It’s hard to believe that Scott and I haven’t had a real vacation in years. Like, several years.
Living away from both of our families means that we usually use our vacation time to visit home in both Florida and Arkansas/Missouri. There was a time where Scott and I would travel outside of those trips several times a year together (and we visited some amazing places!), but they were all work trips for both of us or for Scott that I was fortunate to tag along on.
Ever since we moved to New York, we vowed that we would take time away from our busy lives to explore New England while we live here. We were supposed to take a weekend away in the mountains for a babymoon before Skyler was born last March, but that never happened. That said, a few days out of the city and at a slower pace where we could relax, explore, and soak in quality family time in a new environment together was long overdue!
I know that Skyler is too young to really know what’s going on, and I am well aware that he won’t remember this trip whatsoever, but I’m looking forward to the day that I can revisit these photos and tell him all about it. We are far from experts on what to do around the city, but we did stumble upon a good amount of things to do and I’m excited to share them with you!
Scott has always said that he wants to check out Vermont, and I got the idea of staying in Manchester from my friend Ashley. Her family has a cottage up there and she frequents the area enough to help us plan out a very loose itinerary.
I originally looked at different Airbnb options, but I kept coming across a charming resort that had everything we needed and more. Fireplaces? Saunas? An indoor heated pool? On-site bars and restaurants? Yes, please.
The Equinox is a Luxury Golf & Spa Resort in the heart of Manchester. After searching around online, I found a great deal for a standard room through Expedia.
The drive is around four hours, but we made a few stops on the way up including lunch at The Cabin Restaurant in White Plains, New York. Even just being an hour or so north of our apartment and in more of a suburban area felt so good, and I recommend this little spot to anyone looking for a casual and cabin-y meal out!
We didn’t hit too much traffic after that, and we pulled up to our hotel right before dinner time on Saturday night. We were excited to get settled into our room and check out the restaurant inside, but we ran into a little setback.
While looking at rates online, I found a great deal and also applied an online coupon which made our stay extremely affordable. What I didn’t realize, however, is that there is a third party company that rents out townhomes on the Equinox Resort property called The Inns at The Equinox (their sister property).
I was okay with staying outside of the main building, but the standard room that we originally checked into looked nothing like the advertised photos online (i.e. the suites).
Feeling very underwhelmed and annoyed, I very walked over to the front desk and politely asked if there was anything they could do for us, considering the whole reason we booked the trip was to get out of a small space and breathe in some fresh Vermont air.
(The original room we had was literally just a bed, television, chair, and bathroom. Our master bedroom at home was bigger – which I know, first world problems, but c’mon.)
I showed him the picture that was advertised on our reservation and the staff completely understood. Without hesitation, he upgraded us into the suite that I thought I was booking and gave us a round of drinks at the hotel bar on the house. I really appreciated that level of customer service!
We bundled up and sipped on wine while we waited to move into our new room. It finally felt like we could relax, and we were enjoying the cozy and welcoming atmosphere of the hotel.
Since dinner was going to be a 45+ minute wait and we were already running later than Skyler’s normal bedtime, we decided to go off-site for a quick dinner out. After passing a few options that closed earlier than the times listed online, we found Thai Basil in a cute downtown area. Coming from Brooklyn, it was very different to have almost everything around closed at 8:30 p.m., so we were grateful for this option and loved our dinner.
The best part of the trip for me was waking up to views like this, all together, sans alarms.
We spent both mornings lounging in pajamas for a bit before getting dressed for the day, and our little townhouse felt like just the breath of fresh air that we were hoping for.
Just wanting to see where the days took us, we didn’t set any plans for Saturday or Sunday. After breakfast, we changed to venture out to a cider mill/orchard that ended up being closed for the season. We were so bummed when we got there because we heard amazing things about Mad Tom’s. Regardless, we loved riding around the area and picked up lunch at Zoey’s Deli.
