Outdoor Adventure at Mountain Retreat in Central Vermont
The Mountain Top Inn & Resort got its start in 1870, when the Barstow family started putting up lodgers in their turnip barn in the heart of Vermont’s rolling Green Mountains. Nowadays, it's hard to imagine such humble beginnings when you see how the resort has expanded. The revamped lodgings encompass 350 acres, and the old grain silo now features a wall of glass windows overlooking the Chittenden Reservoir. Despite its size, the inn has a down-home feel that extends to classic lodge rooms, each boasting beautiful views of the mountains, the lake, or the meadow. Complementing the scenery is the inn’s friendly hospitality, all part of why Frommer’s called The Mountain Top Inn & Resort “among southern Vermont’s most relaxing resorts.”
The resort offers plenty of ways for families to explore the surrounding landscape. Clay-bird shooting and romantic pontoon-boat rides make up some of the available outdoor activities. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of tranquil spots for fly-fishing opportunities and a slew of golf courses. And starting in early October, guests should start to see Vermont’s trademark colorful foliage.
Cap off a busy day with a Swedish or hot-stone massage, or a meal at one of the resort’s onsite restaurants. The Highlands Dining Room serves upscale cuisine using ingredients from local farms, with a menu that changes seasonally—plus a wine list that earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2012. Lighter fare is available at The Highlands Tavern, where you can grab an array of local microbrews amid a friendly, lodge-style setting.
Green Mountains, Vermont: Rustic Wilderness Surrounding Historical Towns
Named for the layers of stately evergreens that carpet their slopes, the Green Mountains are a branch of the ancient Appalachians stretching across Vermont. Deep in the hillsides, the town of Chittenden is near the Green Mountain National Forest, surrounded by vistas for hiking, mountain biking, and game hunting. Within an hour’s drive by car is Coolidge State Park, where you might see owls, moose, and black bears.
For a taste of history, the nearby towns of Killington and Rutland boast charters dating to 1761, before the creation of Vermont itself. While in Rutland, check out the mid-nineteenth-century Wilson Castle, a 32-room mansion known for its exquisite stained-glass windows. About a 30-minute drive east of Rutland lies the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, where you’ll find the Coolidge homestead almost exactly as it was in the 1930s.
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