An all-inclusive indulgence at Twin Farms in Vermont
Once owned by author Sinclair Lewis, Twin Farms has now established itself into a five-star Relais & Châteaux Inn renowned for its cuisine and 20 superb rooms, which are uniquely decorated cottages by designer Jed Johnson and Thad Hayes.
photographs courtesy of Twin Farms
Vermont in wintertime
delivers all of the classic New England storybook images. And the further from the ski resorts, the more communing with nature one can truly do. No one understood that quite like the Nobel Prize–winning author Sinclair Lewis, whose 18th-century farmhouse, Twin Farms, offers a perfect pillar of the state’s core virtues.
Today, the farm is a five-star Relais & Châteaux Inn renowned for its cuisine and 20 superb rooms, most of which are uniquely decorated cottages by designer Jed Johnson and the more contemporary Thad Hayes. Accommodations feature priceless art from the likes of David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein and thematic design like the oriental-inspired Treehouse cottage or the modernist Peter Bohlin-designed Aviary cottage, whose wall of glass and stone Jacuzzi ensures a serene perch from which to enjoy the bucolic setting.
Surrounded by 300 acres of rolling hills with trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, plus private slopes for downhill turns and a pond for skating, Twin Farms is a bastion of activity, yet delivers the option of basking in idleness or pampering in the spa or Japanese bath house. The all-inclusive policy at Twin Farms is truly its defining triumph. No longer beleaguered by the fear of minimal costs accruing as you tack on another glass of wine or decide midway through an activity that you’d prefer a different one, guests feel unencumbered, and the stress relief is visible through the pleasant chatter at the nightly cocktail hour or around the fire pit. For Twin Farms’ twentieth anniversary this year, the celebration includes extra onsite activities (yoga, wine tastings, family weekends). However, no matter when you visit, the “beyond inclusive” trademark is sure to surprise and delight.
1. The breakfast at Twin Farms is to be savored. Choosing between homemade pancakes and a garden-fresh frittata may cause a moment of consternation, but you could easily have both!
2. The Japanese Furo is an unexpected luxury at the spa. The deep slate pool with Japanese-style screens and picture windows overlooking the forest offer a serenity unknown in the average steam room.
3. S’mores around the fire pit provide an ideally convivial atmosphere and taste even better following a game of billiards or Trivial Pursuit in the pub.
Chef Ted Ask is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. He joined Twin Farms in 1996 and enjoys letting seasonal foods dictate his menu.
What’s the biggest attraction of your set-concept menu? With the abundance of fresh produce coming from our own gardens, Fable Farm, our wild crafters Les Hook and Nova Kim, plus other farmers, ranchers and cheese makers in the state, we can shift our menus within hours of service, purely based on the freshness of products from these partners. Guests are truly “tasting the day” when they are here. They are eating in season, eating in sync with the growing cycles, and always getting the freshest possible product presented to them.
What’s a personal favorite from your garden? We are very proud of our polenta made from corn we grow, dry, shuck and winnow on property. Guests are eating polenta that has been ground 20 minutes to a half hour before they are eating it. My favorite aspect of this is that we can still have garden produce on our menus in February when the temperature outside is below zero.
Your guests fill out questionnaires before they arrive, listing food allergies and aversions. What’s the most common need that you see and what adjustments do you make? Celiac Disease is the most common dietary need we have seen over the past few years. And it has been a source of learning and inspiration for us. Finding new grains like teff, and working with bean flours in gnocchi, breads, cookies and pastas has opened us up to new ingredients and textures that we might not have otherwise discovered.
What is the secret to those delicious pancakes? They are made like free-form soufflés with stiff peak meringue folded into the batter. They’re griddled on both sides, then finished in the oven. The texture is soft, light and airy. Created by the resort’s founding chef, Neil Wigglesworth, it’s our most requested recipe.