He surprised me with a card on a Friday night.
Inside were cutesy vague instructions: I had 24 hours to pack, and 48 hours of a romantic Vermont getaway to look forward to.
Hotel not yet disclosed.
After 20 minutes of me begging for a hint (delaying “vacation-gratification” is not my forté), he smiled and said two simple words: “Twin Farms!” My ears couldn’t process those two bucket list phrases. Twin + Farms. Was I dreaming? Somebody pinch me please.
Twin Farms may be a small, intimate inn, but it packs a big punch of hotel star power.
The countryside retreat has won Forbes “Hotel of the Year 2020,” snagged the #2 spot in Travel and Leisure’s “Top 10 Resort Hotels in the Northeast,” and won Condé Nast’s #1 Resort in the Northeast: Reader’s Choice Award 2021.”
Guests come here to experience a "5-star-luxury- meets-L.L-.Bean" way of life.
This 300-acre farm has private access to its own mountain, with plenty of activities to enjoy year round. There’s skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing in winter, followed by nightly s’mores by the fire. During warmer months guests can enjoy hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and even ax-throwing.
It’s where celebs unwind for pampered privacy, and where us common-folk adventure to if we’re craving some celeb-style treatment. The staff at Twin Farms aims to make each guest feel like this is their property, providing an uber-customized experience. Vegan marshmallows for the firepit you ask? Sure, they have that in rural Vermont. Do you fancy a picnic in the snow-covered mountains? They'll have warm soup, fresh salads, and pumpkin pannacotta waiting at the top in a cozy renovated ski hut. Craving some chocolate chip cookies? They're already in the room, with a glass of cold milk in the fridge. I’m pretty sure if I asked them to chase away a bear, someone would’ve done it (no bears actually sighted).
We walked the grounds on snow-covered trails, soaked in the Japanese bathhouse, cozied up in the reading nook by the fire, and lazily made our way to dinner where staff had memorized our favorite drinks. Despite the hotel operating at almost full capacity, we almost never saw another guest. Twin Farms felt like our home by the time we departed.
Although I usually relish writing about all things travel + kids related, this post is a small detour to tell all you moms and dads about this romantic Vermont getaway. If you’ve had this hotel bookmarked on your “A-mom-can-dream” list, then I can promise you it’s the spot you’ve been envisioning for your luxurious weekend away.
For your Planning Purposes
Getting there: Twin Farms is 5 hours from NYC, and 3 hours from Boston, Albany, and Montreal. You’ll need your own car, as it’s located in the remote area of Barnard, Vermont. Think of the drive as a romantic road trip through the Green Mountains!
Getting around: Once you pull into the resort, you’re done thinking about transportation. You really won’t want to leave! At any point, if you need a ride to another part of the property, the staff will take care of you.
When to visit & reservation tips: Reservations for the year open on January 5th. This is a popular spot for fall leaf peeping -- October 10th is peak color time! Twin Farms is also busy July-September, and during the holidays. While snow in December is hit or miss, it's safe to say you'll see fresh powder after mid January. We traveled during “mud season” (March), but luckily woke up to a winter wonderland of 5 inches of snow! Note: The resort is closed from end of March-end of April every year.
Who can you bring?: You can bring your (small) dog, but leave the young kiddos with Grandma for the weekend. If your kids are slightly older, you're in luck; Twin Farms will welcome children 14 years and up. While the resort used to host select family-weekends where all ages could attend, this is no longer an offered event.
Where is Twin Farms Located?
Twin Farms is located in Barnard, VT. During your trip, you’ll pass idyllic wood covered bridges, swing through charming Woodstock -- and just when you think you’ve made it to the edge of the countryside, the barn houses of Twin Farms will come into view.
This is the type of place where you’ll feel the chill of the mountain air blanket around you before you even open the car door. The farm is built upon 300 private acres of Vermont land, bisected by a rolling country road and long white fences. On one side of the property lies Copper Pond and a modern Farmhouse building, which accommodates 4 guestrooms. On the lower half of the property rests the Main Inn with more accommodations, the hotel restaurant and pub, a small spa and 10 stand-alone cottages.
The Story of Twin Farms
Twin Farms was a home before it was ever a hotel – and when you’re a guest here, that’s exactly how you’ll feel.
Immediately when you arrive, the land feels historic. This isn’t some pop-up boutique inn that scribbles “rustic” across the sign slogan and calls it a day. When you pass through the front gates at Twin Farms, you’re just dying to know the story behind the structure.
