America's Best Country Inns and Hotels

What: Deerhill Inn
Where: West Dover, Vermont

The pitch: The Deerhill is in the southernmost part of Vermont—a straight shot north from New York City and the rest of the metropolitan area. So it quite consciously caters to stressed-to-the-gills city types with the comforting air of a grandmother: We know what you need, it says: Quiet time. In the summer, that means a shaded porch facing an immaculate garden and a small, welcoming pool; in the winter, a fireplace and chessboard in the common rooms. Yes, the prototypical stuff of New England inns. But owners Stan Gresens and Michael Allen, two ex-Bostonians who bought the former ski lodge in 2002, know their audience. They've stocked the 14 rooms and upstairs library with thought-provoking books, back issues of the New Yorker, and copies of the Sunday Times. They've decorated the place in an "eclectic country" style with found items (antique rocking chairs, hand-sewn bedspreads) but manage to avoid knickknackery. And naturally, they serve up indulgent breakfasts and dinners, but not the leaden French toast or not-so-prime rib you've suffered at other B&Bs. Michael, a chef, is responsible for the walnut-and-spinach bread, sweet berry pastries, layered eggplant-and-goat-cheese appetizer, saddle of lamb in red wine sauce, and wild mint ice cream.

The details: The Tamarack room is our favorite, with a super-sized bed big enough to sleep on sideways, a gas fireplace set in stone, and a bathroom that manages to feel both New England elegant (an antique end table serves as the vanity) and indulgently modern (a rain showerhead the size of a huge sunflower). There's a TV and DVD player, too, but they're hidden in a cupboard.

The killer app: The hilltop location off a small side road. There's a sense of literally getting off the fast track here—the views of the Green Mountains help. That garden and the wooden chairs strewn about outside encourage reading or quiet contemplation. Just don't think about that Monday morning meeting.
–Jason Harper

Deerhill Inn
Tel: 802 464 3100
Doubles from $155; $275 for the Tamarack room

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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