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Deer Hill Inn

Deer Hill Inn

Address: 14 Valley View Road
Phone: 800-993-3379
Web Address: http://www.deerhillinn.com

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West Dover, Vermont

THE INN:The delightful Deer Hill Inn oozes Vermont charm. It reminds me of the inns in the old holiday movies with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Wonderfully, cozy public rooms beckon with comfortable chairs, bookshelves, fireplaces and mountain views. Spectacular gardens brimming with flowers dot the property and Adirondack chairs are scattered about, perfect for curling up with a book.

THE ROOMS: Rooms are decorated with different themes and filled with wonderful antiques and cheerful Waverly fabrics. Most have a deck or balcony with garden or mountain views, the “Enhanced” rooms have fireplaces and even the smaller Traditional rooms have their own unique charm. The Inn is immaculately maintained and shows none of the “wear and tear” evident in so many places. I stayed in the Azalea Room on the third floor with French doors opening onto a spacious balcony overlooking the gardens and pool. Decorated with country antiques, the walls were painted in peach tones and accented with Waverly print draperies. A comfortable Queen bed was covered with a patchwork quilt and stacked with fluffy pillows. A terrific shower, butter soft towels and Provence toiletries made up for a somewhat small private bath. I particularly liked the Tamarack, Delphinium and Orchid rooms. There are no phones, TV’s (except in the public rooms) or air conditioning. Our visit was during a July heat wave and the evenings were still comfortably cool. Rooms are equipped with wireless connection and cell phones work fine, even in the mountains.

THE RESTAURANT: Until recently the restaurant was open to the public, now just for guests. The two dining rooms (one with a fireplace) have great views of the Green Mountains from pretty much any table. Low beamed ceilings, classical jazz and flickering candles create a wonderful intimacy to enjoy the cuisine of Chef/owner Michael Allen. Tables are set with yellow and blue Waverly tablecloths with coordinating dinnerware and fresh flowers. The menu changes often and while not lengthy in what it has to offer, it is long on fresh local ingredients and in-house prepared sauces, Artisan breads, pastas and desserts. I started with a warm, fresh corn custard served with heirloom tomatoes and pancetta with an olive puree drizzle. Usually leery of trying seafood this far from the coast, I went ahead and ordered the Alaskan salmon, brushed with a miso glaze and served with a sauté of Napa cabbage, baby carrots and a lemongrass and ginger broth. It was the best salmon I have ever had, fresh and perfectly prepared. Dessert was a decadent fresh blueberry and raspberry crisp. The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence list has about 10 wines by the glass and about 20 half bottles. There’s a good selection of wines from top areas in the U.S. as well as interesting offerings from the Southern Hemisphere. Lots of great choices under $50/$60. Hooray!

THE SERVICE: The owners and staff are friendly and helpful. While the restaurant and office close down later in the evening, you are encouraged to call on the owners in their apartment on the premises if you need anything.

THE RATES: $140-$200 for Traditional rooms up to $200-$355 for Enhanced Rooms.

WHILE YOU'RE THERE: Mt. Snow Valley offers the full s pectrum of winter activities including downhill and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and more. In nice weather there’s biking, hiking, fishing, boating, golf, tennis and horseback riding. The area is also well known for antiques.

DRIVING DISTANCE FROM: Boston: 2 hours 50 minutes, NYC: 4 hours.

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