From the 1920's to 1950’s, Twin Farms existed as the home for Nobel Laureate Sinclair Lewis and journalist Dorothy Thompson. She promised to marry him if he found a place to live with fresh farm air – so, with a "happy wifey happy lifey" mentality, he purchased the plot for $10,000. It became a mecca of lively gatherings, where poets, politicians and creative thinkers gathered to wine, dine and party.
In the 1980’s the hotel fell under the watchful and whimsical eye of Thurston Twigg-Smith. As a lover of the outdoors, and having a natural hosting-spirit, Twigg envisioned his property as one day becoming, “The number one small hotel in North America.” Forty years and a Forbes “Hotel of the Year” award later, his dream smashed its way into the world’s hospitality spotlight.
Hotel Highlights For Couples
Here are some of the most memorable experiences couples can indulge in for their romantic Vermont getaway:
- Picnic at the top of a mountain - The hotel will arrange for an on-site picnic just about anywhere! We chose to enjoy a birthday lunch overlooking the mountains at the top of the resort’s private ski slope. Read on to learn more details about this experience.
- Enjoy the warmth in the Japanese Furo - After a cool mountain hike in the outdoor Vermont air, you can head to the Japanese styled bathhouse to warm up. It’s a toasty 104 degrees!
- Couples massages - Indulge in a relaxing hour together; if you don't feel like leaving the warmth of your room, the spa will set up massage tables right by your fireplace.
These hotel amenities were just some the highlights couples can look forward to. Keep reading to learn more details.
Is Twin Farms All-Inclusive?
When you plug your travel dates into Twin Farms booking calendar, your eyebrows may hit the ceiling a little; but, you can breathe a slight sigh of relief – the price includes food, wine, and most activities.
Are you ready to take advantage of everything they offer? If you’d like another entree, just order one up! If you’re in the mood for a wine tasting flight throughout your dinner service, go for it. Have an itch to do a quick ski run down the mountain? Your gear (and sled service to the top) is already waiting for you.
When you factor in the additional travel, food, activity, and tipping costs of other 5-star properties, the daily rate starts to balance(ish) out. Now, I’m not pitching this as a cost-saving resort – it’s definitely a splurge choice for a bucket-list romantic Vermont getaway – but the level of service and customized attention you’ll receive as a guest very much sets this hotel apart.
Twin Farms Amenities & Services
Once you arrive at Twin Farms for your romantic Vermont getaway there’s really no reason to ever leave. Former owner Thurston Twigg-Smith used to begin each morning by “walking the grounds from top to bottom” – so take one from Twigg’s book and simply enjoy this secluded escape by taking it slow and enjoying the fresh Vermont air. Here’s a little tour of what you can find on-site.
Check In / Welcome
When you pull into the long cascading driveway, Brenda will come bounding out, ready to give you a lay of the land. Before we knew it, someone had taken the car and luggage off our hands – we found it later already parked by our cottage with all the bags neatly placed in the room.
As we sipped a welcome drink concocted in a bar that was reminiscent of a 1920’s speakeasy, Brenda explained some of the history of the farmhouse and the renovations that took place over the years. We poked into rooms that dated back into the 1790’s, and relaxed in the lounge that used to serve as the sheep barn. By the time our small tour was finished, I was itching to learn more.
Twin Farms offers a variety of outdoor activities for guests to try. If you’re up for it, they've even designed a scavenger hunt scattered across the property with a prize at the end.
- Spring, Summer, Fall: In the warmer months you can enjoy the Vermont greenery though the backcountry hiking trails, tour the greenhouse and gardens, or even try your hand at ax throwing! Later, hop on a pedal, mountain or assisted bike to further explore the land. Spend lazy, warm days at Copper Pond, where you can pass the time fly fishing (a highly recommended activity), canoeing or kayaking. Or, just jump on in and go for a swim! Twin Farms also has access to a private golf course, tennis/pickleball courts, and horseback riding at Highland Farms. On warm nights, staff will also set up croquet, bocce or corn-hole on the grassy lawn.
- Winter: In winter you can snowshoe through miles of private trails, alpine and cross country ski, or even hop on a fat-tire bike. There’s also ice fishing and ice skating on Copper Pond. Or, if you’re feeling the need to get in touch with your inner-child, you can toboggan down the snowy hill. While there are no longer operating ski lifts to shepard skiers / sledders to the top of the mountain, the staff will happily take you up in one of the “Sherpa” vehicles.
