Cross-country skiers make fresh tracks on the powdery trails crisscrossing the central Vermont woods, and a pair of snowmobiles hums in the distance. Further along the trail, a different kind of track materializespaw prints stamped in the wake of dogsleds. In the center of the action, beside the gleaming surface of the Chittenden Reservoir, rests The Mountain Top Inn & Resort. The lodge has undergone a transformation from its humble origins as a turnip barn and now spans 350 acres of snow-swept alpine landscape.
Within centrally located classic lodge rooms, colorful quilts hug beds in uniquely appointed chambers. Motifs of moose, black bears, and roosters traipse alongside woodsy furnishings such as rocking chairs, mirror-topped armoires, and two-poster beds. Downstairs, diners enjoy gourmet burgers and seafood beneath bristling antler chandeliers in the Highlands Dining Room or carry bistro fare and Vermont microbrews from The Highlands Tavern on trips to taunt abominable snowmen roaming nearby slopes.
When the snowy landscapes call, knowledgeable onsite instructors will be on hand to outfit guests with snowshoes or cross-country skis and help them to polish skills and take on new challenges. The Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center forms the hub of 37 miles of mountain-shadowed trails trodden by horse-drawn sleighs, dogsleds, and snowmobiles across cleverly disguised powdered sugar.
The Green Mountains, a branch of the ancient Appalachians stretching across Vermont, draw their name from the layers of stately conifers carpeting the range's slopes. This massive arboretum forms the Green Mountain National Forest, opening infinite vistas for snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and game hunting.
The six towering peaks of the Killington ski areajust 11 miles from the innsend snow buffs swooping down latticed networks of 140 trails, including regularly groomed cruising runs and steep, untamed moguls. A one-day ticket grants access to 22 different lifts, and the included shuttle delivers guests and gear for a full day of downhill adventure. Alternatively, a Mountain Top trail pass allows snowy explorations of 37 miles of the resort's backcountry trails.
For a taste of history, lodgers can make their way toward the nearby towns of Killington and Rutland, both of which unfurl charters dating to 1761, before the creation of Vermont itself. In downtown Rutland, local vendors at the winter farmers' market sell Vermont maple syrup, local wools, and free-range icicles every Saturday.
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