Warren, Vermont

Photo: The Pitcher Inn
Photo: The Pitcher Inn

The holidays are over. It’s time to get rid of the tree, put away the festive decorations, and finish the last of the gingerbread cookies. But wait. Maybe you shouldn’t eat the rest of those sweet treats. You did resolve to return to the gym after the new year, and five days in, you’ve yet to put on your sneakers. It could be time to switch your exercise routine . . . by hitting the ski slopes in Vermont.

Warren is located in Central Vermont at the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest. The whitewashed village was named after a Revolutionary War patriot. Grain and lumber mills, as well as cattle and sheep farms, were built along the Mad River in the 19th century. Today, the tiny town is home to less than 2,000 people. It’s known for its maple syrup, access to the Long Trail, nearby ski mountains, and an adorable inn on Main Street.

The Pitcher Inn was built in the Civil War era as a lodge for wagon drivers. When you arrive, the porch is still decorated with garland and white lights. Oil lamps from the 19th century glow at the entrance. A big fireplace crackles and hisses. While a fierce-looking taxidermied black bear stands in the lobby. Each of the inn’s eleven rooms is unique. Given your goal for the weekend, you selected the Ski Room, which looks like a ski resort’s base lodge, with a vintage ticket booth, old ski posters, and a brick-and-stone fireplace. Birch tree branches grow through the ceiling. Plus, a “Let It Snow” pillow sits on the bed. You can’t wait to hit the slopes in the morning.

Photo: The Pitcher Inn
Photo: The Pitcher Inn

After a relaxing breakfast featuring warm scones, freshly squeezed juice, and classical music, you’re ready to go. Sugarbush Resort, on the north side of Lincoln Peak, is the third-largest ski resort in New England. It’s considered a true skier’s mountain, with steep slopes, fall-line drops, and lots of natural snow. Mad River Glen, in nearby Waitsfield, is more rugged and unpolished. The capital of free-heel skiing is one of only three ski mountains in the entire country that doesn’t allow snowboarding. While cross-country and snowshoe trails  meander through the thick wooded glades at the base of the mountains. There are plenty of options to get your heart rate going.

When the lifts close and it starts to get dark, return to the Pitcher Inn to let your fingers thaw. All of the fireplaces are roaring. Afternoon tea is set out in the library or local beer and good bar food is served in Tracks Lounge. While your room has a jacuzzi tub, a steam shower, and an espresso maker. Once you’ve warmed up, go downstairs to 275 Main. One of the best restaurants in Vermont features local ingredients: bresaola, corn chowder, Gaylord Farm heirloom tomato salad, and roasted duck breast. Chocolate truffles are waiting upstairs when you sleepily go up to bed.

Before you leave the next day, get up bright and early for a few more hours of skiing. A dusting of freshly fallen snow covers the well-groomed trails. Stop at American Flatbread for pizza by the fire pits for lunch. Then stock up on maple syrup, local cheese, and Vermont beer at the Warren Store on your way out of town. The goodies will hold you over until your next ski trip.

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