When searching for the ideal spring break, people instinctively look south, toward palm trees and talcum powder beaches. However, two of the most romantic escapes in the Western Hemisphere are actually situated up north and offer a level of gastronomy, pampering, scenery and excitement that surpass anything you’ll find on Worth Avenue, with the added benefit of built-in social distancing. Twin Farms, in Barnard, Vermont, is a Relais & Châteaux property that defines a new level of luxury and sophistication.
[Editor’s note: As of press time, Atlantic Canada is still closed to foreign visitors due to COVID-19, but a representative of the tourism board hopes that it will open up by late spring.]
Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont
Our idea of a perfect getaway is maximum privacy in a magnificent setting while getting everything you want before you even know you want it. Twin Farms, a 300-acre, adults-only, all-inclusive retreat in Barnard, Vermont, boasts 20 unique accommodations originally designed by the late famed decorator Jed Johnson. Cottages range from a trout-themed Adirondack-style hideaway to an Arabian Nights, tented-ceiling folly, and the art on the walls is museum-quality, so you might well find a David Hockney or Roy Lichtenstein hanging over your bed. The main inn, where cocktails and meals are served, is a 1794 farmhouse that was once the weekend getaway of famed author Sinclair Lewis. Chef Nathan Rich performs magic with local, seasonal ingredients, and menus can be tailored to each guest’s individual preferences. He’ll also happily pack a picnic lunch or deliver it to your room. Going for a hike? Tell him your destination, and he’ll have it waiting at the spot with a superb white wine, perfectly chilled, from the inn’s 15,000-bottle cellar.
From martinis on your screened-in porch to Champagne and croquet on the lawn, bee-keeping tours of the resident apiary or fly-fishing instruction on the private pond, it’s as if the staff can’t dream up enough ways to spoil the guests. The inn’s activities run the gamut from canoeing or skating on Copper Pond to downhill skiing on its private slopes (no lift lines!), cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, hiking, biking, tennis and more. A traditional Japanese furo (soaking tub) and a topnotch spa offer a balm to the body, while the pristine views of quintessential Vermont scenery offer a balm to the soul.
One of Twin Farms’ signature touches is a large selection of Stave puzzles: diabolically difficult, hand-cut jigsaws that come in boxes without a photo to guide you and will keep you delightfully flummoxed throughout your stay. Should you decide to leave the property, it’s an easy (downhill) bike ride to Woodstock, one of Vermont’s most picturesque and charming towns, with galleries, book shops and a classic general store dating to 1886—F.H. Gillingham & Sons. The town green and covered bridge are as iconically New England as it gets, while a visit to Billings Farm and Museum offers a glimpse into the state’s famed dairy industry. One of the principal reasons Woodstock resembles a 19th-century postcard is that longtime resident Laurance Rockefeller paid to have the utilities buried underground, so there isn’t a telephone pole or electric wire in sight. Rockefeller’s homestead, which is open for tours, has magnificent gardens and an important collection of paintings from the Hudson River School. Slightly farther afield is the quaint town of Quechee, home of the Simon Pearce factory, where you can enjoy a delicious lunch overlooking a waterfall and watch glass-blowers creating masterpieces. However, there really isn’t any reason to leave Twin Farms, where you can sit outside in solitude, sipping your adult beverage of choice and basking in the moonlight in Vermont.