By Yankee Magazine
Apr 11 2019
With a name derived from its location on the Ottauquechee River, this scenic town just down the road from Woodstock is known for its massive gorge, beautiful outdoor spaces, many shopping opportunities (including the Simon Pearce flagship store), and classic Vermont eateries, making it a must-visit during the summer months.
Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a summer weekend in Quechee, Vermont. For even more travel inspiration, check out episode 3 in season 3 of Weekends with Yankee, in which we head to Quechee to tour the famous glassblowing studio at Simon Pearce.
For high-quality glass products, including dishes, tableware, and decor, take time to visit the namesake flagship store of world-famous artisan Simon Pearce. You can even watch the glassblowing as it happens in the on-site studio.
Carved by a retreating glacier nearly 13,000 years ago, the 165-foot-deep Quechee Gorge is the deepest gorge in Vermont and a spectacular sight to see. Located along the gorge are picnic areas, hiking trails, and a campsite.
You won’t find a more quintessentially Vermont shopping experience than at the Vermont Antique Mall, a 17,000-square-foot barn with 450 booths of antique, vintage, and collectible treasures. Let the treasure hunt begin!
Quechee is known for its annual summertime hot air balloon festival, which features live music, kids’ activities, crafts and food vendors, and, of course, plenty of balloon rides. But if you can’t make it to the festival, Quechee Balloon Rides provides hot air balloon adventures throughout the summer months (weather permitting) — which might just be the best way to see the local scenery, historical landmarks, covered bridges, farms, and the Quechee Gorge.
On the 47-acre campus of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS), there are state-of-the-art raptor enclosures (a must-see), nature trails, and a range of exhibits and educational programming. Plus, VINS is home to a wild bird rehabilitation program that treats some 400 injured or orphaned birds from Vermont and New Hampshire each year, and guests are invited to see the rehab in action.
This Victorian-style inn with eight individually decorated rooms has a choice location on Quechee Main Street, overlooking the Ottauquechee River. The Parker House boasts its own fine dining restaurant, and its guests get free access to the nearby Quechee Club, which has a golf course, tennis courts, and pools.
Built in 1793 as the home of Vermont’s first lieutenant governor, this inn listed on the National Register of Historic Places is a blend of historical charm and modern conveniences. There are 22 guest rooms and three suites, while amenities include a common room bar and a fine dining restaurant.
This pet- and family-friendly 1800s inn backs up to the Quechee Gorge, offering spectacular views of the Vermont hillsides. Its seven acres of land are accented with perennial gardens, a koi pond, and stone walls, and the five guest rooms include an enchanting cottage outfitted with exposed antique beams.
Before spending a few hours exploring the Quechee Gorge, fuel up at Dana’s, which serves hearty breakfasts (multigrain pancakes, omelets, breakfast burritos, etc.) and classic lunch fare (soups, salads, sandwiches), plus sundaes and other sweet treats.
If you’re in the mood for tasty pub food, a wide beer selection, and a friendly setting enlivened by music and events, the Public House is the place to go. For breakfast, check out the Public House Diner next door.
Locals swear by chef-owner BradPirkey’s food, which is cooked to order from an ever-changing menu that can run the gamut from filet mignon to Asian barbecue pulled pork. And since Chef Brad’s CrazySide features a kitchen situated in a vintage yellow camper next to a wildly painted old schoolbus, you literally can’t miss it.
The setting of the main dining room, overlooking the falls and Quechee Gorge, is simply unbeatable — and the New American fare here is just as impressive (think lamb shoulder roasted in hay, or maple-brined pork chop). The bar serves apps, shared plates, and other nibbles alongside local beers and handcrafted cocktails.
This relaxed eatery in the Parker House Inn offers modern New England dishes created with seasonal ingredients from the kitchen’s own garden as well as nearby farms. In the summer months, dine alfresco on the patio or the veranda overlooking the Ottauquechee River.