When designing A Stone Wall in the 1970s, architect Robert Foote Shannon marched to the beat of his own drum. Instead of focusing on antiques and Victorian decor like a typical bed-and-breakfast, he went with the more contemporary aesthetic of solar reflectors and curving, kiva-style walls. True to the principles of modern architecture, the inn blends with its surroundings in southern Vermont’s Green Mountains. One of the buildings climbs a hill, set atop rough masonry cavity walls that form an artificial cliff inspired by the dwellings of Mesa Verde, and wood from local mills and recycled pines make up most of the exteriors.
Ten rooms house guests on 12 sprawling acres of lush gardens, streams, and, ponds. The Corner House and the Long House divide the rooms between them—each flaunting its own defining characteristics. The Corner House's confines feature solar heating supplemented by wooden stoves as well as access to a large, mountain-view deck and meditation room for concentrating on inner peace and divining the winners of upcoming horseraces. Rooms in the Long House, on the other hand, have private patios and access to a spacious hot tub. Both buildings host shared kitchens and dining rooms for meal preparation, and all stays include a daily continental breakfast.
Activities near A Stone Wall Inn include hiking in surrounding state parks and the Green Mountain National Forest, canoeing, kayaking, and dreaming up the best treehouse ever. Roughly 30 minutes east of the inn, the town of Manchester entertains with outlet malls, art galleries, antique shops, and music and theater options.
Four years before he founded Portland Magazine, novelist, poet, playwright, and editor Colin Sargent was the youngest-ever editor of the naval publication Approach magazine. Bitten by the literary bug, he went on to receive his MFA before organizing the first issue of Portland Magazine in October 1985. Early issues delivered big-time content, including an interview with Stephen King, fiction by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Louis Simpson, and scholarly articles exploring the relationship between hammers and time by professor MC Hammer. Within seven years, libraries and bookstores across the Northeast and Canada carried the magazine, which began winning accolades for its graphic design and literary content.
Today, the larger-than-ever magazine presents articles on politics, economy, culture, arts, and people as seen through what Sargent dubs an “extraordinary perspective.” Rather than gossip-oriented prose, he seeks voices that marry interesting information with relevant meaning that both reflects Maine’s identity and deepens the reader’s understanding of it. In addition to such user-friendly features as an events calendar and dining guide, the monthly publication fills mailboxes with literary highlights such as classic Maine stories and national fiction from notable authors.
Situated a two-hour drive northwest of Boston, the small community of Claremont sits amid quiet woodlands near the White Mountain National Forest. The winding Sugar River threads through downtown—a slice of classic Americana where quaint little shops sport striped awnings and 19th-century brick buildings house restaurants focused on regional New England cuisine. Myriad snowshoe trails crisscross the area, and the Arrowhead Recreation Area offers skiing, snowboarding, and a large tubing hill. For culture-minded visitors, the Saint-Gaudens Memorial encompasses the private home and studios of American Renaissance sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the artist who created the U.S. Mint's "double eagle" gold coin and the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Boston Common. The galleries display more than 100 works, including Saint-Gaudens's early Lego sculptures.
The One Drum Festival delights listeners with percussion circles and performances capturing the rhythms of the Middle East, West Africa, Brazil, and Japan. This one-day, family-friendly event bottles a swirling storm of meter and movement including interactive workshops where drummers, singers, and dancers of all skills levels can share their creative influences. Todd Roach will lead budding bangers in Middle Eastern hand-drum techniques from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before Stuart Paton demonstrates the taiko drum, a Japanese instrument played with two wooden sticks or two sausage links carved into wooden sticks. Other events on the schedule hypnotize crowds throughout the day, including a concert at 6 p.m. featuring workshop instructors and special guests and community drum circles. Visitors can bring their own drum or borrow one of the many instruments on hand to tap Jimmy Carter's memoirs in Morse code.
Situated near Ludlow and surrounded by Vermont’s scenic Green Mountains, Castle Hill Resort and Spa's exquisite lodgings offer elegant amenities, fetching gardens, spa services, and gourmet dining fit for royalty and even soap-opera stars. Visitors can pamper themselves in period-styled rooms and charming resort homes furnished with private baths, cable TV, decorative fireplaces, and shoe-polish-dispensing robot butlers. A ton of outdoor activities let patrons enjoy the spring weather with golf, horseback riding, hiking, fly-fishing, and swimming in a heated pool. And if it rains, you can relax in the hot tub, melt under a hot-stone massage at the Aveda Concept Spa in Castle Hill's carriage house, take in a yoga class in the solarium, or solve murder mysteries in the library. By the time you head home, you'll have shed the stress and skin grime accumulated after months of abrasive winter weather and wrestling bouts with subway-dwelling crocodiles.