Photograph: Kelly Fletcher
Above: Four Columns Inn in Newfane, Vermont
Perhaps you, like us, have planned on getting away each fall to enjoy the unique display that Mother Nature serves up to us hardy New Englanders. It’s as if she’s trying to apologize for the winter she’s about to send by creating a sweeping tableau of crimson, orange and yellow. We make plans to slip into a comfortable sweater, grab a book and a camera and head north crossing Vermont’s wooden bridges until we find the deep peace that has drawn so many before us. But the chaos of back-to-school, back-to-work and well, real life foils the best-laid plans. This year, consider making the relatively short trek to Four Columns Inn in southern Vermont.
Just a three-hour drive, the bucolic village of Newfane, home to Four Columns, is like a vintage painting of small-town New England—chock-full of white-clapboarded, black-shuttered Greek Revival buildings and set at the foothills of the unspoiled Green Mountains. There are also lots of great activities—golfing, skiing and the arts and culture scene in nearby Brattleboro. Guests head to Four Columns to embrace everything that makes Vermont, Vermont.
Most media like to tout the inn’s famous guests as a reason to visit. Not us. Mick Jagger may have slept here, but let’s be honest, he fathered his eighth child at the age of seventy-three; he has slept many, many places. We head to Four Columns for comfortable elegance. It is owned by Greenwich resident Charles Mallory, who also owns the Delamar Hotels in Greenwich and Southport. Originally built in 1960, the property recently underwent a massive renovation. There are now fifteen luxury rooms and one stand-alone farmhouse for larger groups. There’s a pond between the hotel and the house; you’ll also find a huddle of Adirondack chairs around a fire pit just waiting to be lit. A hammock rocks near the river and 138 acres of New England woods surround you.
To get up close with nature, hit the well-marked hiking trail.
However, you might not want to leave your cozy room. We suggest booking a Williamsville or Windham room. Both feature clawfoot tubs, walk-in showers and double-sided fireplaces. Every bed has a plush pillowtop and is sheeted in the finest of French linens. According to general manager Nick Squire, the service is both discreet and luxurious. They know you’re there to unwind and are happy to meet whatever need you might have—from a blanket for snuggling by the outdoor fire to a gourmet meal created to meet your dietary needs.
Of course the best reason to venture outside is for a trip to the spa. In warmer months you can enjoy the luxury of a massage in the crisp mountain air. Don’t worry, it’s all private, they construct a cabana-style tent that lets the fresh breeze in but keeps everything else out. Whether you take your relaxation indoors or out, the menu of services and treatments is impressive. Thai Yoga massage or craniosacral therapy anyone?
At Artisan you’ll find the true meaning of farm-to-table (roots that date back to the 60s). Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer and Chef de Cuisine Erin Bevan work with thirty local farms, sourcing almost everything they use for their seasonal menus locally. Artisan perfectly reflects the vibe of the Inn—relaxed sophistication at its best.
RATES START AT $650 PER NIGHT IN THE FALL. BREAKFAST IS INCLUDED, AND THIS IS NO BORING BAGEL AND ORANGE JUICE AFFAIR. (FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS ARE WELCOME AND FOR OUR FANCY ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS FRIENDS, THERE’S A TESLA CHARGING STATION ON THE PROPERTY.)
Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer and Chef de Cuisine Erin Bevan
• Salmon with tricolor cauliflower
• Pansotti with ricotta, bitter greens, walnut pesto, lemon zest and Parish Hill Reverie cheese