Woodstock Inn & Resort
(Near Suicide Six, Killington)
If you'd care to observe some of the best-behaved children in the world, check out tea time at this world-class hotel in the heart of town. The little scions, who could easily abscond with pockets full of complimentary cookies, sit still and nibble them sweetly, cheeks ruddy from their exertions at Suicide Six, the inn-owned, family-scale ski area nearby. On weekdays, inn guests ski free; those under 14 even stay free. (The optional Modified American Plan, which includes dinner in the inn's elegant dining room plus a generous breakfast, runs only $25 per child or $60 for adults.) Funny, we always thought of this Rockefeller-built complex-a country-sophisticate 1968 replacement for a centuries-old hotel-as a magnet for movers and shakers. That it is, with room rates ranging from $169 to $545 a night (the latter scores a suite, and all 144 rooms have been recently renovated, with reading nooks and handmade quilts and counterpanes). But it also happens to be a fantastic deal for families. The living-history lesson in proper manners is an unforeseen and invaluable bonus.
Information: Woodstock Inn & Resort, Village Green, Woodstock, Vt.; 802-457-1100 or 800-448-7900, www.woodstockinn.com.
(Near Bromley, Stratton Mountain, Magic Mountain)
Lacking the kind of friends who can proffer invitations to their country estates, we're glad the public is welcome at the Wilburton Inn, a 1902 Tudor pile just south of Manchester Village. Georgette Levis (depicted as Gorgeous in her sister Wendy Wasserstein's play The Sisters Rosensweig) and her husband, psychiatrist Albert Levis, bought the 20-acre hilltop in 1987 and have been throwing one continual house party ever since. Stagger in from skiing (the inn provides discount lift tickets), and you'll be treated to tea and cookies in the firelit great room. Dinner is equally grand, even if visitors no longer sport the tuxedos and fur wraps they wore when the house first became a chi-chi ski hotel in 1945. Each of the seemingly infinite number of bedrooms (there are actually 28 in the main house, ranging from $115 to $295 a night) features an inviting chaise longue-a Freudian fillip that the Levises claim was unconscious. If you stroll, snowshoe or crosscountry ski about the grounds, you'll come upon a rather extraordinary array of outdoor sculpture, as well as a rentable seven-bedroom ski house ($625-$800 a night) with its own kitchen and piano-the perfect place to stage your own posh weekend party.
Information: Wilburton Inn, River Road, Manchester, Vt.; 802-362-2500 or 800-648-4944; www.wilburton.com.