Vermont State Ski Dorm
Vermont's Stowe Mountain Resort may be planning to turn its old base lodge into a museum honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) trailblazers who put it on the map, but you can still bunk down where the builders did back in the Thirties, a short stroll from the slopes. Now under the aegis of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, the Vermont State Ski Dorm was the original CCC lodge.
A few select artifacts-picks and saws-decorate the rugged common room, with its stone fireplace and quartet of saggy sofas. The two dorm rooms-one per gender-are chock-a-block with bunk beds. A large wood table practically fills the dining room, decorated with old CCC photos. Here, you can partake of unbelievable budget meals: a hearty $4 hot breakfast and, for an additional $6, the kind of dinner that dorm supervisor Greg Weston describes simply as "good and plenty"-chicken burritos, maybe, or whole-wheat pizza made from scratch. Since the mission of the new Corps, he explains, is to instill a sense of personal responsibility, guests are even welcome to cook their own meals.
As in most youth hostels, a daytime lockout is observed (9 am to 4 pm); unlike typical hostels, the dorm doesn't limit stays to a couple of days but has a generous three-week maximum. And you can reserve, without penalty, months in advance. Did anyone say spring break? Bunk beds cost $20 per night and there are discounts for groups and long stays.
Information: 6992 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vt. 05672; (802) 253-4010; or, e-mail email@example.com.
Okemo has a posh new neighbor in The Castle. The place itself isn't new to the region-then-governor-elect Allen M. Fletcher, a timber and quarry magnate, erected the massive stone showplace soon after the turn of the century-but the owners, Dick and Erica Hart, are. The couple-a former corporate attorney and industrial engineer, respectively, and the parents of five-prefers to characterize themselves as caretakers, having recently assumed responsibility for restoring this behemoth to its considerable original glory. The entry hall is as big as a bowling alley, bedecked, as are all the rooms, with ornate woodwork. In the intricately wrought oval dining room, native chef Michael Lawrence, who trained at Hemingway's near Killington, sets forth New American delicacies such as sautéed lobster with couscous and vanilla beurre blanc ($6.75) and duck breast with candied shallots ($20).
The bedrooms, most with a mountain view, are mammoth and decorated in assertive color schemes with lush Orientals and custom upholstery, much of it Erica's own handiwork. Six have working fireplaces, and a few come with marble whirlpools. After a day spent skiing like a dervish, there's nothing quite so satisfying as supping and sleeping like a pasha.
Rates are $145-$200/double room including breakfast. Midweek ski packages are also available.
Information: Rtes. 103 and 131, Proctorsville, Vt. 05153; (802) 226-7222 or (800) 697-7222, fax (802) 226-7853; or, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Chateau Resort
Camelback, Pa., skiers who like to roll out of bed and step outside to the ski lifts should consider staying at The Chateau, a resort and conference center conveniently located on the Camelback access road.The Chateau is an elegantly designed hotel with 152 new rooms. A blend of mountain hospitality, plentiful activities and stunning panoramic views promise a perfect beginning and end to a downhill day. After the last run, send the kids to the ski simulators in the game room. Then treat yourself to a massage, indulge yourself in the Jacuzzi or sauna or knock yourself out in the hotel's health club. The management group that bought the property in December 1995 has poured $1 million into improvements-and it shows. Our favorite was the waterfall and fish ponnd in the Mountainview Bar and Grill, where we feasted on spicy chicken fajita salad served in a crisp tortilla shell and delicious baby-back ribs.
Weekend ski packages, starting at $199, include a room with two double beds and two lift tickets. Midweek starts at $179.
Information: The Chateau Resort and Conference Center, 300 Camelback Road, Tannersville, Pa., 18372. (800) 245-5900 or (717) 629-5900. Or, visit the facility's Web site at: www.poconocentral.com/chateau.html.