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This Stunning Inn in Southern Vermont Is the Ideal Place for a Family Vacation Anytime of the Year, Particularly in the Summer When Lake Activities Ar

2023-06-24  Maliyah Mah

The Hermitage Inn reopened its doors in 2021 sporting an entirely new appearance following a refurbishment that took place over the course of two years. Here's what it's like inside.

Hermitage Club

Southern Vermont is home to the reopening of an establishment that has previously closed its doors. The inside of the Hermitage Inn, which was built in 1842, has been updated to feature contemporary decor and is home to 14 guest rooms and one suite.

I only recently learned that the Hermitage Inn in West Dover, Vermont offers a full-service experience throughout the entire year. The inn is situated on 112 acres at the foot of Haystack Mountain. (The exclusive Hermitage Club is located on the mountain and utilises it for daily runs; nevertheless, visitors of the property have a wide variety of other options for skiing in the surrounding area.)

The inn provided its visitors with such a diverse array of activities that they gave the impression of being in a full-service resort. This boutique hotel features not one but two restaurants, a small spa, two hot tubs, a sauna, a fitness centre, catering services, and a wide variety of activities that can be reserved that are suitable for every season.

The current owners of the Heritage Inn obtained ownership of the business through a natural process. "[It] is a special place for us," said Mary Lou Ricci, who runs the hotel with her husband, Tim Hall. "[It] is a special place for the community," added Mary Lou Ricci. "Tim and I got engaged on Haystack Mountain, and that evening we had dinner at the Inn after celebrating our engagement. We have raised a glass to our friends and family on innumerable occasions, as well as hosted a wedding for our family here, and events have been held in the wine cellar.

During the pandemic, the couple decided to sell their business, and then three days later, they made the decision to purchase the property. "It gave us the opportunity to do all of the things that are meaningful and joyful to us in life," she added. "We are so grateful for that." "Utilise the people's surroundings, including the food and wine they consume, the furnishings they surround themselves with, and the natural environment." What could be more appropriate for the following chapter?


A snowy March evening found my family and I making our way to the Hermitage Inn, where we were greeted by a lovely Vermont scene as we crossed the covered bridge that leads from the main road onto the property. In order to provide visitors with an even more authentic New England winter experience, the property features a seasonal ice skating rink as well as a hut that can be rented out to visitors. The rink transforms into an archery range during the warm summer months, and tourists can work with a coach for periods of fifty minutes at a time to improve their skills.

During our visit, we made our way down from the main building in the direction of the trout pond. This pond is used for the catch-and-release fly-fishing programme during the summer months, and it is stocked with fish during that time. Guests who are interested in fishing will have the opportunity to learn the ropes here. Guests who value their time more than convenience also have the option of going on tours led by the property's knowledgeable guides.

During the summer months, guests can go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding at this hotel, which also provides transportation to the surrounding lakes of Raponda, Whitingham, and Somerset. E-bikes are available for rent on-site for guests to use during the majority of the year so that they can explore the adjacent Valley Trails. In addition to its handy location, the property is situated within three miles of not one but two public golf courses.

For me, it was perfect to take some time to relax and focus on my Zen in the inn's cosy spa. At this time, there is only one treatment room available for massages lasting either 60 or 90 minutes. I continued my personal moment of relaxation by spending some time in the hot tub, which is situated below a pergola and offers views of a running stream.

Related link : The Top 12 Activities in Manchester, Vermont

The inn's sauna is conveniently located just a few steps away and includes a window. From there, I was able to take in the afternoon light as well as a picture-perfect view of the surrounding trees and lake. A shared game room that features a fireplace is connected to a separate sauna and hot tub, providing an additional element of relaxation.

bright and airy

Both of our rooms had plenty of natural light and fresh air. In addition, similar to the other rooms, these fireplaces were illuminated by gas. (In addition, there was sufficient room in one of them for a sheepskin rug and a sitting area.) A door that led to the hallway could be closed off, providing additional solitude for our family of four, which is a convenient feature for families with young children.

chef MacGregor Mann

Within the inn, there are a number of rooms that are suitable for families, such as the spacious Carriage House that features its own private hot tub, gaming area, and four private bedrooms with attached bathrooms.

Both of the Inn's restaurants, both of which are managed by Michael Schlow, winner of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, and both of which are implemented by MacGregor Mann, provide distinctive dining experiences. The Birches is a venue that offers a formal dining experience with a fixed price menu. Guests sit in an elegant dining room that features a large stone fireplace, high ceilings, and a glass wall that, during the warmer months, opens up to a fieldstone patio.

The gray-lacquered pub was the location of our first meal together. On the menu was homemade bread, a thick pork chop served atop Carolina Gold grits and a raisiny chutney, and a flaming plank of baked Alaska served as dessert at the end of the dinner.

Robb Family Farm

Diners have the option of selecting a different dining experience during the chillier months, just as we did on our last night at the inn. Two ski gondolas that had been renovated and placed in a location where they could see the ice skating rink were transformed into intimate hideaways with the addition of miniature chandeliers, luxurious pillows, blankets, and internal curtains. Our party of four received a cheese fondue that was monumental in size. Aside from that, there are cooked sausages and maitake mushrooms, crunchy cornichons, cubes of apple, slices of bread that have been lightly toasted and are ideal for soaking up cheese, and Brussels sprouts that have been caramelised.

Regardless of the time of year, there is an abundance of things to do on the premises, but for those who are interested in broadening their horizons, there is a wide variety of things to do in the surrounding area. At the time of our visit, the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association was in the midst of presenting the second weekend of its Maple Open House Weekends. My family and I took a trip to Brattleboro, which was a forty-minute drive to the east, in order to sample several categories of syrups produced by Robb Family Farm, which is in its fifth generation of operation.

At Saxtons River Distillery, my husband and I sampled a flight of small-batch spirits that focused on maple, while our children sipped maple milkshakes, played shuffleboard, and searched for the resident cat. My husband and I enjoyed the experience very much. Sugar on snow is a dish that consists of hot syrup being poured over shaved ice until it reaches the consistency of taffy. We observed the manufacture of maple syrup take place at the Stevens Family Sugarhouse, which was located closer to the inn, before making a visit at Sprague & Son Maple. Here, we indulged in sugar on snow. (A pickle and a donut are included on the plate as a gesture of good faith.)

Stratton Mountain was our destination on our last day, which was a blustery and chilly start to April typical of New England. It is located forty minutes north of West Dover and features some of the greatest skiing in the region. There are 99 routes, 11 lifts, a tube park, ice skating, and a lively and shoppable village. During the end-of-season sales, we considered updating our ski equipment at this resort, which features ice skating and a tube park.

However, we decided to spend our money at Twice Blessed, a well-known secondhand shop that is located only a few minutes away from the inn. At Twice Blessed, you can purchase anything from vintage furs to board games to individual pieces of furniture. An old copy of Monopoly and seven bottles of real maple syrup from Vermont were among the souvenirs we took back from our trip; they were the perfect way to round off a relaxing few days away.

2023-06-24  Maliyah Mah