By Roger Cox, Editor
What began as an inn has evolved into a resort following the addition of six Har-Tru courts, its own summer tennis camp, a 21,000-square-foot full-service spa, and a culinary kitchen. Guests bed down in and of the 120 handsomely decorated rooms—some with gas-log stoves, whirlpool baths, or even kitchenettes—and dine on meals that focus on local Vermont produce. An added bonus is the inn's proximity to the airport in Burlington. Among its unusual features is a teaching kitchen, where a variety of classes take place, focusing on a variety of dishes or ethnic cuisines, as well as sessions on wine tasting.
Pro Shop: 802-310-2492
Tennis Staff. Tennis director Rob Barr, whose 25-plus years of teaching experience include stints coaching players on the WTA and ATP Tours, runs the Essex's tennis programs. He stages a weekly roster of tennis activities and events during the May to October outdoor season (and customizable camps from mid July to September). These include daily stroke clinics, junior clinics, and mixed scrambles.
NOTE: Barr's programs are arranged separately from resort reservations, so contact him BEFORE you book lodging (see contact information above) to be sure your tennis needs can be accommodated.
Courts & Fees. There are six Har-Tru courts. Court fees: None for camp participants or hotel guests.
Spa & Fitness
Golf Courses. The Inn also owns the Links at Lang Farm, a 4,100-yard, 18-hole, par-60 course with a full practice facility and a clubhouse. Each of its holes has multiple tees to accommodate golfers of differing abilities. In addition, the Inn can make arrangements for guests to play at local courses, including the Vermont National Country Club, the only New England course designed by Jack Nicklaus.
Spa & Fitness Center. The 21,000-square-foot, two-story, white clapboard spa backs up to the woods at one side of the property just across from gardens and white picket fence surrounding the outdoor pool. It's a peaceful place of stone and wood, with fireplaces in the men's and women's lounges, maple flooring, and picture windows. The menu of treatments is broad, from the sports massages I crave to a coffee almond detox or calming honey lavender exfoliation. The fitness center has been furnished with high-quality (and quiet) TechnoGym equipment and a variety of cardio stations, all situated in a room with views on the forest. There's also a 25-meter indoor lap pool, a Jacuzzi on an outdoor terrace, and sauna and steam rooms.
And ... At the back of the property stands an adventure center that focuses on team building programs but also has a recreational menu of zip lines, rock and ice climbing wall, an overhead challenge course, and more. There's also hiking and biking in the nearby mountains and woods, and guided fly fishing trips.
The inn has 120 rooms and suites. Nearly half have Vermont hearthstone stoves or fireplaces. Each is individually decorated.
There are two dining options: The Tavern & Junction. The Tavern serves Vermont pub fare and has an extensive list of craft beers on draft. The Junction, which has an open kitchen, showcases local Vermont products.
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Visit the website for current rates
Seasons. The resort is open year round; however, the tennis season runs from late May to mid September
Travel Instructions. Burlington International Airport is the principal gateway into Vermont, whether from Canada or the U.S., with service from many of the major airlines. Major car rental agencies are located in the terminal itself.
General Tourist Information. for general information about travel in Vermont, visit the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing website or contact them at 6 Baldwin Street, Drawer 33, Montpelier, VT 05633-1301; Phone 800-VERMONT (800-837-6668).