Daily Archives: January 27, 2014

A Ski Weekend in Manchester Vermont

Every year a group of us plans a weekend of skiing in Vermont over the MLK Holiday.  This year, the plan just didn’t come together so I decided to take my son anyway and instead of staying on the mountain as we usually do, I opted to stay in Manchester, a town I’ve passed so many times but never visited.  This would also allow us the option to ski different hills if we wanted. 

We stayed at the Manchester View Inn which is a reasonably priced inn with varied types of rooms each with an outdoor porch or balcony.  It was clean and comfortable and perfect for a ski vacation.  The room had a small refrigerator which allowed us to pack some things for breakfast and afternoon snacks like milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.   The inn is about 30 minutes from Stratton Mountain which is where we skied both days.

We arrived in Manchester on Friday night a little later than I thought due to Albany area traffic but still early enough to get dinner.  After settling in and browsing through the dining guide in the room, we decided to go to The Silver Fork, a small family owned restaurant.  When we got there around 8:30pm, we were greeted with a smile from Melody but unfortunately they didn’t have anything available till 9:30pm.  She was so apologetic and friendly that when we got back to the car we decided that an hour wait was worth it for a menu we wanted to try.  And so, we went back at 9:30 and were promptly seated at the bar which is also reserved.  My son was thrilled since he loves to sit at the bar allowing him more opportunity to socialize.  A good restaurant experience, for me, is more than just about good food; it is about the whole package from ambiance, food, service, and my happiness scale at the end of the meal.

We had the most amazing experience that evening.  I ordered Baked Beets & Goat Cheese as an appetizer while my son enjoyed their warm breads and tapenade.  I accompanied this with a very nice Gruner Veltliner from Steininger.  My entrée choice, Slow Roasted Pheasant with Wild Mushroom Ragout & Polenta had run out so I opted for their other evening special of Osso Bucco and switched to a Cote du Rhone.  My son ordered the Salmon Strudel.  Both entrees were delicious and perfectly executed and we ate far more than we should have.  The rest of the menu looked equally good and we wanted to try a little bit of everything.  Throughout the evening Melody spoke to us about the food and the restaurant and how she and her husband (the chef), Mark, came to Manchester.  She was attentive to each and every patron and we even started up a nice conversation with our neighbors at the bar.  At one point she brought Mark out to introduce us as well.  Needless to say my son was a big hit with Melody and all the other staff with his enthusiasm for good food and witty conversation.  He even ventured to order their Mango Souffle served with Caramelized fresh Mangoes for dessert and proceeded to eat more of it than I thought he might.  To be fair it was really really awesome!!  It was huge but also light and airy and not too sweet which made it easy to eat.  I commented that it would taste really good with a nice Sauternes or dessert wine and immediately Melody poured me a small glass from a winery called Witness Tree in Oregon.  We had the best time and though the evening ran late, it was ok because we had already decided not to rush to the mountain in the morning.

Saturday conditions were not great for skiing but we managed to get in a few good runs before quitting.  Since my son was still recovering from being sick, we opted to stay in our room and eat cheese, crackers & fruit for our dinner that evening along with a bowl of store bought ramen and some local VT beer.  We watched “The Help” on TV in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and went to bed planning for an early start the next day.

Sunday was a much better day for the slopes.  With a few new inches of snow and colder temperatures for grooming, we didn’t feel like we were ice skating all day.  Getting on the lifts before 9am didn’t hurt.  It really was a fun day of skiing since my son was feeling much better and we also had a friend join us for part of the day to keep up with him – something I’m not as good at anymore.  With a brief stop for a light lunch which consisted of a bowl of noodles with chicken & vegetables, we skied straight till around 3:30pm.  While heading back to the inn, we realized that we were hungry again and decided to stop to eat on our way instead of waiting until dinner time. 

Another restaurant I had read about and wanted to try was on the way and so that’s where we wound up.  The restaurant is called “The Perfect Wife” but also has a tavern next door called “The Other Woman Tavern”.  Still in our ski attire, we opted for the tavern which would also allow us to watch the NFL playoff game between the Patriots and Broncos.  We ordered the Burrata with Arugula Salad from the restaurant menu and the small Nachos from the tavern menu.  A local wheat based IPA and a hot chocolate and we were all set.  The burrata was creamy and delicious and is made at a local farm.  We didn’t eat anything else, but I’ve made a mental note to visit the restaurant again on a future trip.  They also have live music at the tavern on Friday nights.  Happy to watch the Broncos win, we made our way back to the inn to relax for the evening.

One of my favorite things about traveling is the discovery of new places to eat.  I have passed through Manchester more than a dozen times but had never stopped to explore this town.  It is quite a large town with shopping and many more restaurants than we had time to try, but I will surely return on future trips and try more of them.  If you’re ever in Manchester, I do recommend that you try The Silver Fork and if you see Melody, please say hello for me.  Reservations are a must at both restaurants.  The tavern does not accept reservations.

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