
DAY 1 - Wednesday, November 24:
Your Thanksgiving holiday begins when you arrive late afternoon at the historic Norwich Inn, your home for three nights. The Inn was built by Colonial Jasper Murdock in 1797 and served as a stagecoach tavern and hostelry for generations of New England travelers. The Norwich Inn was the first tavern in Vermont to entertain a Chief Executive of the United States. On July 22, 1817, President James Monroe visited the hotel, and while here, he addressed the townspeople of Norwich and “partook of a dinner, prepared…in handsome style.”
A devastating fire in December 1889 destroyed the hotel, the Union Hall and several neighboring structures. The Innkeeper, Dr. W.S. Bowles, rebuilt in 1890 on the foundation of the original structure. In 1920, Dr. Bowles sold this historic Vermont Inn to Charles and Mary Walker, who again named it the Norwich Inn.
Though Prohibition had just begun, townsfolk fondly recount that Mary, known as “Ma” Walker, quietly carried on the Norwich Inn’s tradition as a tavern by selling bootleg from the basement. The hotel register from the period, on display in the parlor, has several cartoon drawings of Dartmouth students with frothy mugs held high. Theodor Seuss Geisel, “Dr. Seuss,” Dartmouth ’25, was a frequent patron of the Inn.
The Inn was purchased in 2006 by Joe and Jill Lavin, who have continued in the tradition of ongoing improvement of the Inn as it evolves through the 21st Century. Major enhancements include adding the Walker House and Ivy Lodge buildings, the location of your guest rooms. The rooms are beautifully appointed, and all have fireplaces, assuring guests of a cozy stay.
In one regard, little has changed throughout its long history. This Norwich hotel and historical Vermont Inn has maintained a tradition of warm hospitality, fine food and a well-stocked cellar.
Once you have checked into your rooms and had time to refresh, gather in the living room at the Inn for a Welcome Reception. Then, join together on the Terrace for an included dinner.
DAY 2 - Thursday, November 25, Happy Thanksgiving!
Start your day with a relaxing, hearty breakfast buffet served at the Inn’s dining room. A local guide will join you after breakfast and lead you on a fascinating walking tour of Norwich.
During your tour, in addition to viewing some of the buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you will learn of Norwich’s rich history. The boundaries of Norwich were established on July 4, 1761, when Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire defined the boundaries of townships in Vermont. The first settlers reached the area in 1763 and began to clear the wilderness and erect the first hand-hewn log buildings, wintering over for the first time in 1765.
In 1819 native son, Alden Partridge, a former Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, founded the private "American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy" in Norwich. He hoped to establish a new "American system" for training cadets that included both humanities and science topics in the curriculum, in addition to military science.
In his six years of Norwich residency, Partridge achieved an academy population of nearly 500 "cadets." He moved that school back to Middletown, Connecticut, in 1825, but returned in 1835 with a charter from the U.S. Congress to found another military academy, which remained in Norwich until 1866, when it burned to the ground. The school then relocated to Northfield, Vermont, where it exists today as Norwich University.
After the tour, return to the Inn for an afternoon to relax and enjoy the holiday. Gather in the Tavern and watch the Macy’s Parade, check out the “best of the breeds” during “The National Dog Show” or cheer for your favorite football team.
Gather in the Inn’s cozy living room and play a board game, cards or work on your current craft project. Enjoy some light appetizers to tide you over until dinner.
About 5:00 pm, it’s time to come together in the Terrace Room for Thanksgiving Dinner.
Raise a glass and toast your new friends and all of the many reasons you have to be thankful!
DAY 3 - Friday, November 26:
Rise and shine to a bountiful buffet breakfast served in the Inn’s dining room. Let the aromas of bacon, pancakes and freshly brewed coffee lead the way!
Board the coach and depart the Inn about 9:30 am. Today’s outing offers opportunities to pique your senses, enhance your appreciation of the holidays in Colonial times and to sate your yearn for Black Friday Shopping.
