Ski Town Secrets: The East
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BRETTON WOODS, N.H.
In the 19th century, there were many grand resort hotels in the mountains of northern New England, but now only one remains: The Mt. Washington Hotel & Resort (800-258-0330). The grand dame is a National Historic Landmark. Until now, the hotel has only been open in summer. Thanks to extensive renovation, the hotel will open for the winter season for the first time this year. Now’s the time to book a room and contemplate a February run down Tuckerman Ravine while the kids hang out on tamer slopes less than a mile away at Bretton Woods.
The Back Behind (802-422-9907), at the junction of Route 4 and 100 South, is the closest thing to a good neighborhood bar that you’ll find in Killington. Locals congregate here to schmooze and enjoy some of the best surf and turf in the area. Bonus: Great local microbrews and-better yet-a crowd that knows it’s not 18 anymore and doesn’t pretend otherwise.
LOON MOUNTAIN, N.H.
There is no place quite like the Sunny Day Diner (603-745-4833) to fuel up on Eggs Benedict or Banana Bread French Toast before a day spent braving the New Hampshire winter. Housed in a classic Fifties diner in Lincoln, N.H., the Sunny Day Diner is an area standout for food and atmosphere.
MAD RIVER GLEN, VT.
There’s still time for you to own a piece of a ski area. In order to keep the East’s most stubbornly independent ski area out of the grip of developers, the Mad River Glen Cooperative (800-850-6742) has been selling shares of the mountain. The remaining 350 shares, priced at $1,750 each, are payable in full or on an installment plan. Shareholders get a ton of perks, including a 10 percent to 20 percent discount on season passes, not to mention bragging rights as part owner of one of the most fabled ski areas in the state.
MONT ST. ANNE, QUEBEC
“La Belle et La Bete” is what Mont St. Anne calls itself. But just 30 minutes from “beauty and the beast,” you can luxuriate in the stone-walled comfort of Auberge St. Antoine (888-692-2211). This stylish retreat in the heart of old Quebec overlooks the St. Lawrence River. Beamed cathedral ceilings, whitewashed walls and antiques are what you’ll find here, and the city’s best bistros are just a few doors away. Doubles from $97, including breakfast.
SMUGGLERS’ NOTCH, VT.
No better time than a ski vacation to learn how to take care of sore muscles. Let Sally Zabriskie (802-253-6819) be your teacher. On her menu of lessons: Self-Shiatsu, stretching and direct pressure techniques used to stimulate the flow of Qi through meridians. Another option is the resort-operated Self-Help for Aching Bodies (802-644-1262). Learn about foot reflexology, trigger-point therapy and other massage techniques, so you can identify hot spots and diminish headaches and back and neck pain.
Skiers worn out from tearing up the bumps on Starr and Goat should book LaStone Therapy at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa (800-253-2232). A hot stone massage that opens your body’s energy channels by combining Swedish massage and the placement of hot and cold basalt river stones will stimulate your circulatory system (80 minutes for $110). Even New-Age skeptics leave with an irascible grin.
Heading to Stratton? Think Italian. La Pista (802-297-2343) in the village is a great new Italian bakery, serving espresso, cappuccino and outstanding pastries. For dinner, it’s Portobello’s (802-297-6143), a much-needed addition to the Stratton dining scene. The varied wine list and fresh seasonal cooking will please any palette.
The après-ski scene at the Hyde Away Inn (802-496-2322) is without a doubt the area’s best-not just for the Long Trail Ale, but because the male:female ratio is blessedly even (a rarity in ski country).
SUNDAY RIVER, MAINE
Just 25 minutes frrom Sunday River in sleepy Waterford, check out the circa 1797 Lake House (800-223-4182), where chef-owner Michael Myers serves delectable roast duckling and filet mignon in his charming eight-room inn. Call in advance, book a room and stay for the night. At $95-$150 per night for two, including breakfast, it’s one of the most charming deals around.