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Is there anything more picturesque than winter in Vermont? Quaint villages, gorgeous scenery and some of the best skiing in the East make for a winter vacationer’s dream. Despite its relatively small size, there’s a wide variety of lodging options available in this snow-capped wonderland. Whatever you have in mind for your wintertime trip, Vermont probably has just the thing.
Best Overall: Killington Grand Resort Hotel
Killington is the largest ski resort in the East. With trails ranging from beginner to double black diamond, as well as half-pipes and terrain parks, it offers skiing and snowboarding options for every level of skier. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, tubing and an alpine coaster offer additional outdoor options. The Killington Grand Resort Hotel is located right on the mountainside, and though it’s not true ski-in/ski-out, it’s only about a 500-foot walk from the hotel door to the base of the Snowshed Lifts. A complimentary shuttle runs skiers to the base of other lifts, as well as nearby Pico Mountain.
The hotel is a casual full-service hotel with a wide range of off-slope amenities: restaurant, coffee shop, game room, lobby fireplace, fitness center, sauna and spa. Rooms are decorated in a minimalist version of lodge style, with rich colors and wooden furniture, and each room has free Wi-Fi and a TV with a DVD player (there’s a DVD library available). Suites and penthouses include kitchenettes, and adjoining rooms are available for families visiting together.
Best Ski-In/Ski-Out: Jackson Gore Inn
Jackson Gore Village is one of the base villages for the large, beautiful Okemo Mountain Resort, and the Jackson Gore Inn is the central property. This hotel, styled as a contemporary country inn, boasts a wide range of amenities: on-site child care, indoor and outdoor heated pools and hot tubs, a sauna, an exercise room, multiple restaurants and a spa. Basic hotel-style rooms are available, but consider upgrading to a studio for a private fireplace and kitchenette.
The real attraction at the Jackson Gore Inn is for skiers, who’ll enjoy some of the most convenient slope access in Vermont. The Coleman Brook Express Quad is just steps from the door, and if you prefer one of the other areas of the mountain, a convenient shuttle will drop you there. A complimentary ski check and combined lift packages round out the deal and make for a simple, ski-heavy vacation in a cozy location.
Best Budget: Sugar Lodge at Sugarbush
This classic country lodge is conveniently located in the heart of Central Vermont, putting guests within an hour’s drive of five major ski resorts, and particularly close (just a half-mile) to the extensive trails at Sugarbush Resort. Mad River Glen, a legendary traditional skiers-only mountain, with some of the cheapest lift passes anywhere, is also less than ten miles away.
Sugar Lodge offers simple, clean rooms, both basic and suite-style (the latter have kitchenettes and small dining areas), with comfortable beds all around. A great room in the lobby has a fireplace by which guests can thaw out while sipping something from the beer and wine bar. There is no restaurant on site, but there are lots of takeout options in the village of Waitsfield. A hearty complimentary continental breakfast is offered each day, and once you’ve filled up, you can jump into the free shuttle to the slopes.
Best Luxury: Stowe Mountain Lodge
Swanky Stowe is the Vermont destination of choice for skiers who enjoy extra touches of luxury and glamour, and the Stowe Mountain Lodge takes it to the next level. Guest rooms are decorated with nature in mind, and are individually appointed with furniture made of Vermont wood, as well as marble-tiled bathrooms, deep soaking tubs, LCD flat-screen televisions, and, of course, gorgeous views of the mountains. Suites offer in-room stone fireplaces.
Amenities include an on-site full-service spa, gourmet and casual restaurants, a heated year-round indoor/outdoor pool and hot tubs, turn-down service, special programming for children and easy access to all of the amenities of Stowe Village. Skiers, in particular, will enjoy the ski valet service and the easy ski-in/ski-out access to the mountain.
Best B&B: Inn on Covered Bridge Green, Arlington
If skiing isn’t the goal of your wintertime Vermont trip (or even if it is, but you’d rather avoid the resort scene), consider a stay at this gorgeous B&B in Arlington. Once the home of painter Norman Rockwell, whose charming and thoughtful paintings graced the cover of the Saturday Evening Post and offered gentle commentary on American life, this historic property is a place to take a peaceful, cozy escape from the everyday.
