Vermont Weekend Escape

Keeping to tradition, J and I spent MLK weekend this year skiing.  We were interested to see how East Coast skiing compared to out West, where we spent MLK 2014. The first thing I learned during my stay in Vermont? Don’t compare East Coast and West Coast skiing, particularly in a conversation with an avid East Coast skier. I got the feeling I was fueling a rivalry….and not making friends.

MLK 2015 was not actually planned intentionally as a ski weekend. I wanted to get away (surprise), but we wanted to drive somewhere, so I found an adorable inn on my beloved smithhotels.com (great hotel curator – I recommend) called Windham Hill Inn. I have so many good things to say about Windham; I’m not even sure where to begin.

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Windham Hill Inn, Vermont

Windham Hill is literally exactly what you imagine to be picturesque Vermont. Adorable old house, with a barn and ski house (yes they had a ski house, more to come on this) outside. There’s a really great restaurant inside where the multi-course breakfast (included) is served as well as dinner (not included, and expensive, but worth the splurge). The Inn also serves tea and cookies of many kinds (I tried/ate all of them and can report that they are all delicious) in the afternoon each day and a cheese board (J ate the whole thing and reported back positively) each evening in the living room area.

The sitting room at the Windham Hill Inn - I swear this photo wasn't staged!

The sitting room at the Windham Hill Inn – I swear this photo wasn’t staged!

J keeping me fantastic company over breakfast.

J keeping me fantastic company over breakfast.

Needless to say, we were pleased that we chose Windham Hill Inn. It was ideal for the relaxing weekend we’d originally been looking for. However, then we thought to ourselves, if we’re driving the 4 hours from NYC to this Inn, we may as well ski while we’re there. Windham Hill is equidistant between Mount Snow and Stratton Mountain and after some research, I decided that the difference between the two was pretty minimal.  So, I went with the cheaper one and booked my lift tickets at Stratton for two days. Leaving one day for relaxation at Windham Hill.

On top of Stratton Mountain ready to ski

On top of Stratton Mountain ready to ski

I’m a “blue” skier, so relatively bad, but I really enjoyed skiing in Vermont.  And, I’m saying that even though 50% of our ski weekend was spent skiing in a relative downpour (of rain).  So, it must’ve been pretty good. Stratton Mountain was smaller than Vail last year with less trails to choose from but it still did the trick for a weekend long ski trip. It wasn’t as icy as I had been warned East Coast skiing could be – at least on the first day when it wasn’t raining. Also, it was crowded, but really only when trying to take the Gondola up the mountain. Otherwise, the lifts were easy and quick.

The second day, we skied (mostly because our lift tickets were non-refundable), but it poured rain most the day.  Luckily my brand spankin’ new ski pants were very very very waterproof so I was fine. Also, the mountain was basically empty which was fun.

Mid-trail ski selfie during the Stratton washout.

Mid-trail ski selfie during the Stratton washout.

Overall, I’d give Stratton Mountain a solid B. Vail was an A+ so it wasn’t really comparable, BUT it did win in that it was an easy drive from NYC.

Now back to Windham Hill, where we spent our third and final day in Vermont.  Windham Hill’s service was (and I am not understating here) out of this world. From personalized notes each evening, to fresh fruit in the room, to the friendliest staff I’ve ever come across, we really enjoyed spending time there.  On our last day, with sore ski legs in tow, we decided to go snow shoeing in the forest surrounding the Inn. Of course, Windham’s adorable ski shop housed snowshoes and wellies for the borrowing and mapped out trails.

The ski house at Windham Hill Inn

The ski house at Windham Hill Inn

Need some wellies?

Need some wellies?

Once we had our equipment we were off on our snowshoeing trek.

J ready to head off on snowshoes

J ready to head off on snowshoes

Leaving me behind

Leaving me behind

And then learning the hard way that snowshoes can be hard to walk in

And then learning the hard way that snowshoes can be hard to walk in

I was a much better snowshoer than J

I was a much better snowshoer than J

After our snowshoeing trek, it was time to head home. We planned to stop in to this country store at the bottom of Windham Hill, but alas, in our hurry, I only got this photo. The staff at Windham Hill assured us it was not to miss, so I’ll pass along the recommendation – even though I didn’t experience it firsthand.  Adorable isn’t it?

Our last stop stop in Vermont (minus the gas station after this)

Our last stop stop in Vermont (minus the gas station after this)

Keep traveling!

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