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Green Mountain getaway: Vermont's cozy Kimpton Taconic Hotel

Aug. 27, 2022
13 min read
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I grew up in New England and spent most of my childhood vacations road-tripping with my family in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. These days, as a New Yorker, I still like to head north to get a break from the city. Vermont's dense forests and rolling mountains remind me of home -- and there are so many great places to stay across the region.

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I recently stopped into the Kimpton Taconic Hotel in Manchester, Vermont, which is a bit of an outlier as far as New England mountain hotels go. There are plenty of sprawling resorts in Vermont, especially clustered immediately around its famous ski slopes. But this tidy hotel, which has just 87 rooms, feels intimate and right-sized for its location -- the picturesque town of Manchester, which is not directly adjacent to a ski mountain, but an easy drive away from some of the state's best.

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Plus, the Kimpton brand comes with a certain set of expectations — smart design, a sense of local flavor and special attention to food and beverage offerings, among others. For Kimpton devotees, this property delivers on those expectations and offers a stay that's more intimate than you'll find at many of Vermont's megaresorts.

Getting there

I made my way to Manchester from New York City by car in a little more than four hours, driving along the Taconic State Parkway, the scenic road that also lends its name to the hotel. Championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and planned specifically to highlight beautiful views along the eastern side of the Hudson Valley, the entire route was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

You'll reach the hotel even faster from Boston. That trip takes about 3 1/2 hours, and brings you through scenic portions of southern New Hampshire, including the postcard-perfect town of Keene. For an iconic New England photo-op, stop south of Keene at the Carlton Covered Bridge.

Other options for reaching the property include flying to Burlington, Vermont's international airport, which is served by most major U.S. carriers. The drive from there takes about two hours and 20 minutes.

Booking details

I booked directly through the hotel website and didn't use points for my stay. You can redeem IHG One Rewards points for stays at Kimpton properties, but I didn't have enough points, and didn't think it was worth it to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to IHG. Given TPG's current valuation of IHG points at 0.5 cents per point, and its current Chase Ultimate Rewards valuation of 2 cents per point, this didn't seem like a great opportunity.

In high season (summer, ski and fall foliage seasons), expect to pay between $300 and $400 per night at this property, or about 40,000-97,500 points per night. A few outlier dates — fall holiday weekends, for example — will even go as high as $700 per night, with no award availability, so book early for these dates. Midsummer nights can also sell out quickly, and those that are available can go for over 100,000 points or over $600 per night.

For a great deal, head to the Taconic in what locals call "mud season," or the period in March and April after the snow melts and before the summer vacationers arrive. This quieter moment is relatively free of crowds and you'll find attractions more or less empty. You can't ski, and hiking trails will be — as the name of the season implies — muddy, but if you're looking to browse in quiet bookshops and gift stores, waltz into restaurants without a reservation or hit the local big-brand outlets, it's a great time to visit. Look for rates at the Kimpton Taconic to hover between $200 and $300 in this period, with reward nights going for about 29,500-50,000 points.

And as with many Kimpton properties, this one will tack a $30-per-day resort fee (plus tax) onto your bill. On the bright side, it includes valet parking and upgraded internet.

Things we loved

The Kimpton Taconic. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.
  • Forget chintzy bed-and-breakfasts, characterless vacation condos and New England grande dames; the Taconic blends farmhouse chic with cozy mountainside comfort.
  • Memorable decor touches include antler wall decor, stone fireplaces with roaring fires and flannel-clad throw pillows.
  • The signature Kimpton afternoon wine hour is held in an elegant backroom packed with overstuffed furniture and art books called The Library.

Drawbacks

  • As charming as this property is, It's just not that easy to get here.
  • If you're looking to get off your flight and be on the slopes an hour later, this is not the getaway for you.
  • Likewise, if your idea of a perfect Vermont vacation is staying at Killington or Stowe with ski-in/ski-out access, you'll do much better staying closer to those mountains and not in sleepy Manchester.
  • The property does not have a spa (though in-room services are available), and the outdoor pool is seasonal. So if you're visiting in cooler months, plan to spend more time curled up by the fire than doing laps.

The vibe

Outdoors at the Kimpton Taconic. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

For older couples, families and multigenerational groups seeking a low-key getaway or a quiet long weekend, this is a great stay. In fact, the highest-energy activities available on-site are weekend yoga classes and the occasional pingpong tournament on the hotel's inviting, rocking chair-filled front porch. As you'd imagine, this is a popular place for weddings.

And while there's special seasonal programming aimed specifically at kids (think snowman building), teens and young couples might find themselves bored with board games and s'mores by the fire pit.

The room

Cozy New England serenity reigns in the guest rooms at the Taconic. Done in white, sage green and navy, they manage to keep things bright and airy while still leaning into an aesthetic that feels woodsy and destination-specific. (You'll find no knotty pine here, for better or worse.) I especially loved the spindly legged chair by the fire — a perfect spot for settling in with a book.

Rooms have fireplaces at the Kimpton Taconic. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

Frette linens on the comfortable beds are a nice touch, and if you can, book a room with a fireplace. (It's clearly denoted during the booking process.) Electronically controlled and easy to use, the in-room fireplace truly feels splurge-worthy, especially if you're staying in winter or mud season.