Coming from New York City where delis are so, so good, we were surprised to hear that a deli was the place to get lunch around the area. We weren’t sure what to expect but were very pleasantly surprised with the food selection and seating area inside. Looking back, we should have eaten our lunches there, but we decided to pack them up and take them with us on our hike instead.
One of the only things that Scott was set on during our weekend was to go a hike through the mountains. Boy, he wasn’t kidding!
I’ve been on hikes before, but this was definitely the first time that I questioned being able to make it out alive. I’m being dramatic, but man, there were several parts of the trail that could take a very dangerous turn if you lost your balance or took a few steps too close to the side of the cliff.
That said, I would still highly recommend visiting Lye Brook Falls on Green Mountain National Forest. Maybe just make sure to wear the proper shoes and don’t bring a big, heavy bag with you?
In my defense, I thought that we were just walking through a trail. I had no idea that we were literally going to be hiking up a mountain, and I guess it was my own fault. Scott kept mentioning details like “are you sure you want to get those dirty?” and “maybe we should bring an extra set of clothes” before we left, and I just thought he was being extra. Nope. His suggestions were one hundred percent on point.
It was about a 2.3 mile hike up to the waterfall, which made it a 4.6 mile treck round-trip. Not knowing exactly what I was getting into, I was more than ready to get to the waterfall to have a nice picnic lunch and enjoy the views. Well, we eventually made it, but our lunch was cut short when we realized that we had to allow at least two hours to get back to the car before the sunset and we were stuck out in the woods in the dark. (Isn’t that the scariest thought ever?)
Even so, how can you not pause for a bit to admire natural beauty like this? The scenery was absolutely stunning!
After scarfing down about half of my salad, we packed up and I put a huge pep in my step. We made it out of the woods and safely back to the car in about half the time it took us to get there!
We were very grateful to get back in the warm, heated car, and I nursed Skyler who had been a champ (with sleeping and awake time while Scott wore him) throughout the entire thing. We were so proud of him.
We went back to the hotel to change out of muddy, wet clothes and kept dinner extremely casual with a trip to Cilantro. It totally reminded me of Chipotle, only locally owned and operated with menu items that featured local produce. We especially loved the selection of beers and wines after what felt like a long, physically tolling day!
In search of hot cider and donuts before we left back for home, we packed up early and headed out to the Equinox Valley Nursery soon after they opened on Monday morning.
There wasn’t much going on during the weekday, and we knew that we missed the cider donuts from the day before (darn), but we heard that the pumpkin patch was worth the visit anyway. That is was!
The staff said there wasn’t much left of it after the season, but welcomed us to roam around and take as many photos as we wanted to. We could tell that a lot of time was put into the pumpkin patch displays, and it was cute to see all of the different themes in the scarecrows and sitting areas. Plus, more views on views.
We ran into a few of their cats and Sky got the biggest kick out of them. I finally asked about the hot cider before we left, and happened to have a pot heated up. I ordered two cups and left with a small loaf of homemade pumpkin bread, too. It was delicious and just what we were looking for!
The only thing we wish we had more time to do was to explore the Hildene, a Lincoln Family Summer Home. Robert Lincoln (yes, Abraham Lincon’s son) purchased 500 acres in Manchester and built a summer home in 1905.
He named it the “Hildene” and today it stands as a museum. We didn’t have time to actually take a tour that usually lasts 30-45 minutes, but hopefully, we will be back to do so in the future.
Also, something that I just realized while researching more about the house online, is that the Lincoln family stayed at the Equinox Resort. In fact, it was the first spot they visited in Manchester in 1864 and is a big part of why they decided to build a home there. Fun fact!
We left directly for home after The Hildene with happy hearts, wishing that we had more time to spend in Vermont. It’s always hard to go back to reality after a relaxing few days away, right?
It’s not easy to get away to go on vacation by any means, but it always proves to be well worth it. I’m so glad that we were able to celebrate Scott’s birthday with a getaway, and I am looking forward to hopefully getting to explore more of New England in the near future.
Thank you for treating us so well, Manchester!
I love your shoes that you are wearing on the hike! Can you share details??