VT Travel Guide
Skiing is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Stowe, Vermont. (And quite possibly Anywhere, Vermont.) But non-New Englanders might not realize it’s quite the summer resort too. There are towering Green Mountain views, and it’s only 45 minutes away from big, blue Lake Champlain.
And bringing a little extra bump and grind to the pastoral land of bed and breakfasts is Topnotch Resort and Spa, which reopened last summer after a major renovation that turned it into a sleek, almost citified destination that appeals to well-heeled thirty-something crowds that want craft beer scenes and tiered patio pools, not crocheted couch slipcovers. And this season they’ve upped the ante with “Topnotch Summer,” a so-dubbed series of pulse-quickening programs.
Bike maintenance stations get your Huffy purring.
Introducing: a biker bar where you’re more likely to wear Birkenstocks than leather boots.
Vermont visitors will find that the 258-room Hilton Burlington has rolled out a new lobby restaurant, The Mounted Cat, which is sure to gain traction with local cyclists. That’s because it’s located adjacent to the Burlington bike path, and boasts two “maintenance stations” offering free help to bikers in need: a handful of common tools for tune-ups, plus an air station. There’s also covered bike parking and complimentary water bottle fill-ups. Suddenly, “ride-sharing” has a whole new meaning. (Cue: “aw!” chorus and schmaltzy Full House music.)
But bikers may want to spend more time at The Mounted Cat than just the few minutes needed to tighten that doohickey or adjust the thingamajig. (We are very serious bikers here at HotelChatter, guys.) The curiously named restaurant evokes a modern farmhouse – you know, the kind where “reclaimed wooden planks” and “bar tops with tablet docking stations” coexist in peaceful harmony.
An amenities-filled "Bedtime Menu" and "we sell everything!" approach to room decor is cute, clever, and only slightly bad for the bank account.
Finally, a hotel that insomniacs and kleptomaniacs can agree on! (This’ll show that marriage counselor!) Welcome to Hotel Vermont, a rustic-chic destination (opened just last year) that brings urbane gloss to the cobblestone streets of quaint Burlington, Vermont. (Things it also brings: acclaimed dining at the six-time James Beard award nominated restaurant Hen of the Wood.)
The 125 contemporary guest rooms are perfect for city slicker couples who want the fresh air and relaxation of a northern New England retreat, minus all the lace and doilies and crumpets associated with your average Green Mountain State B&B. They’re also perfect for those who can’t help themselves from filling their suitcase with “souvenirs” of a getaway. But instead of resorting to hording sample-sized shampoo bottles (you desperate keepsake cat burglar), guests can take home not just the soap – but also the handmade soap dishes.
Oh, and the Johnson Woolen Mills flannel blankets, the alarm clock, the Tivoli radio, the felt flowers and vase, the water glasses and carafe… need we continue? “Almost everything is for sale!” explains an in-room price list, which points out all the accommodation accouterments that will simply be charged to your tab if they go “missing.”
They should, because basically everything is also hand-made by local New England artisans. This is good Vermont-y swag.
Send your kid to camp, return with diminutive Rachael Ray that cooks for you for once.
One minute, your seven-year old daughter is cooing innocuous pop songs into her hairbrush. The next, she’s twerking in the schoolyard and taking duckface selfies. Thanks a lot, Miley Cyrus. Are there no TV stars our children can safely treat as role models anymore?
Luckily, the era of food TV has elevated a pantheon of comparatively wholesome celebrity chefs to “rock star” status — something that The Essex, a “culinary resort and spa” located just outside Burlington, Vermont, has clearly noted. The result: Camp Cook, a series of weeklong immersions in the food world for the budding Bobby Flay in your family.
Package rates start at $1,295 per room for a five-night escape that lets you send your kid to daily from 9am to 4pm to activities that include gathering eggs from a chicken coop and harvesting herbs and veggies from the resort’s gardens, learning about basic kitchen skills and local farming, practicing everything from basic kitchen skills to sushi making, and even cooking dinner for a local community service program.
Meanwhile, mom and/or dad kicks back with discounted spa services or, if you feel like joining in the fun, enrolling in classes (from “Italian Basics” to “Mad About Maple!”) offered a la carte daily through the resort’s Cook Academy.
Last week we gave you the lowdown on Valentine's Day deals that we'd actually book. This week, it's time to show you the strange, outrageous and plain cray-cray packages that are out there.
Tucked inside a friendly looking, sunny-yellow house, the Woodstocker Inn looks like an unlikely place for some naughty Valentine's Day ruckus. But the small Vermont inn is asking all the freaks in the sheets to come out for its Duvets and Dildos package.
Historical Hotels / Fall Hotels / Fall Foliage Hotels / Vermont Hotels / Bed and Breakfasts / Montpelier Hotels / → All Tags
As one of friends said to us when we pulled up at the vintage Inn at Montpelier on Main Street, "Montpelier's got charm coming out of its butt." Never were truer words spoken. The charm that oozes from Montpelier is especially apparent during autumn, its top tourist season, when leaf peepers from around the world descend on the state to pretty much watch grass grow, or rather, leaves die.
