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 lodgings encompass 350 acres, including miles of groomed and backcountry trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, and other winter activities. The trails are often deep with snow, thanks to an extensive snowmaking system and the inn’s ridge-top position. You can rent gear and take lessons in the Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center, located inside of a renovated horse stable. Downhill skiers will appreciate being only 11 miles from the scenic slopes and vast expanses of open terrain on Killington Mountain—Options 2 and 3 of this deal come with a $100 gift card to Killington Ski Resort.
Despite its size, the inn has a down-home feel and high level of hospitality that prompted Frommer’s to count it “among southern Vermont’s most relaxing resorts.” Classic lodge rooms especially capture the calm atmosphere, with beautiful views of the mountains, the lake, or the meadow. And there are several relaxing things to do to complement the resort’s activities, as you can unwind to the sound of trickling fountains and soft music during a massage in the onsite spa.
Cap off a busy day on the trails with a meal at one of the resort’s 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.
Chittenden, Vermont: Rustic Wilderness and Challenging Ski Slopes in the Green Mountains
Named for the layers of stately evergreens that carpet their slopes, the Green Mountains are a branch of the ancient Appalachians stretching across Vermont. The town of Chittenden, where The Mountain Top Inn & Resort resides, lies deep in the hillsides near the Green Mountain National Forest—home to three alpine and seven Nordic ski areas. The closest to town, Killington Ski Resort, also happens to be one of Vermont’s most popular. Outside magazine recently crowned it one of the “Best Ski Resorts in North America”. But visitors have come to know the mountain as “the Beast of the East” thanks to its challenging terrain, including steep peaks loaded with double diamonds and tough gladed trails.
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.