History-rich Manchester, VT., isn’t too shabby a place to spend a ski weekend. Centrally located—10 minutes from Bromley and 20 from Stratton—Manchester’s inns are truly luxurious, and each comes with its own story. (Case in point: The Equinox Hotel would have been Lincoln’s summer White House but for that incident at Ford’s Theatre.) Over the past few decades, the town’s been besieged by an influx of outlet stores (including some high-end entries like Armani and Anichini), but the dining and cultural scene has never been better. Here’s where to stay for a bit of Green Mountain lore.
This colonnaded complex has evolved from the 1769 Marsh Tavern, which—seized from a Tory sympathizer mid-Revolution—survives at its core as an accomplished restaurant. In its current configuration, the hotel encompasses 183 rooms—the plushest are within the boutique-caliber Charles Orvis Inn—and superb facilities, including the Avanyu Spa (try the maple sugar scrub), a fitness room and a 75-foot indoor pool. Just one caveat: The lavish breakfast buffet in the vaulted Colonnade Room could seriously undermine your resolve to cut first tracks. $219—$929 per night; 800-362-4747; equinoxresort.com
Romance>The Inn at Ormsby Hill
Innkeeper Chris Sprague could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two. Every aspect of this 1764 mansion is impressive, and everyone who swung through the region, from Ethan Allen to Howard Taft, slept here at some point. Each room has its own personality (and fireplace and hot tub). Favorites include the Library, lined with first editions, and the Tower Room, with a view of Bromley. The breakfasts are legendary: Expect to savor the likes of wild-mushroom risotto and peach crisp with white chocolate sauce. $215—$335 per night; 800-670-2841; ormsbyhill.com
New England Ambience>1811 House
You could transplant this entire antiques-accoutered inn (once home to Lincoln’s granddaughter) to the American Decorative Arts wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, yet there’s nothing stiff about it. The rooms, with fireplaces and clawfoot tubs, suggest that our forebears didn’t have it so tough after all. But then, they didn’t have access to WiFi or the flat-screen TVs cached behind the artwork. Among other pleasures are the 90 single-malt Scotch whiskeys and Vermont microbrews stocked in the snug. $140—$280 per night; 800-432-1811; 1811house.com
>Johnny Seesaw’s Located 400 yards from the lifts but predating the resort itself, this 1920s dancehall at Bromley was once notorious for its “sin cabins—now converted to family cottages. The rooms, though nothing fancy, are homey, and the dining room is atmospheric, what with Russian logger Ivan Sesow’s original granite fireplace and a ’50s-style firepit. Rustic alcoves lend themselves to private time—especially once the kids find the game room with its pool table and pinball machines. $60—$180 per night; 800-424-2729; jseesaw.com