There is so much going on in preparation for the holidays – I cannot do it all. This weekend was the Norman Rockwell Christmas Festivities in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, but when I finally thought about going, the Red Lion Inn was already booked solid. But, then I remembered that “I do not do crowds” anyway. About ten days ago a friend and I both got emails from the Castle Hill Resort in Proctorsville, Vermont, about a promotion, and buried in one line was — Inn-Dulgence Tour. In checking the link – that was it. Ten Inns and B&Bs, all close by, with decorations and goodies at each. I have experienced five of the ten locations, but how can you pass up Inn-Dulging and gorging yourself for five hours for ten bucks? Plans were hatched and made.
I planned the route (always best to start furthest away and work yourself home) with our first stop the Inn at Weathersfield in Perkinsville, Vermont at the noon hour when the tour began. I have enjoyed many a dinner here, and cannot give it a higher recommendation. When I called to reserve our Passports for the tour, Marilee said, “oh, I remember you Ray.” Yes, a couple years ago I had shared with her a visit that BLUE BELLE and I made. Every time I walk into the Red Lion Inn I am greeted personally by several staff members, and the same happens at the Castle Hill Resort when I enter with my friends. HINT TO INN OWNERS – it makes a difference. Thank you Marilee (and Richard).
Richard showed us around downstairs, and gave us some history. We toured many rooms, each exquisite! And, below is a gallery of some of what we saw. Remember, with my galleries, you can click on an image and open up to larger views. You will see more galleries on this day’s tour.
We then drove north on Route 106 towards Woodstock, but turned left on Tyson Road in Felchville. I have only driven west to east on this road (in BB1 or BB2, of course) so this was the first time east to west – but scenery is always different every day, every season, and in different directions. The next stop Echo Lake Inn on Route 100.
My dear Cathy and I stayed here maybe 17 years ago before we moved to NH. I have had several meals here, and enjoy passing by on the way to my favorite Plymouth Notch. Need I tell you that is Calvin Coolidge’s home? On the menu here were two soups: Maple Butternut Squash Bisque and Stonewood Farms Turkey and Wild Rice — both worth the trip.
Next was heading south on Route 100, through Ludlow to the Golden Stage Inn in Proctorsville, before working ourselves back to 100.
I had never stopped here before, but have passed many times. I enjoy Crow’s Bakery and Cafe just down the road. In fact, at the bakery I made my first ever travel blog post in April 2011. On the menu today for us to enjoy at the Golden Stage Inn (yes an original old stage stop) was “Saturday Night Chocolate Cake.”
Next stop was our “briar patch” — the Castle Hill Resort and Spa. First discovered and experienced 15 December 2013 (yes on the way back from Christmas at Plymouth Notch). I do not miss anything when driving, but one person is a tad better than I am. Coming home that day, Tara said, “what is that? turn around!” And we went in and discovered the most fantastic place. To the right is a favorite image I took that evening.
Up the hill we drove, and in we went. “Hi, nice to see you again,” we were greeted. Yes, I visit often with my lady friends. We cannot afford not to go to the three course dinners for $25 (we all carry half home there is so much, and so good. But we start with wine (and wine) in the library – oh such a life.
Today it was overcast and snowy as we drove up the hill.
On the menu here was Mini Beef Wellington and/or Creme Brûlée. We had both — fantastic. The decorations were amazing – enjoy these images.
It was then back into Ludlow to the Andrie Rose Inn. We learned that the Inn goes back to about 1950 — about 6 years before the Okemo Ski area was developed.
Large and very comfortable with lots of fun spaces, on the menu was braised pork butt over polenta – yummy!
Time to head south on Route 100 (the backbone of Vermont) to Weston (no I will not tell you again that I was first there in my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster in 1963 spending an evening with Vrest Orton, the founder of the “original” Vermont Country Store). There was the Inn at Weston – another “first” for me.
On writing this, I realize we never got to see any rooms. Our hostess, Linda, was cordial and immediately said, “let me tell the chef to get your food ready.” Shortly we sat down to mini crab cakes with a roasted red pepper coulis and wild mushroom and ricotta on crostini.
Wow — the inn has a full restaurant, and hours vary with the season and the performances at the famous Weston Playhouse. Here are two more images here:
Back down Route 100 to Londonderry, and left on Route 11. Then right onto Magic Mountain Access Road. Magic Mountain was a failed ski resort, but I read this past week that new owners are opening the mountain this coming weekend. The facilities and surrounding properties are dated and have seen better days. A short way up the access road was our next stop Blue Gentian Lodge. Lisa and Ken have been here since 1994, and are a lovely couple. Lisa’s cut paper ornaments are amazing, and you should turn up the few hundred yards off Route 11 and see her work.
Here are samples of her amazing craft – worth seeing.
This tree represents the Twelve Days of Christmas – wish I could have captured it better for you.
And, one of Lisa’s tree ornaments
Our next stop – number 8 – was the Stone Hearth Inn and Tavern in Chester.
Again, I just realized that we did not see any rooms, but we were getting “inned out.” After a short walk around the first floor we settled into the tavern with wine, and soon Tara’s husband joined us . His horse and donkey are boarded for the winter on the adjoining property.
There was no time left for Inn Victoria in Chester, or The Grafton Inn in Grafton. Some of you may know the special place the Grafton Inn holds in my heart – I would not be in the wonderful place I am in, if it were not for an overnight my late-bride and I had there. But, my friends and I will get back in the next week or so to see the fabulous decorations there. In fact, here we are in the Phelps Barn Pub just a year ago (after Christmas at Plymouth Notch).
Well, I got home a tad after 6PM tonight, and now it is almost 11:36. I have fun reliving my adventures and experiences while preparing this posts — for myself — but to share. This was the first year for the Inn-Dulgence Tour, Okemo Valley, Vermont. It was fun, and I hope it was successful for the Inns involved, and they continue again next year.
RAY RECOMMENDS – Experience what our local Vermont Inns have to offer – just follow the list here.
Thanks for the trip, Ray. It had always occured to us that living in Vermont meant never being able to VISIT Vermont – or stay in a Vermont country inn. You have Inn-Dulged an unindulged desire of ours. We have always eyed the Castle, for example, driving by, thinking … nah. Now that we live in NH, maybe we should indulge ourselves in person and not feel ridiculous driving just down the road to spend the night.
Wow, Ray! Loved it!!
Wow, Ray great job. Almost like being there again. You rock!!
This is really helpful to me, because I sometimes have family from out of state come for a visit, and they need a place to stay–but also want to do come New England-ing while they’re here. I didn’t know about any of these inns. Thanks!
What a wonderful adventure, loved the photos too!
How beautiful. Food, exciting rooms in the inns and friends.
Amazing decorations. trees and all.
Ray, you are living a wonderful life and retirement. Enjoy and thank you for sharing.
Great pictures, as always but I especially appreciate the Christmas decorations! It really helps get me in the mood as I sit here and write my Christmas cards today. You’ve come a long way from using Vista for your first blog post way back in 2011….. (yes, I clicked on the link and reread the post)
Fran and I enjoyed your Inn-Dulgence Tour. Aware of some (most) of the places you visited but had not been inside many of them. Thanks for sharing your adventures.