• Our Weekend in Stowe, VT

    September 13, 2010

    And just like that vacation is over. How sad. :-? But, looking back on the weekend, I’m very happy that Mal and I were able to get away and completely relax. It’s most definitely needed every once in awhile.

    Back in August, between BlogHer and the Healthy Living Summit, the folks at Topnotch Resort & Spa in Stowe, Vermont contacted me to ask if I wanted to visit their resort for a weekend. (Does a bear sh*t in the woods? ;-) ) At the time, I felt pretty stressed, so I accepted their offer without hesitation and last weekend was the time that we picked for our visit.

    Topnotch invited Mal and me as their guests for the weekend, so our accommodations and meals were covered by them. As always, my opinions on CNC are completely honest and all my own.

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    Mal and I really enjoyed our time at Topnotch. We agreed that it was the nicest resort (amenity- and service-wise) we’ve ever stayed at, besides our honeymoon, of course! ;-)

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    The resort at Topnotch can best be described as “country luxury.” It screams “Vermont” with its gorgeous mountain views and nature-inspired decor, but it offers all of the fancy stuff that you’d want at a resort, like upscale dining, a full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, etc.

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    And Topnotch is pet-friendly!! I wish we had known before driving up. We would have definitely taken Murphy with us. He loves Vermont! Maybe next time?

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    Mal and I were a bit obsessed with the outdoor pools at Topnotch. The views were amazing!

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    Our hotel room was gorgeous, too!

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    Very shabby chic, right? ;-)

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    The bathroom featured fancy-schmancy bath products from June Jacobs. My husband looovveed the grapefruit body wash. He really wanted to “steal” some to take home with him, but he never did. ;-)

    I also really liked that Topnotch used full-size bottles for their bath products, which is much more environmentally-friendly than all of those little plastic bottles that most resorts/hotels use.

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    Friday: Dinner

    Once Mal and I unpacked and got settled in our room, we headed to Norma’s Restaurant for dinner.

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    Our meal began with a half bottle of Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc.

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    I first tried this wine when I was in Orlando last month, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.

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    To start, Mal and I enjoyed some house-made bread with butter, olive oil, and hummus. (The restaurant uses ingredients, many from the Vermont Fresh Network, which sustain and promote local organic farmers.)

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    Before we even ordered our meal, the chef sent out a special appetizer: a grilled jumbo scallop on a purple sweet potato chip with basil bisque. The combination of flavors was out of this world! The basil bisque was especially amazing. I may or may not have dipped my bread into it too! ;-)

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    As an appetizer, Mal and I shared one of the specials of the evening: homemade basil pasta with shiitake mushrooms, edamame, creamy goat cheese sauce, and a piece of crisp prosciutto. This dish was also outstanding. I actually forced myself to stop eating it because I knew there was still more food to come!

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    For my entree, I ordered the Jail Island Salmon, which was roasted on a cedar plank and served with summer radish salad. Loved it! The summer radish salad was light and lemony. I pretty much ate it all!

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    Mal ordered the Petite Prime Tenderloin, which was served with Bailey Hazen blue cheese polenta, heirloom tomatoes, and shaved celery salad. He also loved it and raved about the quality and flavor of the meat.

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    Another highlight of the meal was the brussels sprouts with a maple-bacon glaze. Holy yum! I plan to track down this recipe! ;-)

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    Mal and I were so stuffed, we didn’t have room for dessert. The horror! 8-O I almost always have room for dessert, but not that night. Too much good food!

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    Saturday: Lunch

    On Saturday morning, Mal and I woke up early-ish to run 9 miles as part of our TNT marathon training.

    A wonderful 5-mile, paved “recreation” path is located directly across the street from Topnotch, which made our 9-mile run rather convenient and especially enjoyable. I absolutely loved running through Vermont and snapped a ton of photos. We also had perfect running weather on Saturday morning! :-D

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    Mal and I dillydallied and ended up missing breakfast at Norma’s, so we enjoyed lunch outside on the patio instead.

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    Before I even looked at the menu, I needed coffeeeeeee! Running 9 miles will do that to ya!

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    I actually slugged down two iced coffees before our food was even served to the table! (I have issues.)

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    For lunch, I ordered a soup and salad combo: Fennel Tomato Soup with Cabot cheddar toast.

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    And Spinach-Pear salad with brie croutons and maple balsamic vinaigrette.

