Updated: Sep 28, 2020
This evening I’m writing to you from the seat of my flight to Dublin, Ireland. A post about Ireland is sure to come, but tonight I want to share my recent trip to Manchester, Vermont with you! This was a very recent trip, I might add. I returned late Sunday evening from Manchester, worked Monday styling at Stonewall Kitchen, and today (Tuesday) I am already off again on my next adventure! This past week has been fun, but was full of organization and carefully scheduled days to make it all possible.
I’d been looking forward to my trip to Vermont for months – I planned it during the Summer, and had invited a few different friends, who all inevitably ended up bailing on the trip. I’m used to traveling by myself, and wasn’t about to miss my stay at the Taconic Hotel, especially since I've only been to Vermont 3 times in my life despite growing up in New England. How crazy is that?
I packed my bags the night before, worked a half day at Stonewall Kitchen on Friday, then dropped Gypsy dog off at my friend Kim’s house to spend the weekend with her puppy friend, Gracie. Soon enough I was on my way, up 95, to 101, to 93, to 89, and then to route 11 in Vermont. It was a long 4 hours including stopping for gas & food. I won’t lie, the last leg of the trip on Route 11 had my anxiety levels high; the road led me up and down the mountains, with sharp turns that were unnerving in the dark having never driven that way before.
I drove through Chester, VT at twilight and was charmed by the old fashioned main street with classic New England homes and storefronts. By the time I reached Manchester it was already dark, but the twinkling lights on the patio of the Taconic Hotel welcomed me, and I couldn’t wait to get settled in my room and check out the area.
Todd greeted me at the front desk and directed me to my room on the second floor. I immediately noticed the décor which had originally caught my eye on the hotel website and impacted my decision to book this hotel. The aesthetic is a blend of modern neutrals with mountain charm; Stone fireplaces, plaid cushions, clean lines and contemporary furniture. The halls are lined with large historical nature prints of birds and woodland creatures.
Upon entering my room, my favorite detail was immediately the matching chairs by the window; Neutral upholstery in a clean linen with slate plaid lines, and dark whittled wood arms and legs. They were paired with a complementary lightly patterned lumbar pillow. In my experience, most hotel chairs are stiff and uncomfortable. These were classy without being clunky, and extremely plush. Currently on my to-do list is to email the hotel and ask where I can buy my own version of this chair!
I wandered downstairs to check out the outdoor fire pit on the hotel patio. It was a chilly night, without many people outside. I sipped a glass of wine while huddled in my sleeping bag-like winter coat and enjoyed the quiet moments after my long day of working and traveling. Soon after, I went to the on-site restaurant “The Copper Grouse” for a cocktail and a light bite. I sat at the bar, and ended up chatting with a 70+ year old man for the entire evening. We were the last ones in the whole restaurant, closing the place down. These are the moments I enjoy most about traveling alone; In any other scenario, I wouldn’t have opened myself up to conversation with this stranger. I’m so glad that I did so; we spoke about his life in NYC in the early 70s, his acapella group from high school that almost made it on to the radio, his three former wives, and his best friend since his teens who was unable to make the 25th annual ski trip this year. I drank gin & tonic and ordered the butternut squash and Brussels sprout flatbread.
I stayed up later than I should have, enjoying the luxury of watching TV in bed – something I don’t allow myself to do when at home. I was regretting not bringing Gypsy Dog because the hotel is one of the most dog friendly that I’ve visited. I’d say every third group I saw at the hotel had a dog with them! I missed having my girl curled up against me when I fell asleep that night, but the bed was so comfortable that it didn’t take long to fall into a deep slumber.
The next day was a busy one. I knew that I had a lot to see with only one weekend to do it. I started my morning at "The Works," a local coffee and bagel shop along a rushing creek. I chose a table with a water view and wrote a few emails.
Next, it was up to the Hildene; The Lincoln family Summer home. I opted to walk the nature trails and didn't visit the house itself - a definite on my list for next time. The view of the Green Mountains was stunning.
I kept moving and found my way to a little thrift store on a back country road, followed by a genuine Vermont country store.
I was determined to find a covered bridge. Again, even though I grew up in New England I've only seen a few of these iconic treasures!
I headed back to Downtown Manchester for some lunch and was so excited to find "Cilantro" Manchester. I'll pretty much always choose tacos or a burrito bowl over any other lunch option. After lunch, I wandered the town and was in awe of all the adorable shops and buildings.
It was so nice arriving back "home" to the Taconic after a full day of exploring. My bed had been made, and I couldn't wait to jump back into it and reflect on the day by browsing through all of my photos.
The next morning I decided to treat myself to a lazy morning and order room service from "The Copper Grouse." It was a tough choice, but I went traditional with eggs-any-style, complete with all of the best breakfast fixings. My room was so cozy that I barely wanted to leave for my final day of adventuring!
Before leaving Manchester, I decided to squeeze in one more outdoor activity - something I hadn't done for too many years; Sledding! The Taconic offers a variety of sleds for it's guests, and I opted for my childhood favorite, the Flying Saucer. Just up the road from the hotel is an ideal hill. It was particularly icy that weekend, which allowed for tons of fast runs, and lots of slipping on the climbs back up! I had a blast flying down the hill with the beautiful mountain views surrounding me. It was a great way to wrap up my weekend!
Manchester, Vermont had been on my "Must Visit in New England" list for far too long, and I'm so pleased that I was able to cross it off my list with an amazing stay at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel. On my way out of town, I stopped at a few of the popular outlet stores, which I definitely recommend! The Orvis Factory store had some amazing finds - a favorite company of mine which actually started in Manchester!
As always, please send me a message if you have any questions about my trip, and reach out to the folks at The Taconic if you're planning a trip to Vermont!