Your first stop is at VINS, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Upon your 10:00 am arrival, head out on the new Forest Canopy Walk where you are certain to elevate your perspective. Designed for all levels of ability to enjoy, the Walk offers every generation a new perspective and way to experience the beauty of the landscape.
It provides an opportunity to move from forest floor to treetops without a climb. The Walk can be reached by a combination of ground-level trails and an ADA-accessible boardwalk. Three special features and five Interpretation Nodes are built into the Walk.
After your walk, gather in the heated and enclosed pavilion for a bird-in-glove experience. VINS includes 17 raptor exhibits that house hawks, eagles, vultures, falcons, owls and ravens. One role VINS takes on is to bring birds back to health and release them back to the wild. These presentations will connect you to the masters of the sky while you learn about their amazing adaptations and the critical role they play in our environment.
Once you have “earned your wings,” board the coach and travel into Woodstock, “the prettiest small town in America.” Walk among the opulent mid-19th century homes and structures built around the Village Green and along broad streets. The stately Woodstock Inn, owned by the Rockefeller family, presides over the Village Green. There will be time to explore the small shops and galleries and to have lunch on your own. Before you depart, gather for a group photo by the covered bridge located right on the Village Green.
Depart Woodstock mid afternoon and travel to the nearby Billings Farm and Museum. Here, you will explore one of the finest operating dairy farms in America and a museum of Vermont's rural past — your gateway to Vermont's rural heritage. Billings Farm features many aspects of farm work. Get to know the Jerseys, sheep, horses, oxen and chickens. The authentically restored 1890 Farm House, the center of the farm and forestry operation a century ago, features the farm manager's office, family living quarters and creamery, where 5,000 pounds of butter were produced annually. Witness the display of harvest decorations that adorn the farmhouse in traditional style. Your visit includes a horse-drawn sleigh or hayride and a hands-on pie crust making session. In the farm kitchen, you will witness a demonstration of preparing and cooking traditional holiday fare, as you sip a cup of cider.
Depart Billings Farm and travel back to the Inn, where you will arrive about 4:30 pm. There will be time to relax by the fireplace or to sip a warm beverage in the Tavern.
Board the coach and travel just across the border to your dinner destination in the town of Hanover, New Hampshire. This locally-owned and operated log-cabin-style restaurant oozes with charm and hospitality. The managing chef has a contagious passion for all things food! Locally sourced ingredients served with flare are certain to please the most discriminating palate!
DAY 4 - Saturday, November 27:
Check out of the Inn after breakfast. Before you depart for home, you simply must stop at King Arthur Flour, America’s oldest flour company, founded in Boston in 1790. More than 220 years later, the company is the nation’s premier baking resource. Your visit at the flagship campus features the new retail store and an opportunity to watch the bakers at work in the state-of-the art bakery. The store offers thousands of ingredients, tools and pans. This is a great opportunity to pick up some treats to enjoy on the way home or to purchase some unique gifts for the cooks on your list.
Depart Norwich by 9:30 am and begin your travels home. Along the way, each traveler will receive a souvenir gift to remember their Thanksgiving in Vermont.
Your package includes:
3 Nights accommodation
Hors d’oeuvre-style lunch
Guided history tour of Norwich
Admission to VINS including the Forest Canopy Walk and Rapture Presentation
Time at leisure in Woodstock
Admission to Billings Farm with Sleigh or Hay Ride and Cooking Demos
Visit to King Arthur Flour
Baggage service for one piece of luggage per traveler
Accommodations, admissions, group meals and baggage service for the coach driver
Taxes and gratuities (Note: gratuities for the coach driver and local guide are not included and are at your discretion based on service.)
The following NET prices are based on 25 paid travelers and with 25 paid travelers, include one complimentary package based on single occupancy. Fewer than 25 paid travelers may result in a price increase and/or elimination of complimentary package. Prices and itinerary are subject to change.