Outdoor Adventure at Mountain Retreat in Central Vermont
Cradled by the rolling crests of the Green Mountains, The Mountain Top Inn & Resort got its modest start in 1870 when the Barstow family started putting up lodgers in their turnip barn. Nowadays, it's hard to imagine such humble beginnings when you see how the resort has expanded. The revamped lodgings encompass 350 verdant acres, and the old grain silo now features a wall of glass windows affording views of Chittenden Reservoir. Despite its size, the inn has a downhome feel that extends to classic lodge rooms, each boasting views of the mountains, lake, or scenic meadow.
The resort itself offers plenty of ways for families to explore the surrounding landscape. At the Equestrian Center, new and seasoned centaur imitators can trot through woodland trail rides and enjoy English or Western riding lessons with knowledgeable instructors. Aside from horseback riding, other available outdoor activities, include clay shooting, and romantic pontoon-boat rides.
You can apply the $50 resort credit included in the first option toward any of the activities above, a Swedish or hot-stone massage, or a meal at one of the resort’s onsite restaurants. The Highlands Dining Room serves everything from gourmet Angus burgers ($12) to grilled shrimp and diver scallops ($26) beneath antler chandeliers. Lighter fare, such as mango-and-fig bruschetta ($9), is available at The Highlands Tavern, along with an array of local microbrews.
Green Mountains, Vermont: Rustic Wilderness Surrounding Historical Towns
The Green Mountains, a branch of the ancient Appalachians stretching across Vermont, are named for the layers of stately evergreens that carpet their slopes. Deep in the verdant hillsides, the town of Chittenden is near the Green Mountain National Forest with infinite vistas for hiking, mountain biking, and game hunting. The Coolidge and Okemo State Forests are also about an hour away by car.
For a taste of history, the nearby towns of Killington and Rutland boast charters dating to 1761, before the creation of Vermont itself. Throughout the warmer months, downtown Rutland’s weekly farmers' markets offer a place to shop for regional goods such as Vermont maple syrup and alpaca weavings. The area also hosts frequent outdoor concerts and other family-friendly events, many of them free.