This past weekend my husband and I escaped to Vermont for a toddler-free weekend at one of the area’s most storied properties: Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont. With a plan of doing nothing but relaxing, we set forth towards a weekend of quiet repose, and okay, maybe a bit of that Relais & Chateaux-style indulgence. Alas my husband, nor myself, are the type who find repose in sitting still. We like to be active, but in my case, at my own discretion. Luckily, that’s exactly what Twin Farms delivers. From the complimentary mountain bikes, which we hopped on immediately after unpacking, to the Japanese Furo (a hot stone bathhouse with forest views) to the canoes on the pond, we were flooded with physical options, yet compelled to do nothing, but what we desired.
After check-in we were driven to our cottage, “Treehouse“, by the affable steward, Blake, who took the short drive time (2 minutes) to explain the way the resort works. An all-inclusive property, the 20-room, 300-acre estate operates on a daily dining schedule with set menus (guests fill out food allergy and aversions on dossiers prior to arrival) utilizing the fresh ingredients from the farm’s considerable vegetable garden. He told us that all activities are complimentary and that anything we need (including the popular turndown request of a plate of freshly baked cookies and a bottle of Baileys) is just a phone call away. I recall my smile widening with each of Blake’s examples of Twin Farm’s service-oriented ambiance.
Given my obsession, er, profession, I was eager to check out our guest room cottage. We were fortunate enough to be booked into one of the ten eclectically designed cottages by Jed Johnson. Characterized by its oriental furnishings and décor accents (check out the twig-made window treatments), swirly mahogany four-poster bed and forest-thick views, Treehouse was wonderfully spacious and welcoming. A nice lived-in feel permeated the room without it feeling worn. Much to my joy, the bed was nothing but feathers and a huge center lump in the mattress begged for my inevitable flop. The bathroom was equally roomy, with a generous sunken tub set under a window (alas, the view was of the driveway) and a separate walk-in shower with slate flooring. Despite its traditional look and appeal, the room features all modern necessities like TV, a DVD player, a Bose stereo with iPod hookup and WiFi, though, fortunately, all Viagra 100mg of it is discreetly tucked away. We didn’t turn on the TV at all, preferring to enjoy the room’s more atmospheric amenities, like the wood burning fireplace that required but a strike of a match to be set perfectly ablaze.
With Saturday afternoon and a full day of free time on Sunday before us, we eagerly set about discovering the property’s ample acreage. We hopped on bikes and hit the trails, only for me to quickly realize how hard Mountain Biking uphill truly is. The downhill bits, however, were a glee-inducing good time. Afterward we rewarded our effort with a visit to the tucked-away Japanese Furo. Surrounded by wooded views, the serene indoor bathhouse was an exceptional relaxant and surprisingly mini-cultural escape. Zen, indeed.
The following day we set out on a late-morning hike and pre-ordered a picnic lunch to be set up on the mountaintop table for a 2pm arrival. If you do but one thing during your stay at Twin Farms – make it this. What a fantastic reward to an hour and half long hike! Upon arrival the table was laid out with a packed basket revealing pre-packed quinoa salads, quail, lobster tail (this is a Relais & Chateaux remember) and individual blueberry crumble cakes with fresh whipped cream. Let’s not forget the water and chilled bottle of Fume Blanc. Luxury is a pre-packed gourmet picnic prepared, and subsequently cleared, by someone else. Add in a captivating view, and well, you’ve got the trappings of a spectacular al-fresco afternoon.
Between three square meals (breakfast and the signature soufflé pancakes was our favorite), outdoor pursuits like canoeing, fly-fishing and swimming and chatting with fellow guests over s’mores by the resort’s fire pit, I barely made in a dent in my book – my presumed core activity for the weekend. However, I cannot recall coming off a weekend feeling more restored than I did after our visit to Twin Farms. If anything, it confirms my belief that the best form of relaxation comes when one is somewhere beautiful and decision making is confined to a palatable smattering of pleasant options.
ROLLIN’ WITH NOLAN TIP: A five hour drive from New York City, the trip up to Twin Farms is undoubtedly a bit of a trek. Fortunately there are various charming spots to stop along the way and help break up the lengthy road trip. One such place is the General Store in Brattleboro, Vermont, conveniently located right off the exit on 91. I recommend popping in there for lunch or even an energy (caloric) infusion by way of the gigantic, freshly baked molasses cookies.