trip report: vermont
For President's Day weekend this year, we were debating between somewhere warm (Vieques) or somewhere snowy (...all of the East coast). Since we had just been in Miami a few weeks earlier (both for work, actually), we figured we might as well see some snow that wasn't grey and covered in dog pee. Ah, Manhattan.
Mike is a big snowboarder and I enjoy hot chocolate, so we looked for New England spots that were accessible to (apres-) ski mountains. I have written above my love of Relais & Chateaux quite a few times before, so obviously I cross-referenced their properties when looking at possible destinations. We finally landed on Windham Hill Inn, which was just about 20 minutes from Stratton and, as far as R&C goes, very reasonable price-wise. Pictured above is the main house, which contains a few rooms plus the restaurant. We stayed in the barn annex, which was just next door. This being Relais, a three (!) course breakfast was included every morning and at night the space morphed into a white tablecloth restaurant that is open to everyone, not just hotel guests.
We drove up from New York on midday Friday, and as expected, hit a bananas amount of traffic. The silver lining was that we ended stopping in Manchester, VT for dinner, which is one of my favorite New England towns. After some furious restaurant Googling with Vermont-style (read: no) cell service, we found ourselves at Ponce Bistro. You guys: I present bruleed French baguette bread pudding.
The drive to Manchester from the city is worth it just for that. And look, I needed to carbo-load before my big day on the mountain.
Unfortunately -- or fortunately -- I have no photos of myself on skis. They gave me child-size boots to start, and, not really being Lindsey Vonn on the slopes, I didn't realize that losing feeling in my feet wasn't a necessary part of the sport. By the time I waited in line again and switched them out, I only made my way down the bunny slopes a few times, but I still consider it a success. Besides, it was literally 0 degrees.
And, I was much happier hanging out in our room.
We had our own fireplace, our own mini-library...
And the world's biggest window seat to watch the snow fall.
This is our barn. Note the size of the snow drifts!
While temperatures hovered on or below zero, I still convinced Mike that snowshoeing the trails on the property would be a grand old time. I'm not sure I convinced him entirely, but the scenery was beautiful.
Windham keeps a stock of snowshoes and poles for any intrepid hiker.
Do you see that form?! I am a natural.
Now, I am generally not one for temperatures below about 75, but even I can appreciate this. It was so quiet and very peaceful. Every once in awhile it is a very good thing to remind yourself that there is a great big world outside of Greenwich Village.
The staff at Windham is one of the friendliest I've ever encountered. From being greeted by name to the local chocolates on our pillow, they really thought of everything. One of the best parts was the itinerary sheet that they left on our pillow every night. Besides listing snow fall and weather conditions, they also included area activities that might be of interest. Hence, how we found ourselves at a professional ski-jumping competition in Brattleboro on Sunday morning.
It was very cold. Like, beer-freezing cold. But the brave souls who ventured out gathered around a bonfire and it was really pretty spectacular.
After we regained feeling in our limbs, there was only one thing to do. Eat cheese.
Grafton is available at a lot of grocery stores in New York, but nothing beats tasting cheese straight from the source. I was too giddy to take pictures inside/I think I passed out for a few minutes after I tried their aged cheddar.
It was a fantastic long weekend and I'd recommend a trip up there to anyone. Anyone else have Vermont suggestions?