Yes, You Can Have an Apres-Ski Feast in Your Very Own Heated Gondola
It’s just one of the adventures on the menu at Vermont’s Hermitage Inn.
Picture this: You just wrapped up a full day of skiing or gliding across powdery trails in snowshoes. Your cheeks are still red from the cold wind; you can barely feel your hands. The first order of business? A trip to the hot tub or sauna at the Hermitage Inn, an 1800s hotel that was recently renovated by its new owners. The next? Heading outside yet again, because it’s apres-ski time—and on this day at least, you have your own private food-and-wine gondola waiting for you.
The Hermitage Inn might not be the first to serve meals in a decommissioned gondola (see: the Ocean House in Watch Hill, the Kennebunkport Inn and the Boathouse in Kennebunkport), but it certainly offers one of the coziest experiences we’ve seen. Heated and furnished with chandeliers and comfortable banquettes, the gondolas here offer two dining possibilities for groups of up to four people: a 3 p.m. apres-ski seating ($75) and a 6:30 or 6:45 p.m. dinner seating ($150). Both Piemonte-inspired menus include warm, gooey fontina fonduta accented with shaved truffles and a glass of Franciacorta sparkling wine; dinner is naturally the more-filling choice, offering a pasta course (we’ve got our eyes on the campanelle with vension ragu) and hearty entrees such as herb-roasted pheasant with polenta and a soft-poached egg. If you prefer to eat fully indoors, the inn also has two other options: the more-casual Tavern and the Birches Dining Room, where executive chef MacGregor Mann can really flex his culinary muscles.
Of course, soul-warming dining experiences aren’t all you’ll find here. Outside, there’s an on-site ice-skating rink (bring the kids!) and picturesque snowshoeing trails. Inside, you can warm up with a private dessert class with the inn’s pastry chef, Maya Hayes; a hot-stone massage at the spa; or just a relaxing evening in front of the fire in your own guest room. Because at the end of the day, that’s what you’re really here for: cozy Vermont winter vibes, inside and out.
The Hermitage Inn, 25 Handle Rd., West Dover, 802-464-4300, hermitageinn.com.