Discover a side of Vermont you can’t see by car.
Vermont is the embodiment of quintessential New England. Small towns consisting of 200-year-old Victorian homes and weathered church steeples are scattered throughout the Green Mountains. Artists take inspiration from a backyard stream which becomes engulfed by vibrant reds and yellows each fall, while local chefs perfect their craft with locally sourced ingredients.
Many drive through the state, stopping at various points of interest along the way. But leaving the car behind for a relaxing stroll through the countryside allows visitors to truly slow down and experience the region in its simplest form. The self-guided Inn to Inn Walking Tour in southern Vermont allows just that — participants walk at their own pace, experience four different inns, become integrated into the ever-changing scenery and explore a variety of small towns.
“It’s not about the pubs, church steeples or the inns. It’s about the walk through the country. You don’t have to worry about anything — there’s no rush. This is as quiet as it gets.”Daniel Cote, owner of Inn Victoria
During the tour, visitors walk 40 miles over the course of four days — an average of 10 miles per day — on gravel roads and footpaths, following tranquil streams through forests and meadows before arriving at the next inn.
The participating inns assist with arranging logistics, providing meals (including trail snacks for the walk) and meeting the needs of individuals throughout the day.
Each inn — like the sections of the walk itself — has its own distinct feel and place on the tour, giving tour participants a diverse taste of classic Vermont.
The longest-running member of the Inn to Inn Walking Tour, the Inn Victoria is a classic New England Victorian style inn located in Chester, Vermont. Chandeliers illuminate the dining hall, which is decorated with various tea kettles and other charming decór. The rooms designated for tour participants boast a fireplace and double jacuzzi, and share a hot tub on the back porch.
The walk: At approximately 13 miles, the stretch between Inn Victoria and the Golden Stage Inn is the longest. But you’ll soon forget the distance while wandering along Vermont’s wooded gravel roads, admiring the forest’s deep greens and enjoying the sounds of the wildlife that call these forests their home.
Golden Stage Inn
This rural farm stay was originally built as a stage coach stop in 1788 before serving as a private residence for well over a century. In 1970, the historic establishment was converted into an inn, which sits on five acres of verdant property — complete with fruit trees, gardens and a bridge over a brook. A handful of sheep and hens also call this property their home, helping maintain the rural farmhouse feel.
Before you head out on the next stretch of the walk, be sure to stop by Singleton’s General Store for a cold drink, snack or simply to poke around.
The walk: The walk between the Golden Stage Inn and the Pettigrew Inn is at a slightly higher elevation than the previously described stretch, and has open meadows with sweeping views of Okemo Mountain and the surrounding hills. A short side trail takes you up to The Pinnacle, which offers panoramic views of Okemo Valley.
Located at the base of Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, the Pettigrew Inn embodies a classic bed and breakfast in a true Northeast mountain town. This 150-year-old mill town has been transformed into a four-season getaway, complete with shops, restaurants and award-winning dining options. Upon entering the inn, visitors are greeted by a dining area imbued with natural light from the many large windows. The rooms in which walking tour guests will be staying have their own jacuzzi tubs, and the inn also has an outdoor hot tub, garden and a porch, perfect for enjoying your morning cup of coffee before setting off on the next stretch. The Pettigrew is also the only inn on the tour with a beer and wine license, so sitting down to relax with a glass of wine in the evening couldn’t be easier. (Though, all of the other inns are great for BYOB options).
The walk: When walking from the Pettigrew Inn to the Colonial House Inn, visitors start off with a short, but scenic drive to the designated starting point. At less than 7 miles, this is the shortest stretch of the tour, which allows for plenty of time to explore the shops and restaurants of Weston and the iconic Vermont Country Store. As you walk, you’ll admire mansions perched on various ridges and hills — not an uncommon sight in this part of the state.
Colonial House Inn
This rustic inn-converted-farmhouse — located just outside the historic town of Weston — has been owned by the current family for 40 years. Old growth wood floors and log support beams give the inn a true country barn feel, while maintaining a welcoming sense of hominess. Magic and Stratton Ski Areas loom in the distance, with the meadows surrounding the property offering a perfect vantage point. On a clear night, the sky puts on a show, uninterrupted by the lights of any surrounding towns.
The walk: Also starting with a short drive, the stretch between the Colonial House Inn and the Victoria Inn has the most remote feel. The route follows a country stream the entire way, perfect for cooling off during the midday sun. The final section ends on an actual hiking trail, affording a true backcountry feel.
Book the tour:
The Vermont Inn to Inn Walking tour, which costs $1,498 per couple during the spring and summer and can be booked here, includes four nights, each at a different inn, meals, logistical arrangements, transportation, service charges and gratuities.
The Amtrak Vermonter offers service from Penn Station to Bellows Falls. Arrange a pick-up ahead of time with any of the inns on the tour.
Feature image courtesy of Vermont Inn to Inn Walking
Josh Laskin is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. When he is not at work or on the road, you can find him in the mountains snowboarding, climbing, hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, and eating bagel bites.