Arts, Dining & Entertainment, Featured

Vermont’s national park celebrates NPS centennial year

Saturday, Aug. 27 at 10 a.m.—WOODSTOCK—It’s not every day that you turn 100. So, in honor of, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont is celebrating the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary with a party on Saturday, Aug. 27 from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. There will be great fanfare and fun for all ages to mark this special occasion.

The Billings and Rockefeller families frequently entertained friends and family on the estate, a tradition that continues this Centennial Week. Recreational activities include lawn games like bocce, croquet, badminton, golfing on the private putting green, tennis on the courts, or the 2016 Animal Olympics for kids. Bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the formal gardens while listening to live music.

For those with more historic interests, the soda fountain, bowling alley and 1960s-era fallout shelter will be open for short guided tours all day. The park curator will offer behind-the-scenes tours of the Mansion at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and rangers will lead a special program on the Billings women, exploring the waterfall garden and Bungalow at 1 p.m. Stroll through the first floor of the house at your own pace during our Mansion open house between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., with rangers on hand to answer questions about the families, furniture, and art.

Do you have a story you would like to share about this special place or your national park adventures? The park is setting up a story booth in the historic Belvedere building to collect reminiscences, from living and working on the estate to childhood memories of playing in the woods, from a romantic proposal on Mount Tom to a recent encounter with wildlife. Maybe your national park story is from your encounters at a national historic site or one of over 400 national parks in the country. If your history is part of the history of this park, or if national parks have played an important role in your life, we would love to hear from you.

While some paint the world through words, others capture the essence of experiences on canvas, and you can too as part of this year’s Centennial celebration. 2016 Artist-in-Residence Joan Hoffman will offer plein air (outdoor) painting demonstrations at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Special children’s watercolor workshops will be held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and interested youth can enroll their masterpieces in the Vermont Institute of Natural Science’s Plein Air Festival competition that will take place in September.

Hike in the woods with an NPS scientist. Snap a historic selfie with throwback photos, costumes, and props. Sample snacks from Woodstock Union High School students, who are fundraising for a trip to Senegal. Get ready for your next adventure with the help of representatives from local hiking and paddling organizations who will be on hand to share their passion and knowledge about the many outstanding outdoor destinations in the Upper Valley. Or just relax on the Mansion porch and think about what our national parks might look like in another 100 years.

For more information,visit the website at, or call 802-457-3368, extension 222.

By John Gilbert Fox
Visitors to a former open house at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park paint at an arts and crafts table.

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