Twin Farms | Most Expensive Night in New England?
Midweek winter nights aren’t crowded, which is why we have the wine cellar to ourselves. During the busy summer and fall seasons, most guests eat in the dining room, which means that the dinner-in-a-meadow rumor is an exaggeration. But it’s not unusual to stumble across a picnic lunch waiting for hikers atop the ski hill, and the kitchen can accommodate any dietary preference. One legendary regular guest subsists entirely on quail eggs and sashimi, weighed to the ounce and ready for her arrival.
Our first dinner is a Vermont-inspired five-course feast. The bread, butter, squash, game, mushrooms — even our plates and some of the wines — are local. We sit, rosy-cheeked and happy, on a banquette lined with down cushions, surrounded by 2,200 bottles of wine under a vaulted brick ceiling. This display is a small sampling of the inn’s 26,000-bottle collection; if we want to grab a bottle and take it back to our room, we’re welcome to do so. We end the meal with a sampler of eight Vermont cheeses and some more port, and when we step out into the cold night, the full moon is shining so brightly off the snow that, but for the call of our king-size featherbed, we nearly set off on a moonlit walk through the woods.
Mornings at twin farms can begin in one of two ways: in your room, where a breakfast of fresh fruit, muesli, yogurt, croissants, muffins, scones, grapefruit, broiled oranges, coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice is delivered on fine china; or up in the main house, where an even more sumptuous display awaits. When a nearby guest jokes, “No Pop-Tarts, huh?” the waitress answers brightly, “No, but we can have them for you tomorrow, if you’d like.” The British chef, Neil Wigglesworth, was lured to Twin Farms from the famed Point in the Adirondacks.
Once we’ve breakfasted, we opt for a snowshoeing trek, followed by some cross-country skiing. With few guests to care for, our rec staffer, Josh, acts as a private guide for the day. All of the equipment we need is kept on-site, and we pass a happy day along the marked trails. We don’t have to worry over maps, mind the trail blazes, or keep track of time — Josh has it covered. As we circle the property, I realize that there is something deeply soothing about confining your existence to just a few hundred acres. I also realize that I haven’t felt this cared for since I was a child.
We end the day at the furo, a deep Japanese soaking pool kept at exactly 104 degrees. It’s enclosed in its own little house, with sliding windows that open out on the dimming woods. Our fellow guest the bank chairman has already alerted us to the secret furo code: If you want privacy, leave your car parked out front. And so we have the place to ourselves until it’s time to dress for dinner.
All day we have been hearing news of an approaching blizzard, and as we walk up to the dining room, big puffy flakes are slowly drifting down from the sky. It’s the kind of snow that clings to pine boughs, crunches underfoot, and softens the edges of buildings. The whole world has gone soft and white, and we’re giddy as we sit down to dinner, this time an eight-course Tuscan feast that begins with crusty semolina rolls and continues on through Chef Wigglesworth’s interpretation of “spaghetti and meatballs” — truffled noodles topped with Cornish sausage balls, everything rich and deeply woodsy. With each course comes a different wine and a gentle coaxing. “You’re almost there!” our waiter, Eric, says. “Just three more courses to go.” By the time we reach the buttermilk panna cotta, we are nearly paralyzed with pleasure, and we sit in front of the enormous fireplace in the Barn Room giggling helplessly as we try to contrive ways to return here every fifth anniversary. Surely, the promise of that alone could sustain a marriage through a lifetime.
Morning sun, our last hours in Eden. I peer out the front door to see that the paths have already been shoveled, the car swept off. Of one thing, I am sure: More than a thousand dollars per night is surely excess, yet for all the luxury resorts I have visited before this one, I haven’t met any that left me so at ease. If the cost of two nights here equals a week’s vacation for two in Florida, I’m not sure I’d pick the latter.
We take breakfast in our room, and I head out for one last cross-country ski. On the fresh powder, my usually timid legs easily follow the hill’s terrain, and I coast downhill at a speed that would typically send me jerking back in terror. The ground passes underneath, the sun shines off the snow, lunch is waiting at the bottom of the hill, and here, I know, any fall will end in a soft landing.
Stage Rd., Barnard, VT