I have been going to Vermont for years, often staying in inns in small villages or the countryside. Mostly, I go there in December get an early entry to winter as I did again this year. But there is still plenty of winter left up there for you. I have also gone some in the summer when the rates are actually lower for most places. I have a good friend who has also made many trips there. In this post I will list my three favorites and three from my friend. I have stayed in others but these are the ones I am mostly likely to go back to. Five of these are in southeastern Vermont and one is further north on the east side. The first three are from my friend and the last three are my picks. All the sites have great pictures. Take a look.
The Hermitage – West Dover. This inn has a great setting in the countryside on top of a hill outside West Dover and Wilmington. It started as a farm in the 1800s and then was the summer estate of Bertha Eastman Berry, an editor of the Social Register. The grounds have many ponds, including a trout one, and gardens that are nice in the summer when it is also less crowded. There is cross country skiing on the property. It is under new ownership. All rooms have wood burning fireplaces. The former owners maintained birds and animals on the property, as well as a wine shop. It will be interesting to see what the new owners provide. Dinner is served, as well as breakfast. The wine list has 350 labels. They have an interesting tapas menu on the weekends and Monday nights. These are not Spanish taps, just small portions of mostly New England fare but they look good anyway. Address: P.O. Box 1879, 21 Handle Road, West Dover, Vermont, 05356 (802-464-3511
The White House – Wilmington. This is a large inn on a hill overlooking the town of Wilmington. This time of year their web site has snow falling in front of the picture of the inn. It is slightly newer than the others, Built as a summer home in 1915 for lumber baron, it is Victorian rather than colonial. They have cross country ski trial on site and an indoor town and sauna in the basement for winter use, along with an outdoor pool for the summer. It is more like a small hotel than the others and offers a nice contrast. They have a bar and serve all meals. There are 25 rooms, nine with fireplaces, six with balconies or terraces, and four offering large whirlpool tubs.(800) 541-2135.
The Inn at Saw Mill – West Dover. This is the most upscale of the six and is priced accordingly but you do get value for money. Many of the rooms have fireplaces, balconies, and jacuzzis. The main house is a converted barn. The food is especially good. There is a selection of 1285 wines in the 30,000-bottle cellar which wins awards all the time. The grounds have ponds for fishing and canoeing in the summer and there is cross country skiing in the winter. They also have an outdoor pool and several gazebos. It is located at 7 Crosstown Road, West Dover, VT 05356 (802) 464-8131
Windham Hill Inn - West Townshend. Like all of the others, this place has wonderful rooms with antiques and views, some here have private porches, jacuzzis, and fireplaces. It has been a while since I was there but dinner was also quite good at the time. This place is up a dirt road, away from any other places with beautiful grounds and views. You can cross country ski on the grounds. The Music Room has a deck, a 1911 restored Steinway grand piano and a 400 title CD collection for guest use. Windham Hill Inn is located north of West Townshend on the road to Windham, approximately 1 1/2 miles from Vermont Route 30. (800) 944-4080
Four Columns Inn – Newfane. It has great rooms, many are large with see-through fireplaces that you can see from both the bath and the bedroom. Most of the baths have oversized tubs for relaxing in front of the fire. The rooms are the best feature of this inn. The breakfast in front of a large stone fireplace is also quite good. An upscale dinner is provided, priced accordingly. It can be good but, at times, it is inconsistent for the price. There is another place to eat, The Old Newfane Inn, that looks good but have not tried it yet. This second place promotes French-Swiss food. There seems to be quite an active competition between the two inns, a few hundred feet from each other. The Four Columns is located just behind a nice village green with many fine white buildings. It backs into a 150-acre private mountain with walking trails. The white, Federal-style inn fits right into the village. They also provide high-speed wireless internet access in common areas and in some rooms in the main building. Address: Four Columns Inn, On the Green, Newfane, Vermont 05345 (800) 787-6633
Rabbit Hill Inn – Waterford. This place is further north, at the bottom end of the Northeast Kingdom area. It was first started as an inn in 1795 to serve those on the 18 day road trip between Montreal and Boston. Now it is about 3 hours from each and is probably the best place in a direct line between the two cities. There is a nice feel to the place and a great setting. It also serves a nice dinner and has won a number of rewards. Many of the rooms have fireplaces are filled with antiques. Address: Rabbit Hill Inn, 48 Lower Waterford Rd., P. O. Box 55, Lower Waterford, Vermont 05848 802.748.5168 or 800 -762-8669.