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Ski it if you can
GETAWAYS • Vermont
As the air turns cooler and the winds off the East River sharper, the mind turns to winter getaways. In New England, there’s no better choice for me than the Mad River Valley — specifically the postcard-perfect town of Warren, VT. There, a short drive from the bases of Sugarbush and Mad River Glen, sits the platonic ideal of a Vermont country hotel: The Pitcher Inn.
On my first visit in the early aughts, I stayed in Mountain, a room with rustic ceiling beams and vintage wooden snowshoes on the walls. Each of the hotel’s rooms is themed and decorated differently, a design idea that could go far awry in the hands of a bad designer, but plays as extreme charm here. In subsequent stays, I’ve enjoyed Ski (birch branches, wooden skis, a roaring fireplace) and Trout (fish reliefs carved in wood, a collection of canoe paddles). There are eight more rooms to explore, plus a brand new, private three-bedroom house.
The inn’s restaurant is casual but elegant and worth a visit (a local friend tells us there’s a new chef this season working magic). The region’s can’t-miss, though, is the original American Flatbread, which serves incredible pizza in an atmospheric barn in Waitsfield, about 10 minutes up the road from the Pitcher. To make it work, pop by around around 4:30p to put your name in, then return later to stand around the bonfire and claim your spot in front of the roaring oven. It’s the best après-ski this side of the single chair. –Lockhart Steele