A Perfect Weekend: Wilmington Valley

In southern Vermont, this scenic valley stretches from the historic town of Wilmington north (along Route 100) eight miles to West Dover. Historically, several ski areas operated in this area but today only Mount Snow and the private Hermitage Club have lift-served skiing.  Mount Snow is a sure-fire scene come spring, especially at its Carinthia terrain parks where some of the nation’s best freeskiers and riders throw huge airs.



Once known as Haystack Mountain, the Hermitage Club is now a members-only ski resort  but if you can secure an invite, its tony, wood-paneled base lodge and crowd-free ski trails are a luxury.  Assuming you have an Epic Pass, ski Mount Snow’s 85 trails, 83% of which are covered by snowmaking.

For  bit of luxury, check into the Hermitage Inn. Once part of the Hermitage Club and then abandoned, the inn and its 112 acres were bought by a couple from Boston, Mary Lou Ricci and Tim Hall, who set out to renovate the property. They transformed the interiors with an eye toward quiet luxury. The inn reopened in late 2021. Many of the rooms in three buildings (the historic inn, the Carriage House and Coldbrook building) have fireplaces and start at around $500 a night. There’s also a small spa area where you can book a massage ($165 for an hour) with an add on of CBD oil  ($50) to relieve your sore muscles.

A Vermont classic, the Hermitage Inn has been completely renovated but retains its heritage.

One of the Hermitage Club’s most unique features? Refurbished gondola cars for private dining outdoors. Set just off the inn, each gondola is heated and has been refitted with leather banquettes, wood tables, and a chandelier. After skiing, reserve one for an après-ski alpine fondue experience ($75 per person) that comes with a glass of Franciacorta sparking wine. Executive chef Chris Bonnivier has also created a prix-fixe ($150  person) five-course dinner that is served in the gondolas. Inspired by Italy’s Piedmont cuisine, it starts with fondue and ends with decadent desserts.

The wine list has earned the restaurant awards from Wine Spectator. If you are in the mood to celebrate you will find an extensive list of exceptional sparkling wines.

For apres-ski, it’s hard to beat fondue and good wines, served in the Hermitage Inn’s outdoor gondola cars.

The valley also has a handful of other posh inns such as the White House, a stately historic mansion once owned by a lumber baron with views that stretch out across the valley, an excellent Italian restaurant and rooms that start at around $283 a night.


Start the day at Dot’s of Dover for apple cinnamon French toast with local maple syrup.  Then head to Mount Snow. If you don’t have an Epic Pass, be prepared to pay $135 or more (buying online, ahead of time) for a Mount Snow lift ticket. Ski the mountain but don’t miss Bruce Jacques hilarious concerts at Cuzzins (3:30 to 7:00 pm on most Saturdays) at the base.

Chocolate chip pancakes at Dot’s of Dover.

If you have backcountry gear and the snowpack is solid, explore the new glades that Southern Vermont Trails Association has been developing in the Stratton Town Forest or that the Dutch Hill Alliance of Skiers and Hikers has maintained on the abandoned trails of the old Dutch Hill ski area in Readsboro.

PizzaPalooza and Beer Naked Brewery sit atop another former ski area, Hogback Mountain, on Route 9 in Marlboro where you can drive up to the summit, ski down, and then skin back up for a brew and a slice.  For more local brews, try Snow Republic Brewery’s or head to Wilmington to Valley Craft Ales.

Just down the street, Alpenglow Bistro serves excellent Alpine fare, including fondue. From there, walk to The Vermont House, a lovely Colonial, recently refurbished whose  rooms start at $128 midweek.

Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.