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Pitcher Inn: Warren, Vermont

GET A LIFT: the Ski Room at the Pitcher Inn in Warren, Vermont (left). DRINK IT IN: The Pitcher Inn is 100 percent pure Vermont (right).    

5. PITCHER INN :: WARREN VERMONT
It may be over the river and through the woods, but this stately Relais & Châteaux inn, which dominates the tiny village of Warren in central Vermont's Mad River Valley, is most definitely not Grandma's house. Sure, it's got the classic white clapboarding, broad front porch, and steeply gabled roof, but inside it's all sophistication and fun, thanks to the eccentricities of local architect David Sellers.
Room & Board: The inn's 11 art- and antique-filled guest rooms incorporate playful motifs—the Ski Room's quilt, for example, is a clever patchwork of vintage ski jackets—without, amazingly, becoming hokey. Dinner is served in the formal dining room; the innovative menu features Vermont specialties like lamb sausage and cheddar cheese, local organic produce, and an astounding 580-bottle wine list. Treatments at the inn's airy new 3,000-square-foot spa include hot-stone and couples massages.
Out the Back Door: The town's covered bridge is the starting point for pedaling the pastoral 15-mile East Warren Loop in leaf-peeping season. In winter, head to nearby Sugarbush or Mad River Glen for challenging glade skiing. And for an even greater adrenaline jolt, ride the rocket sled, a strap-in toboggan invented by Sellers, down the closed-in-winter Lincoln Gap Road.
Details: Doubles, $330–$600, breakfast and afternoon tea included; 888-867-4824, www.pitcherinn.com

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