Outside magazine, February 1994
Inns & Lodges: Blueberry Hill, Vermont
By Adam Horowitz
Upon reaching the small clearing amid the forested peaks of Vermont's Green Mountains, after five miles of jouncing along under the evergreen canopy on Forest Service Road 32, you might swear you've stumbled onto some rugged individual's hard-won inholding rather than one of New England's homiest backcountry retreats. It's not until you get within eyeshot of ye olde sign--and notice the folks scurrying into the woods with nordic skis strapped to their feet--that you realize you've reached a cross-country epicenter, a hearth-warmed version of grandmother's house at the conflux of a 50-mile web of trails.
Were Blueberry Hill just an inn, a night would still be nearly worth the $210 you'll pay for a double in winter. The 12 rooms, though a bit small, come with antique furnishings, handmade quilts, and private baths--and without radios, TVs, or phones. Morning coffee is served next door in the greenhouse, hors d'oeuvres by the sitting-room fireplace, four-course dinners in the candlelit dining room.
But those of us not inclined to hide from winter are glad that the inn is in fact more than an inn. Just across the driveway is the Blueberry Hill Ski Touring Center, where guests and locals can buy or rent skis and boots, have their own boards tuned, or simply ask for advice. The center organizes technique seminars, waxing clinics, and races (including the annual Blueberry Hill Marathon, coming up on the sixth of this month); its guides will take you out for just $15 per hour (advance reservations required). Neophytes should consider the aptly named six-mile Beginners Loop; their more advanced companions might try to tackle the 900-foot climb of the Halfdan Kuhnle Trail, which runs four miles from the southeast side of Hogback Mountain to Vermont's famed Long Trail.
Blueberry Hill is located between Vermont 125 and Vermont 73 in the northern section of Green Mountain National Forest, which means there are plenty of opportunities nearby for alpine skiers, too. Sugarbush Valley Ski Area is 40 miles away, and ten miles beyond that is Mad River Glen, arguably the most challenging downhill terrain in the East.
The inn's winter rates include breakfast, dinner, and trail fees. A midweek special offered in March drops the rate to $168 per night for a double and throws in ski rentals and one group lesson. Blueberry Hill requires a two-night minimum stay in winter. Call 800-448-0707 for reservations.
Copyright 1994, Outside magazine