Picnics at Twin Farms are a must-do activity and the perfect way to enjoy your romantic Vermont getaway. Where can you picnic? Well, you’ve got 300 acres of options – the staff will set up your cozy lunch anywhere you ask! In spring, summer and fall, the popular spots include Copper Pond Point, the Farm Pergola and Treehouse Lookout. Come wintertime, definitely ask for a picnic in the Lift Shack; this former ski-lift operations hut has been transformed into a picnic paradise.
This experience needs to be arranged ahead of time, but after that, all you have to do is show up! Freshly made soup, salad and dessert will be waiting in neatly packed thermoses.
Overlooking a forest of birch trees lies the Japanese furo – this private bathhouse is where you can go to warm up after a wintry walk. The water reaches a toasty 104 degrees! The bathhouse has everything you need on-site: bathrobes, towels, slippers, showers, hairdryers, and hair products. We booked the Treehouse room, located directly across from the furo, which meant we could stylishly walk over in our robes.
Game Room & Reading Nook
At Twin Farms you’ll find a game room equipped with classics like backgammon and chess, as well as some board game classics. Twigg’s Pub (currently under construction) also has darts and billiards available.
There are plenty of comfortable chairs and sofas in the Main House, where it’s easy to curl up with a book. However, my favorite spot was hands-down the converted hayloft in the farmhouse. It overlooks the main lounge, and the large windows have perfect views of the hills beneath the property. There are plenty of books stocked on the shelves if you forgot one at home.
Spa / Fitness
The spa treatments and fitness classes are some of the only add-on amenities at Twin Farms, but worth splurging for!
During our visit, the spa was closed for renovations, but the hotel offered in-room treatments. They also used some of the vacant cottages to host private fitness classes, like yoga.
Art Collection / Art Tour
The Twigg-Smith family curated an eclectic collection of artwork with pieces by Jasper Johns, David Bates, David Hockney, and William Hawkins. Twin Farms is well on its way to becoming a mini Barnes Museum! These beloved pieces casually cover the farmhouse walls, hang above beds in guestrooms, and decorate the dining area with some flair. You can take a short art tour with Brenda if interested in learning more about the family’s private collection found throughout the property.
Twin Farms Accomodations
The hardest part about visiting Twin Farms will be choosing which room to stay in for your romantic Vermont getaway.
There are 20 different themed rooms and stand alone cottages sprinkled across the property, and no two are alike. Are you envisioning a rustic treehouse with a screened-in porch, overlooking a forest of birch trees? Or, perhaps you’d like to sleep in a Moroccan designed room, outfitted with tented ceilings? There’s every design ranging from Japanese-inspired simplicity, to traditional New England log cabin cozy.
Each room includes the following:
- Snacks and gifts: Upon arrival, you’ll find a tray of delicious snacks, many of which support local businesses. We became addicted to the Grafton Village Cheese - a local Vermont delicacy. We were also grateful to find a gift from the hotel wrapped up neatly in the room - a small locally crafted puzzle by Stave Puzzles. Each piece of a Stave Puzzle is hand crafted with one saw! Stave Puzzles have even been named "the Rolls Royce of Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles" by Smithsonian Magazine.
- Drinks: When you wake up in the morning, you won’t have to leave the comfort of your cottage to enjoy a warm drink. Next to your bed you’ll find a coffee/tea center, fully equipped with Harney & Sons teabags, a French press, sugar containers, and milk in the fridge.
- Housekeeping service twice a day: The housekeeping at Twin Farms must be mind-readers. We never saw them once! Somehow they always knew when we weren’t in the room. We’d return from a nature walk to find calm music playing in the background and a warm fire crackling in the fireplace.
Here are some of the room types available at Twin Farms:
- Main House - The Main House has 4 rooms, two of which used to be Sinclair Lewis and Dorothy Thompson’s own bedrooms. The rooms at the Main House date back to the 1790’s, but today have modern amenities.
- The Lodge- The Lodge includes 2 suites and a shared common space. This is the only 2-bedroom option on site.
- The Farmhouse - The Farmhouse consists of 4 suites, each with a private entrance. It’s an ideal option for a group of friends; there's a common space and hot tub exclusively for Farmhouses guests to use.
