The Pitcher Inn Passport – Mallard Room
We love giving tours of The Pitcher Inn. One of our favorite things to do – when availability permits – is giving tours of our fabulous guest rooms. Often, folks will form a deep connection with a specific room and plan their vacation around the availability of their home away from home. We adore this sense of ownership that our friends develop. It’s our dream to give the opportunity to all our followers, friends, and family. We’re starting this series to share the fascinating history and design of The Pitcher Inn. Follow along and find out all the details of your future favorite room.
Designer: Jim Sanford of Sanford & Strauss Architects
The Mallard Room takes you into a duck blind — the original concept has the light slowly rising over the horizon as the sounds of the marsh become louder and ducks and geese can be heard until the loud bang of a gun shoots down your dinner, making it land on the bed in its raw form. At this point, an enormous wet Black Lab bounds into the room and licks you awake.
Alas, it became necessary to trim back on this design. Nonetheless, the room is full of decorations that are significant to the experience and tradition of waterfowling both on Lake Champlain and Vermont’s inland waters. There is, unfortunately, no way to capture the incredible feeling of the marsh just before sunrise in November. The sounds, light, smells, moist air, and the unbelievable feeling of excitement just can’t be duplicated in a room of any kind.
But the Mallard Room comes close to the real thing. The decorative grass woodwork surrounding the room, along with the lifelike Canvasback Drake and Merganser Drake decoys (both by Gary Starr) make you feel as if you are submerged in the marsh. Gary was also the mastermind behind the Canada goose overhead (connected to the weathervane on the roof) and is responsible for the ducks on the bedposts. Of the well-known decoy carvers of Vermont today, Gary’s simple, graceful interpretations are some of the best.
Waterfowling would not be complete without the hunting equipment. From left to right in the glass case are a pump Marlin Model 43, side-by-side classic Lefever Nitro Special, and a Remington Sportsman. The Lefever Nitro Special is a gun that is used heavily in the blind and uplands, making it a necessity to have in the case. All three guns are 12-gauge shotguns and predate the new popular use of the “ski cannon 10s.”
-Maggie Smith, Owner, 1997
The Mallard Room is one of my sleeper favorites. There’s something about the hazy morning painted effect on the gentle arch from wall to ceiling; the strip lights that provide a gentle glow behind the carved reeds; the grounding wood wainscoting adding a sense of being in hiding… It’s a tremendously relaxing room. The huge window, frosted with reeds to continue the trend, overlooks our backyard and a crab apple tree which blooms a beautiful white in the springtime.
Although it doesn’t boast a fireplace, steam shower, or porch, I think there’s a lot to be said for the deep leather sofa (pullout, making it a fabulous room for parents traveling with a child) and ample floor space. There is space to spread out without sterile or melancholic austerity. With the great big king bed, with larger-than-life carved duck heads at the bottom post, there’s a little bit of fairy tale feeling to Mallard. Shotguns aside, there’s more than a bit of Swan Lake present.
By their nature, each room has its own quirks that a thoughtful host will warn their guests about. As is our habit, the quirks are typically built-in and planned. The Canada Goose often changes course several times a day, a martyr to the weathervane on the roof overhead. “Not a ghost, not a fan, just the wind,” I warn when introducing our guests to the Mallard Room. If I don’t, I’m sure to get a call later that evening asking how to turn off the fan, or an ‘I don’t believe in ghosts, but…” It’s very relaxing though – once you’re in the know – reclining on the couch with a book, only to become momentarily distracted by the goose turning slowly in the breeze above.
-Mimi Bain, Inn Manager 2019