Though he’s catered for Oprah and won Steven Tyler over with his meatballs, Lou Marzelli can still take the time to fill a family table. Dishes of lasagna, chicken parmesan, and penne in housemade marinara come to fruition out of recipes handed down through the Marzellis’ Italian-native family every day in their New York–style deli. A gleaming deli case brims with Boar's Head meats and cheeses ready to be sliced and stuffed into hearty wedge sandwiches. whereas pizzas proudly hold toppings such as genoa salami, fresh basil, or the crumbled remains of lesser pies. Breakfast selections are served all day alongside locally roasted espresso drinks, and 36 flavors of housemade gelato and sorbetto—such as stracciatella, strawberry, and tiramisu—put a sweet finish on Italian helpings.
Dorset is a quintessential New England town, dotted with cozy homes and shops tucked into forested mountains and valleys. Visitors perusing the region's stores are bound to come away with a haul of fresh cheeses, local maple syrup, and warm woolens. The slopes of Stratton and Bromley mountains supply ample opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and downhill speed dating. Ice skating, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides round out the area's wintertime offerings.
The Green Mountains, a branch of the ancient Appalachians stretching across Vermont, draw their name from the layers of stately conifers carpeting the range's slopes. Although itself ensconced deep in this undulating verdure, Chittenden also lies in range of a number of maintained wildlife-management areas and the expanse of the Green Mountain National Forest, opening infinite vistas for hiking, mountain biking, and game hunting. In winter, the towering peaks of Killington and Pico ski areas send snow buffs swooping down latticed networks of trails or flipping through freestyle zones. The Coolidge and Okemo State Forests are about an hour away by car.For a taste of history, lodgers can make their way toward the nearby towns of Killington and Rutland, both of which unfurl charters dating to 1761, before the creation of Vermont itself. From September 2 to 11, Rutland parades taffy pulls, pig races, and crossroads-conquering fiddlers at the Vermont State Fair. Throughout the remainder of the year, multiple weekly farmers markets studded with Vermont maple syrup and alpaca weavings array wares downtown, alongside frequent outdoor concerts and other family-friendly events, many of them free.Though The Mountain Top Inn & Resort sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available.
Wolfe City Brick Oven Pizza’s artisan chefs flip, top, and bake thin-crust masterpieces cloaked in a choice of six different cheeses. The multitudinous menu imparts the memoir of pizzas made from whole-wheat dough ($9.99), which features the recurring characters of fruits, meats, and veggies ($1.50 each traditional, $2.50 each gourmet) and conveys a delicious dénouement. Those who prefer pre-designed pies can sample expertly concocted combos such as the Two Men from Tuftonboro's italian sausage and pepperoni ($14.99) or the Wolfe City Nacho Pizza's bacon, veggies, and alfredo sauce ($14.99). Dessert pizzas assume the identities of classic post-dinner bites, including bananas foster ($12.99) and s'mores ($8.99), and beers, wines, and sodas slake artichoke-induced thirsts. Wolfe City's chefs can convert dough into gluten-free compositions quicker than Clark Kent's switch into Superman or Spiderman's transformation into Sir Edmund Hillary ($12.99).
The original owner of the picturesque two-story house—a daffodil-hued farmhouse with hunter-green shutters and a matching front door—invited guests into his makeshift tavern for a bowl of porridge and a nap at 12 cents a pop. More than 220 years later, the house in Bristol still entertains a revolving door of guests as The Homestead Restaurant. Inside, a brick fireplace radiates warmth across tables scattered with teriyaki-glazed steaks and alaskan king-crab legs dipped in drawn butter. The chefs also swaddle meatloaf wellington in a puff-pastry shell, and peppercorns burst sharply across sirloin with brandy and cream sauce. A dedicated gluten-free menu caters to diners with health issues or a tendency to remember the terrifying dinner-roll scene in Jaws.
A second location of The Homestead Restaurant in Merrimack is just as inviting inside with exposed wooden beams, an antlered chandelier, and a second-floor bar affording a perfect eagle’s-eye view of the tables below.