This article was originally published in UpCountry magazine in November 2017. All photos are by George Forbes (@the_xcskiman).
By Cherise Madigan
Photos by George Forbes
As steam billows from your piping mug of mulled cider, you’ll find yourself snug and cozy at Manchester’s Kimpton Taconic Hotel.
Both the hotel and its elevated tavern, The Copper Grouse restaurant and bar, provide a quintessentially Vermont experience with an urban twist. Wrapped in the warm embrace of the Kimpton Taconic, visitors can revel in Vermont’s rustic ambiance without ever leaving the property.
Despite that, the hotel’s managing team encourages patrons to explore Manchester at every turn.
“We want people to feel at home when they come here, whether they’re traveling from afar or locally,” explains General Manager John Burnham, a native Vermonter alongside restaurant manager Seth Dunne and Chef Vanessa Davis. “We do that through our service, through the ambiance that’s created, and through our architecture.”
Check in early to make the most of your time at the Kimpton Taconic, which offers an exhaustive list of amenities alongside many recreation recommendations. If you get there early enough, take the time to savor brunch (accompanied by some Vermont maple syrup of course), and find some extra warmth with a top-of-the-line cocktail if you’re feeling adventurous. (Try “The Bloody Breakfast,” made with local WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, topped off with Burlington’s iconic Citizen Cider.)
While The Copper Grouse is guaranteed to captivate you with its rustic charms, from the fireplace to the wood floors, a crisp morning on the Kimpton Taconic’s heated porch will give you a glimpse of the Green Mountains as you eat.
Don’t cool off too quickly though — when you make it up to your room, spend a few moments curled in front of the fireplace before embarking on your next expedition.
City-dwellers and native Vermonters alike will enjoy the Kimpton Taconic’s authentic atmosphere, with modern conveniences including ample USB ports in each room, divine bath and body products, and other facets of the full-service inn. If the landscape is still aflame with autumn leaves, utilize the handmade walking stick resting in your closet (produced at Manchester Woodcraft, only about a mile away), to indulge in a stroll around the Equinox Pond. Try to tackle Mount Equinox’s 3,848-foot summit if you’re craving a challenge.
Crisp snow crunching beneath your soles? Check out a pair of complementary snowshoes from the front desk to savor Manchester’s multitudinous trails even on the chilliest of days. If speed is more your style, tour the town on the Kimpton Taconic’s trademark apple-red bicycles, or take a drive along back-country dirt roads for the afternoon. If you prefer to stay indoors, cozy-up with a staff pick from the Northshire Bookstore — though there’s no substitute for the sumptuous shelves of the iconic Manchester destination.
With a cocktail list more at home in Manhattan rather than Manchester, and a menu that artfully blends the comfortable and the complex, there’s a little something for everyone at The Copper Grouse. Chef Vanessa Davis’ first-rate fare changes with the Vermont seasons, and will tantalize your tastebuds with locally sourced ingredients including cheese from Consider Bardwell Farm, bread from Earth Sky Time’s unique bakery, and produce from a plethora of nearby growers.
“I enjoy creating something that’s comforting, that people can relate to, with a modern day twist on it,” said Davis, who “dares to be different,” with her gourmet cuisine. “We work with as many local products as possible, and try to change with the seasons.”
Like Davis’ menu, the Grouse’s cocktails and its extensive wine list, crafted by a master sommelier, changes frequently with unique blends crafted by lead bartender Dylan Niedecker. You’ll find fellowship in the literary Tom Bombadil, for example, featuring Plantation rum, apple cider, cinnamon syrup, Cointreau and Prosecco.
“We have that sort of upper scale urban feel, with some country thrown in,” said Dunne. “We really try to stay ahead of the curve, and remain trendy with a big focus on our cocktails.”
With a contented appetite, enjoy a compelling conversation within the communal camaraderie surrounding the Kimpton Taconic’s outdoor firepit. Beyond its blazing beauty, the warmth found both inside and out will leave you thoroughly satisfied (though maybe a little sleepy). Before burying yourself in fluffy, white blankets, stretch out the day in front of the fireplace with the yoga mat tucked away in your closet.
Nestled within Manchester’s lovely, dark and deep woods, you’ll find warmth in the embrace of the Kimpton Taconic even on the frostiest days.
The Kimpton Taconic Hotel
3835 Main St., Manchester, Vt.
The Copper Grouse Restaurant and Bar
Breakfast, daily, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Brunch, Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lunch, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dinner, Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Bar, Monday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m.
Friday, noon to 11 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cherise Madigan, a native Vermonter, is the editor of the Manchester Journal. She and photographer George Forbes live in Manchester Center with their two cats.