One could argue that George Perkins Marsh became the world’s first environmentalist with the publication of his book Man and Nature in 1864. The sole National Park Service (NPS) site in the state of Vermont is dedicated to his property (see below for the state’s America the Beautiful coin). Later owners, Frederick Billings and the Rockefeller family followed through on Marsh’s conservation principles in their management of the farm and forest. Laurence and Mary Rockefeller donated the estate to the U.S. government in 1992 and the park opened to the public in 1998.
Museum/film in the Carriage Barn Visitor Center, Mansion Tour, Garden Tour, trails
Visitors have to pay for NPS guided tours of the mansion and its original artwork (including paintings by Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt). There is also an entrance fee at the neighboring Billings Farm and Museum which is run by the non-profit Woodstock Foundation and provides a more hands-on experience that is great for kids, especially after a “do not touch” tour of the mansion.
Frederick Billings bought this family farm to practice the reforestation preached in George Perkins Marsh’s book. There are 20 miles of trails through the forest around Mount Tom that open year round (though a ski trail pass is required in winter).
Be sure to take a walk through the well-manicured gardens on the property before or after your tour.
Free to walk the trails, while the wide variety of tours cost extra (discounted with an America the Beautiful pass). The adjacent Billings Farm is privately managed and charges a separate entry fee.
All roads paved
Silver Lake State Park has campsites with running water.
Explore More – What are some other National Park Service units donated by the Rockefeller family?
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