Killington and Woodstock – Vermont, U.S.A.

The King of the East Coast Mountains, and Royal Inns

The Aspen of the East Coast, Killington isn’t the classic and romantic Vermont ski destination (for that, you must head to Stowe), but it’s the first to open (late October) and the last to close (May). It also boasts a vertical drop just inches less than Aspen’s, has some of the most high-tech snow-making equipment, and is within driving distance of the major cities of the Northeast.

Unless you’re a twenty-something board enthusiast, though, Killington’s big-and-brash aesthetic might wear thin after a few great runs. If so, escape to nearby, Christmas-card-perfect Woodstock, a cosmopolitan small town that claims the title of oldest ski resort in America, and site of the first ski tow. Laurance Rockefeller married the granddaughter of a railroad baron and Woodstock conservationist in 1934, and together they spent the next sixty years making Woodstock the “prettiest small town in America,” according to Ladies’ Home Journal.

Among other things, they built the rustic but genteel Woodstock Inn and Resort on the village green in 1969, incorporating the 1793 Richardson’s Tavern. It operates the Wbodstock Ski Touring Center, with almost 40 miles of groomed cross-country trails, and the misleadingly named Suicide Six, with downhill slopes and twenty-three trails. Amenities at the inn itself are top-drawer, but with 142 rooms it cannot promise intimacy. For that, drive down the road to exclusive Twin Farms, New England’s most luxurious resort inn.

Secluded amid 300 stunning acres of woodlands and expansive meadows, the former 18th-century sanctuary (which Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sinclair Lewis gave to his wife as a wedding present in 1928) offers incredible art, clairvoyant service, unforgettable meals and wines, and fifteen individually designed guest rooms, with working fireplaces and a decor of eclectic treasures collected from around the world – all for a daily price just under the GNP of some small countries.

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