Merci, Montréal - Pitcher Inn
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Merci, Montréal

We’re heartened by a recent write-up about the inn in the Montréal Gazette, the only English language daily newspaper in Canada’s second-largest city. Travel writer Rochelle Lash reflects on her recent visit to the inn:

It’s a quintessential country inn, with a twist.

Warren, Vt. has been on the map since 1789, but it is the posh Pitcher Inn that has put the hamlet in the tourism spotlight for the past 25 years. It’s shining particularly brightly at the moment, with its new Canadian-at-par special for the month of February.

The Pitcher Inn is a quintessential Vermont country inn, with a twist. It is a white clapboard classic surrounded by snowy mountains, dense forests and rushing waters, but the textbook style ends there. The authentic, one-of-a-kind establishment is filled with handsome antiques, whimsical curios and rare craftsmanship.

Featuring vintage walls of stone and brick, plus 13 wood-burning fireplaces and stoves located throughout, the Pitcher Inn positively glows with warmth. With luxurious interiors, personal service and gourmet dining, it’s a great place for sporty getaways, special occasions or romance.

“Guests have said they feel as though they are enjoying a friend’s country home,” said Tracy Kelly, the maîtresse de maison. “It is a wonderful place to relax and unwind.”

What to do: I am fascinated by the town of Warren, which is tiny but totally fulfilling. Main Street is home to only four select enterprises. In addition to the sublime Pitcher Inn, they’re all must-stops: hearty soups and sandwiches and yummy pastries at the Warren Store, a dash of culture at Art in the Village, and treasure hunting at Someday resale boutique.

If you are compelled to swim or have a workout, guests can use the very complete Sugarbush Health and Racquet Club.

I wanted to spend all day lounging at the Pitcher Inn, but it’s hard to pass up Vermont’s exceptional sports. Sugarbush Resort is an Alterra Mountain Company area affiliated with Tremblant through the Ikon Pass. With 111 trails and 16 lifts on two towering peaks, it’s one of New England’s biggest and most adventurous ski areas. I set out on a bluebird day (that’s ski-speak for sunny with vivid blue skies) and happily tackled cruisers, glades and bumps.

Interiors: The Pitcher Inn is filled with fine collectibles, including vintage oils and photographs, and modern works curated by Edgewater Gallery of Middlebury, Vt., which also presents exhibitions and lectures.

The inn has nine spacious guest rooms (no children) and a couple of two-bedroom suites in an adjacent building (children welcome). Each has a Vermont theme, such as Trout, Mallard, Ski or Hayloft, with exceptionally detailed decor to match. You’ll find fishing flies, duck decoys and old ski maps, all turned into objets d’art. Two rooms are named for former U.S. presidents Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur, both Vermonters.

“One of my favourite rooms is School,” said George Dorsey, who recently bought the Pitcher Inn with his wife, Gale. “It has a beautiful porch and nostalgic elements of a rural schoolhouse.

“But throughout the building, the history is precious.”

The accommodations have deeply comfortable beds and down pillows. Some have fireplaces, or balconies overlooking a branch of the Mad River. The bathrooms are thoroughly modernized, and stocked with natural toiletries from Whisper Hill of Quechee, Vt. All have soaking tubs with jets, and many have high-tech steam showers.

Cuisine: Executive chef Jacob Ennis brings extensive experience from the Vanderbilt Grace in Newport, R.I. and several Relais & Châteaux properties, including the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport and the Wauwinet in Nantucket.

The stately 275 Main is an elegant country dining room with fine landscape paintings, candles atop white tablecloths, elegant Windsor chairs and large windows. The menus change, but you might luck into steaks done on a wood-fired grill or meat roasted on a spit in the open fireplace. Other choices might be an elk burger, porchetta with chestnut stuffing or seared tuna.

Tracks is a woodsy tavern with massive stone walls, rustic furniture and a taxidermy zoo of snarling bobcats and wolverines. The casual menu might include a Cuban sandwich, a platter of smoked meat (prepared in house), cheese or charcuterie.

The ingredients are sourced from Vermont farms. Ennis tends bees and raises chickens, and his suppliers include foragers who stop by with surprises like forest mushrooms, sarsaparilla, ginger or ramps.

The Pitcher Inn will have a Valentine’s evening on Feb. 14, and it holds World Wine events almost monthly. Next up is France on March 16.