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Country Store Cheese

From The Blog Best of: Country Stores

There’s life in old buildings. They’ve withstood floods, wars, blizzards, the ravages of time, and that’s a past that cannot be recreated. Their walls, floors, and ceilings were hand-crafted, the details etched into their DNA. You can tell the path most traveled from one aisle to another; the floors are worn and sagging where decades-worth of foot-traffic has passed. That is what sets country stores apart from any grocery or convenience store. Its one of many the reasons that locals and tourists gather there to meet new people, talk, and catch up on the goings-on in small-town Vermont. Because it feels like home as much as history.

That’s why we’ve rounded up the best country stores in Woodstock and beyond. Read on for a can’t-miss list of destinations you can’t find anywhere but beautiful Vermont…

Country Store Locations
Teago General Store
Katie Berdan

Teago General Store

Settled in a rolling, flower-laden valley straight out of Little House on the Prairie, perched a few feet above the flow of Pomfret Brook, is Teago General Store. Two roads wind their way around the old structure, making it feel like the center of something. And it is. Not just because it’s only a few paces from ArtisTree Community Arts Center, or that you can see the trails of Suicide Six Ski Area from the front porch, or that it’s a popular pit-stop for those traveling the AT.

    Teago is the heart of South Pomfret; a meetinghouse where locals can catch up while they shop for milk, eggs, and sandwiches hot off the grill. They come as much for household essentials – from cleaning supplies to brownie mixes – as the conversation. Step inside the threshold and you’re greeted with a smile. As the door slams shut, you’ll hear calls of welcome and inquiries about the day’s events. Everyone knows everyone and you’re not so much a customer as a friend. So when the property was sold in 2017 – changing hands for the first time in 30 years – some locals were concerned. But the new owner, Kathleen Dolan, the Founder and Executive Director of ArtisTree, has honored the store’s critical role in the community and left it mostly unchanged. While the prepared food offerings are expanding, physically, the store is much the same. And the locals like it that way. It’s their last link to the history of small, rural town living – and one that they’ve relied on for years.

    When you visit Teago, you’ll feel that history as look up at the old tin ceilings and cross the wide, creaking plank boards that have been there since the early 29th century. That alone is worth a visit – the ridiculously delicious sandwiches are just a bonus.

      Front Counter at Teago General Store
      Katie Berdan

      Location: 2035 Pomfret Rd, South Pomfret, VT 05067

      Hours: 7 AM – 6 PM Monday through Saturday, 8 AM – 4 PM Sundays and holidays (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas)

      Nearby Attractions:

      Offerings:

      • Hot sandwiches, hot dogs, and other prepared meals
      • Deli meats
      • Baked goods
      • Fresh produce
      • Eggs, milk, cheese
      • Wine
      • Snacks and candy
      • Dry and canned goods
      • Small souvenirs
      Wine at Teago General Store
      Katie Berdan
      Barnard General Store
      Katie Berdan

      Barnard General Store

      Like Teago, the Barnard General Store is a lifeline for locals. And it shows. If it hadn’t been for the devotion of its small-town residents at the start of the twenty-tens, the Barnard General Store wouldn’t exist today. Established in 1832, the store weathered the Civil War, the boom and bust of 1920s and 30s – and beyond. But when Hurricane Irene and a snowless winter hit, the Barnard General Store couldn’t recover. Fortunately, the community-backed effort to “restore the store” brought it from the brink of permanent closure, ensuring the epicenter of downtown Barnard continues to thrive.

      It’s no wonder this building is so important to so many. The sleepy downtown consists of the school, the town clerk, a few churches and inns, and the general store. With bay windows facing west to catch the sunset and a wraparound porch overlooking Silver Lake, it’s a piece of unspoiled Vermont beauty—one that provides the hot meals, grocery essentials, newspapers, and meeting place for locals who can’t make the long drive to a grocery store. And as much as the world around it has changed, locals and tourists alike appreciate that the Barnard General Store has stayed the same. Where else can you find worn wooden floors that whisper under your feet or aged newspaper clippings featuring a photo of the store that looks the same as it does today? They’re hallmarks of general stores throughout the state, a dwindling number in a dying breed that’s well worth preserving.

        Barnard General Store Ice Cream Counter
        Katie Berdan

        Location: 6231 VT-12, Barnard, VT 05031

        Hours: 7 AM – 8 PM Monday through Saturday, 7 AM – 8 PM Sundays

        Nearby Attractions:

        Offerings:

        • Hot and cold sandwiches, salads, hot dogs
        • Ice cream and milkshake bar
        • Baked goods
        • Eggs, milk, cheese
        • Snacks and candy
        • Wine
        • Dry and canned goods
        • Small souvenirs
        Barnard General Store Historic Photos
        Katie Berdan
        Gillingham's Country Store
        Katie Berdan

        F.H. Gillingham & Sons general Store

        When you cross under the forest-green awning and take your first step into F.H. Gillingham & Sons General Store, you’ll be struck as much by the old-world feel as its impressive lineup of penny candy and hand-picked grocery items. But there’s much more to this store than meets the eye.

        That is, until you move to the end of an aisle and realize there’s another room, then another, then another. After you’ve navigated the maze– including a freezer-lined hall of artisan pizzas and local ice creams, and rooms full of souvenirs, toys, clothes, and even hunting gear, you’ll just begin to appreciate everything this unique country store has to offer. Because it is unique. In fact, Gillingham’s differs from its peers in two striking ways:

        1. Tucked between Clover Gift Shop and The Village Butcher on Woodstock’s bustling Elm Street, this store is more town than country
        2. Its ventured into the realm of digital retail with a catalog of products available for online purchase – an act nearly unheard of in the brick and mortar world of country stores – with Vermont maple syrup, Billings Farm Cheese, branded mugs, cookie and candy collections, and more

        But there’s no question this wildcard earned its place on our list with its nearly 150-year history, trademark-worthy creaky wooden floors, and its role as a lifeline to the town’s past. Owned by the same family, at the same address, with the same ambience since 1886, this country store has small-town charm and character in spades, making it a must-see destination for tourists and locals alike.

          Gillingham's Country Store Inside
          Katie Berdan

          Location: 16 Elm St, Woodstock, VT 05091

          Hours: 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM Monday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM Sundays

          Nearby Attractions:

          Offerings:

          • Comprehensive grocery options
          • Baked goods
          • Fresh produce
          • Eggs, milk, cheese
          • Wine and beer
          • Candy
          • Handcrafted souvenirs
          • Clothes and shoes
          • Toys and games
          • Outdoor gear
          • Furniture
          South Woodstock Country Store
          Katie Berdan

          South Woodstock Country Store

          If you take South Street from Woodstock’s village center, following the serpentine path of Kedron Brook over gradually sloping hills and through a thicket of trees and historic homes, you can’t miss the South Woodstock Country Store. When the brook takes a sharp left turn, the road follows, but what lies dead ahead is the stately brick façade of the Kedron Valley Inn – and to its left, is the South Woodstock Country Store. Both properties were purchased by the same family in 2017, in addition to Kedron Valley Farm and the former Grange Hall, and it’s easy to see why. The spot is a piece of paradise: one that the current owners have loved all their lives.

            South Woodstock Country Store Shelves
            Katie Berdan

            You can feel that love and respect for the properties’ nearly 200-year history as you walk across the store’s threshold. It’s pure Vermont… with modern touches younger residents and outsiders appreciate. The space is rustic, with hand-hewn beams running its length and the creaky plank floors that are basically a general store requirement. The built-in cabinets feature picture-perfect snacks and souvenirs against their antique beadboard backs. But customers are just as likely to come for the treats as they are the free WiFi, a benefit few peers can boast. Food and drink offerings are vast – and make sure to include the allergen-free options necessary for the younger set.

            In essence, this country store strikes an impressive balance of old and new. And yet, it’s more than that. The kitchen is wide open– inviting customers to sink into an armchair and watch as their hot meals are prepped. An impressive display of stainless-steel coffee dispensers and baked goods on pristine ceramic trays belies the dedication and attention-to-detail that keep the South Woodstock Country Store running. It’s a welcoming place that feels like a better version of home – and it’s no wonder both residence and tourists are drawn to this slice of idyllic Vermont life.

              South Woodstock Country Store Kitchen
              Katie Berdan

              Location: 4800 S Rd, South Woodstock, VT 05071

              Hours: 6:30 AM – 6 PM Monday through Saturday, 6:30 AM – 4 PM Sundays

              Nearby Attractions:

              Offerings:

              • Free high-speed WiFi access
              • Salads, hot sandwiches, and other prepared meals
              • Baked goods
              • Fresh produce
              • Eggs, milk, cheese
              • Wine
              • Snacks and candy
              • Jarred goods
              • Small souvenirs
              South Woodstock Country Store Seating
              Katie Berdan
              Taftsville Country Store
              Katie Berdan

              Taftsville Country Store

              Set atop a rise off Route 4 overlooking the Taftsville Covered Bridge – one of the oldest of its kind in the US – is the Taftsville Country Store, a destination thanks to a mix of its convenience, reputation, and proximity to a quintessential Vermont photo-op. But what few realize is that this country store has a history nearly as long as the covered bridge itself. Established in 1840, four years after the bridge was constructed, the building wears its age well, with perfectly preserved tin ceilings and wooden floors, along with an ambience that is pure country warmth.

              Part of that warmth comes from the owners themselves. “We’re only closed two days a year,” Courtney Brooks said from across the checkout counter, a smile on her face. The statement was an invitation – to get to know the shop, the locals its wares: from fresh fish, to Green Rabbit baked goods, to souvenirs – without a hint of complaint, something genuinely refreshing considering the punishing schedule of country store owners.

              Taftsville Country Store Counter
              Katie Berdan

              Its clear the Brooks family has gone all-in, and not just because of the schedule or that their living quarters are above the shop (in classic country store fashion). It’s clear that each product was hand-selected to meet the needs of the store’s various customers. There’s something for everyone at the Taftsville Country Store:

              • For the local looking to get the day’s errands done in one fell swoop, there’s the post office set at the back of the store, refrigerators with local milk, eggs, and excellent cheeses, and even a laundry service
              • For the harried parent, there’s a collection of toys and games to entertain any child
              • For the last-minute gift shopper, there’s an array of Vermont-approved souvenirs like maple syrup, postcards, and sweatshirts
              • For the tourist looking for a pit-stop on the way to Woodstock or Killington, there’s a host of snacks and hotel-friendly treats

              So stop by for a cup of coffee or a moment to chat. You won’t regret it.

              Taftsville Country Store Wine
              Katie Berdan

              Location: 404 Woodstock Rd, Woodstock, VT 05091

              Hours: 9 AM – 5:30 PM Monday through Thursday, 8 AM – 6 PM Friday and Saturday, 8 AM – 5 PM Sundays

              Nearby Attractions:

              Offerings:

              • Eggs, milk, cheese
              • Fresh fish
              • Wine and beer
              • Baked goods
              • Dried and canned goods
              • Small souvenirs
              • Toys
              • Laundry service
              • Post office
              • Firewood

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