‘The Castle’ in southern central Vermont is a little dip into old-fashioned luxury. It is a beautifully appointed restoration with an oval mahogany breakfast room and a library with supple leather couches, a big fireplace, and a grand piano. Its rooms are large and many feature claw foot tubs, writing desks, and fireplaces lit with candles as well as king-sized beds.
This was the former home of Vermont governor Alan M. Fletcher and was the first home to be fully wired for electricity and to have an elevator. It was an elegantly completed English Coltswood mansion.
We slept very well with the sound of wind rushing past the old stone walls. Another pleasure awaited us upon rising: a delicious breakfast in the luxurious breakfast room. There is a continental style spread and a couple features of the day – our choices were Belgium waffles or a mushroom quiche, and both were fantastic. The wait staff was very friendly, helpful, and genuine in true Vermont style.
The Spa at Castle Hill was one of the best features of this small luxury hotel– it is in the converted carriage house and there is a heated outdoor pool so you can swim year-round. The water is kept at 89˚ and the hot tub at 102˚ if you get a chill. Steam lifts off the top and floats up like clouds. Imagine the pool surrounded by snow as you dive in…
The friendly, helpful staff will offer you robes to wrap yourself in for the walk outside and back inside to the gym, sauna, and showers. They will also arrange a massage, facial, or other spa service for you.
We tore ourselves away from the spa long enough for an afternoon drive to Woodstock and Bellows Falls along scenic route 131 that winds through mountains and rivers. Woodstock is billed as the quintessential Vermont small town – which is true in a way, but it also creates expensive café’s and shops that are geared towards tourists. In Bellows falls (7 miles further), next to a roaring waterfall – there is an expensive pottery and glass blowing studio that is another popular place to visit.