- Cottages- Each of the 10 freestanding cottages has its own look and feel. If you’re wanting to book an extra luxurious experience, then reserve Treehouse now!
- We chose to stay in the Treehouse stand-alone cottage (pictured above). It was incredibly spacious and cozy. There's even a screened-in porch overlooking the birch trees, which became my favorite spot to enjoy a book and cup of tea.
Twin Farms Restaurant
Mealtimes will be a highlight of your vacation at Twin Farms.
Before arriving, you’ll be sent a lengthy questionnaire asking you to inform the kitchen about any food allergies, preferences, dislikes / likes. After that, you won’t be making any of your dinner decisions, and your culinary journey will follow Chef Nathan Rich as he transforms local ingredients into cuisine creations of art. All food, wine, and spirits are included in the price of your stay, so get ready to feast!
Breakfast and lunch have mouth-watering à la carte menus, specialized picnic options (mentioned above), or beautifully composed boxed lunches for departure day. We began each morning with a cup of hot tea overlooking the snow-covered lawn, savoring sweet pastries, like glazed danishes and chocolate croissants. Farm fresh eggs were whipped into a light and airy frittata, with feta cheese and tomatoes. The brioche French toast with Vermont maple syrup was just the right sugar rush to start the day. And don't even get me started on the lemon ricotta soufflé pancakes!
Come dinnertime you’ll need to arrive hungry and ready for supper’s surprises.
Dinner consists of a 5-course tasting menu, which changes daily. You’ll begin with canapés wherever you’d like to enjoy them. Maybe you'd like to sit by the fire, or perhaps you’re in the middle of a great book up in the reading nook. Wherever you are, the canapés will find you come 6:30 pm. Your adult snack time may include fresh tuna sushi rolls with crunchy onions on top, or home-made lightly fried potato chips.
When you finally arrive in the dining room, I hope you saved some room! The eating gets serious pretty quickly – there’s no warm-up bread (until later). It’s go time.
Nathan Rich combines the produce grown directly on the hotel’s grounds with other local delicacies to create mouth-watering dishes. Some of his recent highlights included miso turmeric carrot soup, compressed kale salad with pear compote and pickled parsnip. Bread service included blueberry sourdough and sprouted pumpernickel, served alongside the creamiest Vermont butter I’ve ever tasted. Then it was onto risotto with Verrano sheep’s milk cheese and black truffle. We finished our savory dishes with perfectly moist Halibut served with king trumpet mushrooms, sweet potato puree and glazed brussel sprouts.
No matter which mealtime you’re sitting down to eat, I can promise you that the culinary experience won’t be one you forget during your romantic Vermont getaway. You’ll be licking your plate, requesting more bread, and wishing you had a second stomach.
Every person at Twin Farms felt like family by the time we left!
Brenda was the first face we saw, emerging with a bright smile, excited to share the property’s history with us. She did a little bit of everything on site – gave us a small art history tour, helped coordinate activities, and even picked us up at the top of the mountain after our picnic.
Brandon also won a special place in my heart. Realizing I don’t drink alcohol, he went out of his way to concoct a mocktail-flight each night to accompany the dinner courses. I had mocktail versions of cosmopolitans and whiskeys -- as well as a peach / mango lassi drink that I'm still craving.
Day Trips from Twin Farms
If you’re visiting Twin Farms for a short weekend, then I suggest staying put and enjoying the farm’s grounds. However, if you’re there for an extended stay, I recommend checking out the town of Woodstock, Vermont.
Woodstock is an idyllic Vermont town with a quaint main street, boutique clothing and gift stores, and some famous shops like the VT Flannel Company. Nearby, there’s also the Simon Pearce store (and restaurant) and Billings Farm. You could easily spend a whole day exploring this one town, poking your head in and out of stores and trekking on a few hikes.
That's a Wrap
Checking out of Twin Farms was a somber moment – we simply didn’t want to leave. I felt like my toddler who always asks for “5 more minutes mom” when we’re at the playground. I wanted 5 more days! This romantic Vermont getaway checked all the boxes for a mom-and-dad duo looking to feel relaxed and recharged. We’re already gearing up to rebook for next fall, ready and armed for leaf peeping season.
I hope this article has inspired your own romantic Vermont getaway to Twin Farms. If you have any questions, or your own travel tips, please leave them in the comments below. Also, don't forget to sign up for the monthly newsletter, packed with travel tips, upcoming news, and access to FREE destination itineraries.
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