Thefirst time I visited The Pitcher Inn – with my then boyfriend, some 15-plusyears ago – we skidded off the road and ended up embedded in a snowbank. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful weekend and some years laterthat guy is now my husband and we’ve added two kids to the mix. Whenwe were discussing a New England winter getaway – this time as a group – voteswere cast for everything from snowshoeing to skiing off-piste tositting quietly by a crackling fire, enjoying fine food and a hefty dose oftranquility (my request). The Pitcher Inn, with its porches and gables (second picture),spacious suites and old-world feel, ticked all the boxes – and then some.
Inaddition to being located in the picture-postcard-perfect Vermont village ofWarren, complete with white church spires and a bustling general store, it isjust minutes away from the downhill runs at both Mad River Glen and Sugarbush,two of the east coast’s best ski resorts.
Aftera lengthy drive (Warren is five hours from New York, three from Boston) wearrived late at night to a glowing inn that exuded warmth andcharm. Originally a Civil War-era lodging house, the Pitcher Inn hasbeen refashioned by local architect David Sellers, and the old – 19th-centuryoil lamps, vintage lift booths and toboggans – are seamlessly mixed withstate-of-the-art technology and funky (at times) decor. Eleven guestrooms – each with a local theme such as Mountain (third picture), Lodge, or Ski (first picture; all from $325,including breakfast and afternoon tea) – offer vast beds with fine linens andall sorts of entertainments that kept everyone in our group thoroughlyamused. Ours was the Ski room and, with its leather couches, vintageartwork and ski gear, not to mention a profusion of rough-hewn wood beams andbirch accents, we felt utterly removed from city life.
Add toour luxurious surroundings incredible food and drink, and we’re talking oneseriously restorative weekend. There are several dining options butmy favourite was the casual Tracks tavern with its scrumptious Maplebrook Farmburrata with crostini ($14) and grilled-to-perfection Niman Ranch Steak withfries and aioli ($18). Despite its remote location, Vermont is agourmand’s paradise (there’s a profusion of great, locally sourced produce –artisanal bakers, cheesemakers and brewers abound). The fine dining, fire-litrestaurant, 275 Main, was excellent, too. Noted chef Sue Schicklerproduced indescribably delicious seared sea scallops with a pistachio-Englishpea salad and lemon beurre blanc ($16) that I shall not soonforget. I won’t drone on about the desserts, but suffice to say, thehand-churned ice creams and pumpkin pot de crème ($10) werebeyond compare.
Withendless hiking trails, charming antiques shops and challenging slopes allwithin a hop, skip and a jump, this quintessential New England town has much tooffer in any season, though I have a soft spot for a snowy winterstay. Regardless of time of year, what really sets The Pitcher Innapart is the cheerful Vermonter staff. A visit there feels much like staying atan old friend’s house, albeit in a bygone era.