Mountainside Bed and Breakfast with Fine-Dining Restaurant and Art Gallery
In 1971, The Hermitage was a traditional hunting lodge, but owner James McGovern wanted it to have the feel of a cultural institution too. So he added an award-winning wine cellar and an art gallery comprising the world's largest collection of work from French painter Michel Delacroix. New owners eventually took over the inn, but they built upon McGovern's legacy by adding an exquisite fine-dining restaurant. That's where Paul Eschbach, a former chef at the four-star New York City restaurant Jean-Georges, uses locally sourced ingredients to craft contemporary meals.
To experience Paul's culinary talents, reserve a table by the fireplace in the main dining room and try seasonal entrees such as the Maine lobster with coconut rice and chipotle butter ($39) or the double-smoked pork chop with collard greens and white beans ($36). In the morning, the inn hosts breakfast with a spread of omelets, meat, and french toast.
After dinner, you can retire to 1 of 15 antique-decorated guest rooms. You can spend a while just admiring charming old-fashioned decorative details in the rooms, such as 19th-century canopy beds and gas-burning fireplaces, but guests tend to use most of their time to take advantage of the property's outdoor attractions, such as a 9-mile hiking trail and a fly-fishing pond stocked with rainbow and natural brook trout.
The hotel also provides transportation to Haystack Golf Club, a four-star-rated course amid mountain scenery where you can play 18 holes of golf or build bird nests out of golf tees. There are two options to this deal; in one, you can enjoy a second round of golf, and in the other, you can enjoy one round and top it off with a 50-minute relaxation massage at the hotel spa.
West Dover, Vermont: Small Rural Mountain Town with an Artsy Side
Located in the center of southern Vermont at the edge of the Green Mountains, West Dover is the commercial center of the larger Dover community. You can find antique stores and sporting-good shops throughout the country town, and there's a handful of eclectic art galleries nearby that display intricate paper art and metalwork.
The town's most compelling attraction is Mount Snow, a four-season resort located 3 miles from the hotel. Starting Memorial Day weekend, the resort opens 35 miles of trails for mountain biking, which you can access by hopping in an express chairlift or a catapult.
For fishing and boating, head to Lake Whitingham, located 30 minutes south of the hotel. Launch your boat from the eastern shore, and keep an eye out for American bald eagles and common loons.