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Quintessential Vermont mountain charmQuintessential Vermont mountain charm

Mount Snow, VermontMount Snow, Vermont

In southern Vermont, the Mount Snow area offers year-round recreation and scenic beauty. Sugar maples blaze like fire in autumn and then give up their sap in late winter, from which Vermont produces its legendary maple syrup. Enjoy winter or summer sports in the refreshing air. Beautiful historic inns, many of which offer fine dining, are scattered throughout this idyllic setting. You might not even want to rent a car, since there is a free shuttle service, the MOOver, or “cow bus” as the locals call it (it’s painted like a cow). Some of the lodgings will pick you up from the airport if you ask. Both West Dover, adjacent to the airport, and Wilmington, six miles south, are charming villages with historic buildings and shops.

  • A cross-country skier passes in front of the Hermitage Inn. The Hermitage Club’s fully marked and maintained 9-mile trail offers the opportunity to explore Vermont’s beautiful Deerfield Valley. Whether you want to challenge your pace on skis or go snowshoeing, the trails are accessible to all. Photo courtesy Hermitage Club.
  • Aerial photo of the Hermitage Inn, in background, and its Carriage House, across the courtyard and adjacent to the barn and horse pasture where Will and Bill, a pair of giant Percherons, live (they’ll take you for a sleigh ride). The Carriage House has four luxury rooms, a common area and a kitchenette. Guests will enjoy access to the Carriage House Pond, hiking and biking trails, and it’s just a short trip up the driveway or across the courtyard to dining and other amenities found within the main building. Photo courtesy Heritage Club.
  • The Hermitage Golf Club’s well-manicured par 72 course was designed in 1972 by acclaimed architect Desmond Muirhead. The course offers natural rolling terrain along with expansive views of the Green Mountains on nearly every hole. Target landing areas, strategic bunkering, and small undulating greens provide ample challenges. Photo courtesy Hermitage Club.
  • Pedal on local roads or the mountain bike trail system, including the 9-mile Crosstown Trail. The Hermitage Club provides complementary bikes and adult helmets to members and guests. Sign in for bikes at the Hermitage Inn or Sawmill Inn. Photo courtesy Hermitage Club.
  • On Haystack Mountain you can hike to beautiful Haystack Pond. Photo courtesy Hermitage Club.
  • Guests at the Hermitage Inn can enjoy fishing in the Carriage House pond, which is fully stocked with trout. Poles and select lures are available upon request. Coldbrook, which flows under a nearby covered bridge, is also a local favorite for native brook trout. Photo courtesy Hermitage Club.
  • The Hermitage Inn recently redesigned its menus to focus on classically prepared, French-inspired, Vermont country cuisine. Food is prepared with the freshest, most locally sourced and finest ingredients available. Dining is available in the bistro pub, restaurant and private dining room, as well as the wine cellar. Photo courtesy Hermitage Club.
  • The Mount Snow Resort was developed in the early 1950s and named for the land’s previous owner, Reuben Snow, a farmer. Through the decades, the resort has changed hands and grown considerably, but the name remains, as does the bliss induced by beautiful scenery. Photo courtesy Mount Snow.
  • Mount Snow has major snowmaking capabilities and you can ride the quad lift in covered comfort. Photo courtesy Mount Snow.
  • Mount Snow corduroy: for the snowboarder and skier alike. Photo courtesy Mount Snow.
  • Go skiing! You never know what might happen at Mount Snow. Photo courtesy Mount Snow.
  • Sometimes, nothing beats a big cup of hot cocoa, topped with whipped cream. Photo courtesy Mount Snow.
  • The Grand Summit Resort Hotel, at the base of Mount Snow, is the only ski-in, ski-out lodging in the valley. 196 charmingly appointed rooms, studios, and multi-room suites are perfect for a romantic getaway or hosting family and friends. Photo courtesy Mount Snow.
  • In summer, Mount Snow becomes a mountain biker’s paradise. Photo courtesy Mount Snow.
  • At the Snow Goose Inn, country-style rooms are decorated with comfortable antiques and feature plush linens; some also have wood-burning fireplaces and two-person Jacuzzi tubs. Your breakfast will begin with freshly-baked muffins, seasonal fresh fruit, and a selection of teas and coffee, followed by a hot entree. Afternoons by the fire include complementary wine and Vermont cheddar cheese. Photo courtesy Snow Goose Inn.

