Windham Hill Inn
Windham Hill Inn
Address: 311 Lawrence Drive
Web Address: http://www.windhamhill.com
As I sat in an Adirondack chair with a cup of coffee and gazed at the morning mist traveling across the distant mountains, I realized it would be impossible to come to Windham Hill and not feel the weight of the world lifted from your shoulders. The setting is spectacular with dramatic views down the valley and across meadows filled with wildflowers and rock walled gardens. Four miles of trails over 160 acres of pine and maple forests afford the chance for a mind clearing stroll or quiet conversation with someone special.
Once the home of the Lawrence Family, the Inn and Barn have been wonderfully converted to a luxury inn while still retaining much of the charm of the original buildings. The Main House has two parlors and a living room, the main dining room and a private dining room and a cozy little bar. The Living Room, the largest of three common rooms in the main inn building, has wrap-around windows with magnificent views and is ideal for listening to music or working on a puzzle. The Parlors with warming fireplaces are the perfect place for a drink or to curl up with a book.
In November 2009 the Inn was accepted for membership in the prestigious Relais & Chateau organization. Relais properties, in our opinion, are the finest in the country.
Accommodations are spread over two buildings, the Main House and the converted White Barn. Furnished with antiques or furniture made by local craftspeople, the 21 guest rooms come with private baths, queen or king size beds and many have fireplaces, private porches, window seats or Jacuzzis and all have great views. Many of the original building features like brick walls and ceiling beams have been retained and add extra charm to the rooms. Our room, the North Loft in the White Barn was spacious and private with its own staircase. Area rugs covered hardwood floors and a couch and wingback chair surrounded the fireplace in a separate sitting area. Built-in bookshelves added a homey touch. The four poster king bed was set with luxury linens and was wonderfully comfortable. The bath was down a few steps from the main room and had a Jacuzzi and separate shower. A small deck overlooked the meadow. All of the rooms here are delightful, but Forget Me Not, North Loft, Tree House and Taft have fireplaces and window seats which, for me, enhances the experience. Best room? Meadowlook. A fieldstone fireplace surrounded by plump easy chairs, floor-to-ceiling windows, a bed made of handcrafted logs, a Kohler soaking tub and a deck make this a near perfect room.
The elegant dining room takes full advantage of the mountain and frog pond views with most tables positioned for maximum advantage. One end is anchored with a brick fireplace and the tables are set with small table lamps, glistening tableware and crisp linens. The atmosphere is intimate and romantic.
The menu changes seasonally and makes great use of local products including vegetables and herbs from their own garden. The Chef’s Tasting menu is a great way to sample multiple dishes, in this case 6 courses. Paired with wines from their award winning list, it was quite a memorable experience. Lobster and shallot ravioli was served with a tarragon and chardonnay sauce and paired with a Fess Parker Viognier. Oven roasted quail with a chestnut sauce and strawberry rhubarb coulis followed and matched with a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Next, a pan seared fois gras over Calvados sautéed apples and served with a delicious La Chappelle de Lafaurie-Peyraguery sauternes. A tasty beef consommé set the stage for an excellent pan seared Vermont venison loin paired with a Tapestry Reserve from Beaulieu Vineyards. A Grand Marnier soufflé with a late Harvest Riesling by Pirramimma ended an extraordinary meal.
The wine list has some excellent choices and is very fairly priced. A la carte menu-$60, Tasting menu $80, with wine $135.
The setting for breakfast was just as cozy as at dinner. A fire was set in the fireplace and out our windows there was a morning mist on the frog pond. The food was excellent starting with a pineapple/melon fruit smoothie and a fresh blueberry turnover. A couple of choices for the main course but we chose scrambled eggs with mozzarella and spinach and baked potato slices. Cereals, bagels, fresh fruit and oatmeal round out the menu.
The Inn is part of a group of properties owned by US Hotel Group that also includes the wonderful White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport Maine. Absentee management can often result in service levels that are not up to par. Not so here. In the very capable hands of Innkeeper Katja Matthews, you would never know she wasn’t the actual owner. She and her staff somehow make you feel as if you are visiting family, although I am not sure my family would have gone to such lengths to dry the morning dew off the Adirondack chairs so I could enjoy coffee outside as Jason did. Dining room service was crisp, efficient and friendly. They make you want to come back.
From $215 non peak to $465 peak. The Barn rooms are slightly more expensive than the Main House. Full breakfast is included.
WHAT OTHERS SAY
Member of Distinguished Inns of New England
Member Select Registry
Wine Spectator's “Award of Excellence”
A "Top Pick Inn" – "If you are a dreamer as I am, and you dream of a perfect country inn, this is as close as you will come. At Windham Hill you are sitting on top of the world, and it is beautiful up here." - Elizabeth Squier, Recommended Country Inns
WHILE YOU ARE THERE:
On the property, guests can enjoy 4 miles of walking trails over the 160 acre property. In winter, the trails are rough groomed and ideal for cross country skiing or snow shoeing (provided complimentary by the Inn). There is a heated pool with wonderful mountain views and clay tennis courts.
Southern Vermont has a dazzling array of activities from active sports to cultural and historical attractions to shopping and more. Mount Snow, Bromley, Magic Mountain and Stratton Ski Resorts are less than 30 minutes away and offer the full range of skiing options. Locally, there’s also ice skating, horseback riding, fishing, golf, snowmobiling and biking opportunities.
The area is well known for antique stores, Manchester Village and its high end outlet stores is minutes away and there are some very interesting museums and galleries a short distance from the Inn.
Albany: 1 hour 51 minutes
Hartford, CT: 2 hours
Boston: 2 hours 57 minutes
New York City: 4 hours 27 minutes
Philadelphia: 5 hours 56 minutes