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    Both were excellent. Exactly what I wanted: carbs + cheese! ;-)

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    After lunch, we split the afternoon into his & hers tastings: wine for me and beer for Mal.

    First stop: Boyden Valley Winery.

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    Ahhhh… signs of fall! :-D

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    Yes!! Wine tasting in Vermont! :mrgreen:

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    Boyden Valley Winery offers Vermont red and white wines, fruit wines, and dessert wines.

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    Mal and I each did a tasting of six different types of wine, plus one Ice wine.

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    I didn’t love the wines, but it was still fun to try some new ones. My favorites of the day were the Cowtipper and the Rhubarb Wine, which I ended up buying for my sister. She loves rhubarb-flavored foods… and wine!

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    After tasting wine, we headed to the Shed Brewery to drink beer.

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    Mal and I each enjoyed a brew at the bar while chatting away.

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    We explored Stowe a little more before heading back to Topnotch. Then, we hit the pool and hot tub for some swimming, reading, and relaxation before dinner.

    Saturday: Dinner

    Mal and I enjoyed dinner again at Norma’s. This time, we started with the Artisanal Cheese Plate with three stinky cheeses from Vermont: Green Mountain Blue Cheese, Bijou from the Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, and Sweet Emotions from Lazy Lady Farms.

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    I pretty much dominated the cheese plate by myself, so I didn’t order an entree and skipped right to dessert. After missing dessert the night before, I knew that I needed to save room!

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    For dessert, I ordered the Chocolate Bread Pudding. Obviously.

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    I also enjoyed a decaf cappuccino, which was a nice way to end the meal.

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    A weekend in Vermont was exactly what I needed to relax and recharge. I’m usually a super planner when it comes to vacation, but this time, I made no plans and just went with the flow. It made for a really laid-back and stress-free get-away.

    Thank you, Topnotch, for hosting my husband and I this weekend! We loved it!! :mrgreen:

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    { 89 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jen September 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Looks amazing! What a great getaway for you and your husband! I loved looking at all of the food pictures, great post as always!

    Jen
    http://jenslosinit.blogspot.com/

    Reply

    Erin @ Cooking and the City September 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Norma’s is one of my all time favorite restaurants – so jealous of your multiple meals there in one weekend!!!

    Did you indulge in any spa treatments at Topnotch? Their spa is amazing.

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    Jen September 13, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    please get the recipe for the Brussel Sprouts…and do share! I’m curently obsessed with Brussel Sprouts and cook mine in a pan on the stove with butter and chopped roasted almonds.

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    Tina September 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    @Erin @ Cooking and the City: No, I wish I had though! It seemed really nice!

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    Emily @ Run Emily Run September 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Glad you had such a good time! I’m so jealous of the outdoor pool with a view. That sounds sooo nice right now.

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    Shanna, Like Banana September 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Looks pretty fabulous! And I love that you can feel the Fall setting in ;)

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    Di September 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    It looks really nice there and the food looked amazing. I haven’t been to Vermont in forever…probably since visiting a friend of mine at UVM! I’m glad you had a good time on your vacation. :)

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    Chicago Cuisine Critique September 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Your trip looked awesome. All of the food sounded and looked delicious! So glad you had a nice weekend. :)

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    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) September 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Bacon Maple Glaze? Do they make that in a shower gel? :)

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    Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels September 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Wow that looks like such a nice and relaxing vacation. I’m so glad you were able to take some time for yourself and just relax. :) All of the food looks fantastic too, especially the chocolate bread pudding. I’d be all over that.

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    Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon September 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing about your weekend in Vermont! My husband and I drove 17 hours to Vermont for our honeymoon, and we absolutely loved it! We went in the fall as well, and enjoyed so much good food (including some famous apple cider donuts we read about in Bon Appetit. Have you tried them?). So glad you enjoyed your visit :)

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    Briana September 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    How unbelievably gorgeous !! Def gonna put this resort in my “go-to” book !

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    kate September 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Looks like you guys had a fabulous time! Im hoping to get up to VT this winter. Oh and brie croutons?!

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    Amber K September 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    What a fun, fun time! I’m so glad you got a chance to get away for awhile and relax. And welcome back!

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    Kacie (Nonexistent Colors) September 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    How fun!!!! I worked with a guy from there and all I would ever hear is “Stowe this, Stowe that… Stowe, Stowe, Stowe!” It looked awesome!! Glad you guys had such a great time and were able to get away! And the salmon you had…. guuuuuurl, my stomach is rumblin’ just looking at the photo!! Mmmm,mmmm!