Deerfield Valley Regional Airport lies in a shallow canyon in Vermont’s Green Mountains. Winds can be squirrely here, so check both windsocks and be prepared for crosswinds that tend to dissipate as you descend below the surrounding trees. The 2,650-foot runway is plowed, although it’s best to check if there’s been a recent snowstorm and watch your wingtips for snowbanks beside the runway. Since the taxiway doesn’t parallel the entire runway length, you might need to back-taxi part way. There’s a landing fee and no fuel or tiedowns (bring your own). Enterprise can provide a rental car if you want one.

While in the area, you’ll run into the name “Hermitage Club” repeatedly. The club purchased not only the airport but also several area inns and slopseside townhomes and offers a plethora of activities on and around Haystack Mountain, including snowmobiling, sleigh rides, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and ice skating (alpine skiing is members-only). Warm-weather activities include golf, hiking, fishing, boating, tennis, mountain biking, and a kid’s summer camp. The Hermitage Inn is known for its decoy duck collection and gallery of Michel Delacroix prints. Miles of hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country trails begin right outside the inn, which also offers exceptional fine dining. Built in 1915, Wilmington’s elegant White House Inn is only five miles away from the Hermitage Club’s 18-hole championship golf course.

Jac and Dan, the Belgian draft horses of the Adams Family Farm, can take you dashing through the snow to an old log cabin where you’ll warm up by the wood stove, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, and sing along with the vintage player piano. Photo courtesy Adams Farm.

One of the largest ski areas in the East, Mount Snow Resort boasts 20 lifts, a vertical drop of 1,700 feet, 600 skiable acres, state-of-the-art grooming, and eight terrain parks for snowboarders plus a superpipe with 18-foot walls. March brings fun freestyle ski and snowboard events. In summer, the resort becomes a mountain biking paradise. Just across the street from Mount Snow’s second entrance, the Timber Creek Cross Country Ski Area offers fine Nordic and snowshoeing trails for all abilities. Want to try snowmobiling? You can access Vermont’s statewide trail system from the Snowmobile Tour area at the Mount Snow resort. Numerous lodging choices can be found around Mount Snow, but for ski-in, ski-out convenience, choose the Grand Summit Resort Hotel. Onsite, you'll find Harriman’s Farm to Table restaurant, with live music on weekends. Besides skiing, they have virtually every outdoor activity imaginable such as mountain biking, hiking, golfing, scenic chairlift rides, to indoor activities such as a full-service spa, fitness club, outdoor heated pool and hot tubs, arcade, and kid's activities.

In Wilmington, the Adams Farm is open year-round with seasonal activities that include paintball and a kid’s farm camp. This seven-generation family farm has operated here since 1865. In winter, Belgian draft horses will pull you through maple groves on an evening sleigh ride. Visitors can feed the animals, go fishing, learn how maple syrup is made, take a guided horseback ride, or shop at their farm store for meats, maple syrup, sauces, and Vermont gifts.

Visit the friendly animals at the Adams Family Farm. You can visit and feed the donkeys, cattle, pigs, a variety of goats and sheep, chickens, rabbits, pony, cats/kittens, dogs, and an alpaca. Photo courtesy Adams Farm.

Kids love the pizza and arcade games at the Last Chair Bar and Grill, two miles south of Mount Snow, while the grown-ups go for the raw bar, craft brews, and ribs.

Love to stay at a B&B? Just a mile from the airport, the newly renovated Inn at Sawmill Farm offers cozy rooms, many with wood-burning fireplaces. Deep within the woods, the Snow Goose Inn offers privacy and a chance to walk along a small, private stream. For those who prefer being up above the terrain with a great view, Deerhill Inn provides all that plus afternoon tea or wine, as well as the sumptuous breakfast. The romantic dining room’s seasonal menu features local produce and carefully sourced, hormone-free meat and fish. Its wine cellar has earned the coveted Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 12 years running. With your airplane, it’s easy to visit Mount Snow; make this the year you discover the true Vermont.

Snowmobiling tours, always exhilarating, also can offer great views. Photo courtesy SnowmobileVermont.com.

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Crista Worthy

Crista V. Worthy

Crista V. Worthy has been flying around the United States with her pilot-husband Fred and their children since 1995, and writing about fun places to fly since 2006. She has single-engine land and sea ratings. Her favorite places to explore are the backcountry strips of Idaho and Utah's red rock country. She currently lives in Idaho and serves as editor of The Flyline, the monthly publication of the Idaho Aviation Association. To suggest future destination articles, send an email to [email protected]
Topics: US Travel

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