Said friend is a native of Montpelier, and according to him, The Inn is the place to stay as a base for forays into the foliage. Maybe it's the expansive front porch or maybe it's the fiery red trees already around the property, but we get why it's so popular. Hint: it's both. The main house and its ten fireplaces were built early in the 1800s and it remains independently owned.
Hotel Amenities / Hotel Services / Doughnuts / Luxury Collection Hotels / Vermont Hotels / → All Tags
Time to make the donuts...
It's a fact. Doughnuts are the new cupcakes and it was only a matter of time before hotels began incorporating the yummy fried dough into their menus.
At The Equinox Resort & Spa in Manchester Village, Vermont, you can rest assured that their doughnuts are the freshest they can be as the hotel has its very own doughnut machine. And Chef Jeffrey Russell put the machine to good use immediately, concocting Vermont apple cider doughnuts which he's been giving out to guests.
We’ve always heard wonderful things about Vermont’s loveliness in the spring, summer and fall, but anytime anyone said "Vermont" and "Winter" in the same sentence, we covered up our ears. Not all of us love
shaving ice er...skiing and many of us refuse to vacation somewhere below 40 degrees.
But if there’s anything to sway us up to Vermont for a weekend, it’s a cozy-looking, colonial inn promising a third-night free.
Of course, said inn would have to have some crazy appealing amenities to make us pack snowboots and parkas and trip it up to Vermont at this time of the year. Fortunately, The Pitcher Inn delivers on that with its in-room Jacuzzi tubs, heated floors and wood-burning fireplaces.
And right now, they are offering guests who pay for two nights, a third night free. The $850 price tag includes three night’s of accommodations, full breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner (though the dining room is closed on Tuesdays). Not bad, considering this is a Relais & Chateaux property.
The offer is good through December 18, so if anyone wants to expose themselves to Vermont’s winter elements, you better get crackin’.
But those rolling green hills won't stay that way for long. According to the Vermont Vacation's Foliage Report, the wet weather New England has been having will translate to a spectacular palette of autumn hues.
This website's pretty cool, too - they even tell you what regions of the state are most likely to have available lodging. (Hint: The weekend of October 10-12 is nearly a statewide blackout of rooms.)
So where to spend some time leaf-gazing? Ironically, a good stop is at Mount Snow, at the sprawling Grand Summit Hotel. Predominantly known for skiing, it's got all the seasonal benefits of slope life without the snow plows -- outdoor pool, sauna, hot tubs...
When you get tired of all that natural beauty, there are nearby wineries, mountain biking, working farm and dairies...not to mention a local Oktoberfest right at the mountain base, October 11 & 12. Room rates for a room with two queen beds start at $138 a night.
During today's lesson you may get a bit choked up, find your body temperature rising and a shiver shooting down your spine. If you haven't guessed already, we're talking about Legionnaires disease, symptoms of which include coughing, high fever and chills.
Similar to pneumonia, Legionnaires was first identified in 1976 and got its name after a spate of guests at what is now the Park Hyatt Philadelphia--who happened to be attending an American Legion convention--contracted the disease. It was later discovered the bacteria spawned from the hotel's cooling tower.
Why should you care? Because Vermont's Cortina Inn & Resort was closed yesterday after water tests showed evidence of the bacteria, confirming it as a source of recent cases. It is not yet known when the hotel will reopen, thereby squashing any hopes hotel guests may have had of catching the last ski runs of the season.
Hotels without climate control systems are known breeding grounds for the disease, but lest you think quaint country inns like the Cortina are only susceptible (we're unawares if the hotel has climate control), the last reported outbreak of Legionnaires occurred as recently as last month, at a Quality Inn in Orlando.
Perhaps climate control could be the hot new amenity hotels can start touting?
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
This sounds like a perfect weekend getaway: heading up into the Green Mountain National Forest, near Romance Mountain, to a place with "the luxury of open lands, spectacular panoramic views, privacy, fresh air, freedom from noise and a less hurried pace". And that's exactly how it looks if you see this killer view from the Blueberry Hill Inn in Goshen, Vermont.
The inn has four original rooms in the upstairs of the main building, all quaintly decorated to give you the charm of a time past. There are also three rooms off the Conservatory with lofts, a cottage and four pond-side rooms, each with slightly different features--choose the room that suits you best.
Double rooms start at $130 per person, while a single is just $160 for the room; prices are higher on weekends, holidays and during the foliage season. And you can run around on this great lawn free of charge.
Looks like the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel isn't the only hotel on our Best U.S. Green Hotels list to offer green educational items. A tipster dropped this tidbit into our inboxes about the Woodstocker Inn which we labeled as a Best East Coast Green Hotel.
The Woodstocker Inn located in Woodstock Vermont, encourages all guests to view the DVD of Who Killed the Electric Car? rather than one of their action packed feature movies.
The Inn had their attention brought to this enlightening film by a guest who stayed with them. Her partner had worked on the film and kindly sent them a complimentary copy. Now the DVD is placed in all bedrooms for guests to view.
Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth will be offered soon to compliment it.
Way to go, Woodstocker. Who knew Al Gore and the electric car would become hotel sensations?
And just FYI, when we stayed at the Orchard Garden Hotel in San Francisco, we didn't look too hard at the DVD offerings but we did see a copy of an eco-magazine. But we're guessing this and other Green Hotels better step up.