Stay in one of the individually-decorated guestrooms in the main house and enjoy an en-suite bathroom with a two-person spa tub (some rooms also have fireplaces), or stay in Rockwell’s own studio, a standalone building with a massive north-facing window for maximum natural light. As it is a true bed-and-breakfast, guests at the Inn on Covered Bridge Green enjoy expansive and delicious hot breakfasts daily.
Best Boutique: Tram Haus at Jay Peak Resort
Jay is the northernmost ski resort in Vermont, sitting just four miles from the Canadian border, and it gets the most natural snow of any resort area in the state. It is a particular favorite for skiers who enjoy off-piste and backcountry skiing, as Jay Peak has a notoriously relaxed policy on these. Other attractions include a full-sized ice hockey rink (with a fairly packed game schedule) and a massive indoor waterpark. Restaurants, shopping and other outdoor activities are also on offer.
The properties on the resort are their own attractions, and Tram Haus is a particular favorite for those who like boutique touches on their vacation rentals. Tram Haus is an all-suite property, with kitchens or kitchenettes in each unit, and true Vermont touches in the décor: Johnson Woolen Mill blankets, spruce headboards, Vermont-themed photographs on the walls, locally made bathroom fixtures, and even maple sap spouts for coat hooks. It’s charming, but also very chic, not to mention an excellent value.
Best for Families: Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe
Owned and operated by the Von Trapp family of Sound of Music fame, who settled here in Vermont after falling in love with the mountain views that reminded them of their Austrian home, the Trapp Family Lodge has a fantastic old-world flair. Rooms and suites are both available, including family-style suites with twin beds for kids. The decor combines rustic lodge-style Americana with a Tyrolean flair, and each room is fully unique.
Nearby Stowe Mountain Resort offers extensive downhill skiing options, but the Trapp Family Lodge is better-known for having some of the best Nordic/cross-country skiing trails in the country. 60 miles of groomed trails offer days’ worth of enjoyment for both skiers and snowshoers of all ages. Among other family-friendly features are an indoor pool, a rock-climbing wall, daily guided family activities (baking, arts and crafts, and more), and — of course — music classes and group sing-alongs. Multiple on-site dining options make feeding the kids easy, too.
Best Romance: Edson Hill, Stowe
If your idea of a romantic getaway includes a fireside snuggle session while snow falls gently outside (whose doesn’t?), put Stowe’s charming Edson Hill on your list. Each of the 23 rooms at this secluded manor house and accompanying guest house is individually designed with a combination of antiques and contemporary furnishings, all with comfort and style in mind. Each room bears a name that is also a tiny motivational message (“Let it Be” is a fireplace room with a king bed and a soaking tub in the guest house; “Onward & Upward” is a gable-roofed king with a daybed in the manor house) and the innkeepers will gladly help you choose one that best suits your style.
A hot and plentiful breakfast is complimentary for guests and the inn also serves gourmet dinners, restaurant style. The menu changes seasonally but includes dishes like venison carpaccio, braised lamb stew with seasonal vegetables, as well as squash and goat cheese lasagna. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be enjoyed on the property, and downhill skiers can find their bliss at the nearby Stowe Mountain Resort.
Best Spa Resort: Woodstock Inn and Resort
If you’re looking for that iconic storybook New England village, you’ve found it in Woodstock. It’s easily one of Vermont’s prettiest towns, and the Woodstock Inn and Resort is at the heart of it. This beautiful inn features fireplaces in every room, handmade wooden furnishings by local artisans, and warm, contemporary country decor. While the inn is charming and historic, the spa is chic and new. It’s a LEED-certified facility with ten individual treatment rooms where guests can get massages, skin treatments, reflexology and reiki treatments, waxing, as well as salon services. It’s a luxurious way to spend a winter day.
Woodstock Inn and Resort is just minutes from the Suicide Six ski area, which welcomes both skiers and snowboarders. Its location at the heart of the village of Woodstock means that great boutique shopping, restaurants, and art galleries are just steps away.