If it weren’t for the sign out front, and the bill for your stay, visiting the Mad River Barn would feel like going home. Step inside the wood paneled, 19th century barn, and collapse into a comfy couch beside a crackling fire. The moose head mounted to the wall above welcomes you, and young kids run by in pursuit of a yelping puppy. An older couple plays checkers in the corner, and tired skiers stomp snow from heavy boots.
Brainstorm every last aspect of the ideal bed and breakfast. They're all gathered at this Waitsfield country inn: 12 country-chic bedrooms tucked into an 1810 farmhouse, each equipped with comfy Tempur-Pedic mattresses, some with skylights and whirlpools. Wake to a full country breakfast in the sunny parlour, then head five miles to Sugarbush's slopes - or stay put and snowshoe or cross-country ski the surrounding 245 pristine acres under the expert guidance of Cooper, the inn's resident black lab. $165–$315; theroundbarn.com; 802-496-2276
The centerpiece of sleepily idyllic Warren village - Sugarbush is two miles away - the Pitcher Inn is an exercise in stealth pampering, with a discreet spa and a superb regional restaurant. All eleven rooms are playfully themed. For an immersion in downhill nostalgia, opt for the Ski room, furnished with artifacts from the Mad River Valley. The bedspread is a patchwork of parkas, the headboard a phalanx of toboggans and a stone fireplace gives the room a warm glow. The perfect ski lodge? It just might be.
$375–$600; pitcherinn.com; 802-496-6354
The oversized silver silo capping the barn-red Clay Brook hotel at Sugarbush's base is hard to miss. Not that you'd want to. New this season, the Clay Brook's rooms and suites are spacious and handsomely decked out, to a taste level more Soho than ski condo. Perks include equipment valets savvy enough to suggest a tuneup, a heated outdoor pool and two hot tubs, and the Timbers restaurant, housed in a post-and-beam Vermont round barn, complete with 45-foot-high ceilings.
$209–$1,699; sugarbush.com; 800-537-8427