Travel Advisory – Windham Hill Inn
Set at the end of a winding, gravel road in the foothills of southern Vermont’s Green Mountains, Windham Hill Inn flawlessly combines the rustic charm of authentic 19th century farm buildings with the sophistication and elegance of a small European hotel. The result is a one-of-a-kind property that offers its guests innovative gourmet cuisine, personalized service, gorgeous guest rooms and miles of trails on its 160 acres for pristine hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. On top of all that, Windham Hill – a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux hotel group – is just a short drive from Mount Snow, Stratton Mountain Resort and Bromley Mountain.
For all of its amenities (including a heated swimming pool and a spa) there are two things Windham Hill Inn doesn’t have: cellphone service and in-room televisions. The former is par for the course in Vermont, but the latter is by design, according to innkeeper Katja Matthews, who says she wants the inn to be a place where people come primarily to enjoy each other’s company. In an age when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to escape the gravitational pull of the small screen (do we really need monitors in grocery store checkout lines?), I would happily return to Windham Hill for this reason alone.
But, gladly, there are many other lures, food being an important one. The inn’s restaurant is the winner of several Wine Spectator magazine awards, and executive chef, David Crone, is known for his creative use of traditional Vermont and New England ingredients. The sweet potato and Vermont blue cheese bisque, and the garden carrot osso buco with celery root puree, mushroom jus, pearl onions and turnips, are just two examples of his innovations. Windham Hill’s menu changes seasonally, and during the summer and fall, much of the inn’s produce comes from an organic garden situated behind the main building.
If you’ll be away for dinner, a mouthwatering, three-course breakfast is included in the inn’s daily room rate (you won’t be needing lunch after this). You can also enjoy complimentary tea and pastries every afternoon in Windham Hill’s beautiful sitting room, as well as a varied selection
of local cheeses, set out in the inn’s cozy bar, with evening cocktails.
Rivaling the food is the inn itself. Windham Hill’s 21 guest rooms in the main inn and White Barn have a vintage country feel and accomplish the difficult task of being luxurious without being fussy. Many rooms come with gas fireplaces, terraces and huge soaking tubs, and all feature Molton Brown toiletries, terry cloth robes and slippers. Little touches, such as board games and bookcases crammed with novels, give the rooms a homey feel. Windham Hill also has done an admirable job preserving the character of its old buildings. The barn’s foyer was built with repurposed original boards when the structure was modified, and the main building’s common areas are furnished with antiques and paintings you’d expect to find at an old Vermont farm.
Guests who come to enjoy the outdoors can store their snowshoes and skis in the inn’s shed, and if you really can’t tear yourself away from technology, you can bring along your laptop or iPad and hook up to Windham Hill’s Wi-Fi. And if the Patriots happen to be in the Super Bowl when you visit, you’ll find a large-screen TV in the White Barn’s downstairs lounge.
Getting to Windham Hill Inn is easy, too — just a two-hour drive from most points in the Merrimack Valley along New Hampshire’s scenic Route 101. It’s a drive worth taking.
Windham Hill Inn
($255 to $545)
West Townshend, Vt.