    I also have to tell you, I took my first Body Pump class today— IN LOVE! Totally hooked now! I haven’t felt this worked in a long time! Feeeeeeeel the burn! Had to be the first to tell you! Hope the week’s starting off right!

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    Mary @ Bites and Bliss September 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    That place looks GORGEOUS!! I love how cozy the room looks. And all those pumpkins made me smile! Love this season! :)

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    ashleigh September 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    What a fun vacation. Vermont is so relaxing, I love it!

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    Maissa (Run, Rant, Realize) September 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Wow! Looks like it was a great weekend! I have never been to Vermont (being that I’ve spent my life on the West Coast and have only trips east have been to New York and Boston), but now I’m thinking the next time I’m out east I’ll have to detour. It looks so beautiful and relaxing.

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    faith @ gracefulfitness September 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I am loving fall these days and seeing your pictures of vermont made me feel like I could smell that mountain air! Fall is my new favorite running season! (I used to think it was Spring).

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    stacey-healthylife September 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    So much good food and the resort looks amazing, love the pool and the weather is gorgeous.

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    Jasmine @ Eat Move Write September 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    That looks like so much fun! I’ve never EVER seen a hotel room decorated like that. I’m a bit jealous. I’ve also never been to Vermont. Looks like a super fun time. It’s so neat to see pumpkins out like that already. Definitely doesn’t feel like Fall here in California. :)

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    Lynn (The Actors Diet) September 13, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    wow how lovely! and how lucky you are too!

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    Alyssa September 13, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    That sounded like such a great time. I’m glad you enjoyed your mini vacay! =)

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    Lauren @ Running Examiner September 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I love Stowe, and this resort looks beautiful. (Adding it to my list!) What a wonderful weekend. So glad you and your husband had a great time!

    PS – Is anything better than Vermont cheese!? :)

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    Michelle (Delightfully Dietetic) September 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to Vermont. I’m so disappointed I never went while I lived in New York.

    Oh and veryy random Question Tina:

    How tall are you?

    Haha I know that sounds like an odd question but just out of curiosity. I think its just when you always see pictures of people and never see them in person and those are just the kind of things you wonder.

    …or maybe I’m just weird :P

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    Amanda September 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Hey Tina! First time commenter here, just wanted to say hi. Looks like you had a great relaxing vacation! I’d love to visit Vermont sometime. Look gorgeous!

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    Lisa (bakebikeblog) September 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    My oh my – what a wonderful weekend! And such a nice balance of relaxation and adventure :)

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    Krystina September 13, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    You captured everything wonderful about autumn!

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    Caitlin (EatFeats) September 13, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Any resort that serves lots of cheesy dishes is good by me.

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    Katie (Sweets and Veggies) September 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Woah! Looks and sounds like a really great trip!! Awesome pics!

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    Brynne September 13, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Glad you had such a great, relaxing weekend! Everything looks amazing :)

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    Lisa (Fit in the Midwest) September 13, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Yum, I would love that rhubarb wine. I hope your sister enjoys it!

    Looks like the perfect fall weekend Tina.

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    Hannah September 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    *laughs* I’m so glad to finally know of someone else who orders cheese and then dessert – I love doing that, but so often people treat me like I’m weird for doing so! :D

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    Chase (TheChaseProject) September 14, 2010 at 6:10 am

    What a lovely weekend! I haven’t been to Vermont in years and when I did go, it was just for skiing. I will have to get back there during the non-snowy months!

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    Rebecca September 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Looks like a nice weekend

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    Daisy September 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I was in VT too this past weekend. I was a just a tiny bit south of you guys ;) I’ve never been to Stowe but this resort looks incredible.

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    Kelly September 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I just made maple brussel spouts (sans bacon) a couple of nights ago and posted the recipe on my blog. I sauteed sprouts in 3 Tbsp. of real maple syrup, kosher salt, a sprinkle of red pepper, and a little olive oil and they cam out amazing! My husband was skeptical about them when I told them they were “maple” but he was loving them after one bite. :)

    Reply

    Deb September 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    i love that you come to vermont so much, and you hit up a few of my favorite places! did you try the glogg wine at boyden valley? it’s delicious and tastes like fall!

    Reply

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