A guest room at the Kimpton Taconic. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

All rooms above the entry-level category have Atelier Bloem bath amenities, and some have mountain views. (Again, this is clearly marked when you book, which makes things easy.) One- and two-bedroom suites have deep soaking bathtubs — the hotel's modern riff on the claw-footed tub.

Food and drink

The hotel's restaurant, The Copper Grouse, is a local favorite, and you'll likely find yourself dining here with just as many Vermonters as travelers, especially during the busy dinner service. (Reservations are definitely recommended, especially on weekends; the front desk can help.) Designed to evoke the feeling of being in a dark-paneled tavern, it serves New American-style fare that feels just a little bit rustic. Many of the ingredients are sourced from local farms.

The Copper Grouse restaurant at the Kimpton Taconic. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

My favorite dinner menu items included the sea scallop appetizer with pea puree mint, and pancetta; a faultless traditional wedge salad topped with crispy fried shallots; and the shrimp and grits, which gets a modern kick from wagyu chorizo and Cabot cheddar.

The Copper Grouse's menu more or less doubles as the Taconic's room service menu, and I opted for lunch and snacks in my room during my stay. Packed in recyclable takeout containers, it felt more like I'd ordered delivery from a local restaurant than room service but I didn't mind this. It's more sustainable, takes up less space and eliminates the annoyance of having dirty china hanging around the room or in the hallway. And it arrived incredibly quickly, within 15 or 20 minutes of my call. I ordered two things that I loved from the in-room menu — a cheese and charcuterie board (bonus points for the amazing pickled veggies and housemade grainy mustard) and the duck fat potatoes, which are dotted with bits of roast duck and come with horseradish creme fraiche.

Room service at the Kimpton Taconic. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

Taken altogether, the food at The Copper Grouse is definitely a refined step above most big-brand hotel dining. It's worth making time during your stay to have lunch or dinner here.

Amenities and service

This property really epitomizes Kimpton's style of service — easygoing, friendly and on-point without being stuffy or overly formal. My interactions with front-desk staff, the waiters manning the daily wine hour and the cleaning staff were consistently friendly and even a bit chatty.

The Kimpton Taconic. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

Marquee amenities include the outdoor, heated pool (open during the day, seasonally) and a small fitness center. The hotel also has an expansive outdoor green that can be set up with lawn games in warmer weather. This is also where you'll find things like free weekend yoga classes, occasional live music and celebrations for everything from National Dog Day to National Rum Day. Premium experiences requiring an extra charge can be booked through the hotel concierge and include ax throwing, glass-blowing outings and tours of the local mountains.

The back lawn at the Kimpton Taconic. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

Guests can enjoy basics like daily newspapers, Wi-Fi, parking and a free hotel shuttle to select locations in town. There are also some fun extras — electric car charging, yoga mats in the rooms and Kimpton-branded walking sticks that you can take out on a hike. There's also complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby each morning — a little thing that goes a long way to make guests feel welcome.

And of course, it wouldn't be a Kimpton if you couldn't bring your pet. This property is pet-friendly and, for an extra charge, you can also book grooming, pet-sitting and walking services.

Out and about

One of my favorite things to do when I'm traveling is to wander around small towns, and Manchester provides an attractive backdrop for wandering. Situated in the heart of Green Mountain National Forest and home to historic homes and mountain views, this community of about 4,000 residents has grown to cater to visitors, even if it remains relatively low on megawatt attractions.

Guests can visit historical sights like Hildene, Robert Lincoln's house, nearby. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

You'll need a car to explore, but you'll be rewarded with things like the small American Museum of Fly Fishing, several working farms that welcome guests, art galleries and antique shops, and a slew of brand outlets (Armani, Marimekko, Tumi, Ralph Lauren). Even if you're not a bookworm, it's worth your time to stop by Northshire Bookstore in the heart of downtown. Locally made gifts and stationery, as well as books by local authors, are highlights.

The area's biggest attraction — besides the amazing hikes and the ski resort at Stratton Mountain, which is about 30 minutes away by car — is Hildene, the former home of Robert Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln's only child to survive into adulthood. Robert Lincoln, who was president of the Pullman Company, built Hildene as a summer home at the turn of the 20th century, and his descendants lived there into the 1970s. The home is beautifully preserved and includes original furniture and fabrics, and the locally based tour guides are happy to share their passionate takes on the property and its residents over the years. Be sure to follow the path at the edge of the property to see a fully renovated Pullman train car — the thing that brought Lincoln much of his wealth.

A classic Pullman car. LAURA MOTTA/THE POINTS GUY.

If you don't mind a 30-minute drive, the Vermont Country Store in the town of Weston is a monument to quirky gift shops everywhere. It might be worth the drive for the local maple syrup alone.

Accessibility

The Taconic has been designed with guests with disabilities in mind, and offers six different Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant room types that include queen, king and suite units. All have roll-in showers. The entrance, restaurant and fitness center are all accessible, and service animals are welcome.

Additional communication features are available for guests with disabilities, including visual fire alarms, bed shakers, visual alarm clocks, Braille and tactile signage, and telephone amplifiers.

Checking out

I was in search of the ultimate low-key getaway from New York City, and I found it in Vermont at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel. Fuss-free, friendly and without all of the fiddly details that often make New England's bed-and-breakfasts feel old-fashioned and overcomplicated, this stay felt like a new way to do New England.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Kimpton Taconic Hotel/Facebook)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases