It's been unseasonably warm in Boston the past couple of weeks. 65 degrees in February is virtually unheard of! And although we've been taking advantage of the good weather, we also had a chance to go on our annual ski trip to Jay, VT by way of Burlington for the Presidents' Day long weekend.
It's safe to say Vermont is a great destination year-round for the outdoorsy set or for those who just want to get away from the city. Vermont is full of quaint towns, hiking trails, B&Bs and excellent restaurants, but winter is especially fun for us as we go up with our niece and nephew.
Our first day was spent in Burlington. We normally spend at least a full day in town, but, due to some other vacations planned for the year, we had to cut it short since we were coming straight from work. Luckily, we were able to get in our (okay, my) two favorite activities: dinner at Hen of the Wood and Whim boutique on Church St.
Hen is hands down the best restaurant in Burlington. The menu changes constantly, but some highlights from our past trip included truffle hangar steak, mushroom toast, local cheese and the best damn Brussel sprouts in town. Service is nothing short of fantastic and well-timed. TIP: if you forget to make a reservation in advance, bar seating is first come, first served, including the lounge tables next to the cozy little fireplace. American Flatbread is also fantastic if you're looking for something more casual.
Whim, as you may have figured, is a women's clothing boutique with a great collection of designer jeans and cashmere sweaters. Their winter sale lasts from January to February and you can score some great deals. Plus, the staff is incredibly helpful and sweet.
After a night in BVT, it's time to hit the slopes! We've been coming to Jay for a few years now. The mountain is primarily geared towards the advanced skier, but there are a few good green runs. Our niece and nephew, who are 8 and 5, can out-ski us but were kind enough to do some easier trails with us. As you can imagine, these two are fearless when it comes to the mountain.
Although the fresh powder and warm weather was well worth the drive, the main draw for our family has always been the water park. We have a running joke about the Red Slide and its potential for street cred. Can you guess which one of us has earned the respect of the Kast kids? TIP: Once you’re waterparked out, head over to the Ice Haus. Guests of the various hotels can skate for free – just pay for shoe rentals at $5 per person.
Jay Peak Food Scene
Restaurants are limited, but luckily, most rooms come with a kitchen. Our recommendation is to bring your groceries (and pack the good coffee) if possible. The only store on the mountain lacks a great deal in terms of variety and deals. Of the restaurants in Jay, there are a few highlights:
- Miso Hungry serves authentic Japanese ramen out of a former gondola. You can enjoy a hot bowl of veggie, spicy or pork belly ramen by the fire. Perfect way to warm up!
- Alice's Table inside the Tram Haus is perfect for a nice pasta or fish.
- One of our favorites is a good burger at Foundry with a glass of Claret.
- Don’t forget to check out the aprés ski at the Bullwheel for live music, hot toddies and poutine.
There is an array of options in terms of lodging at Jay, which you can check out here. This past trip, we stayed at the Tram House Lodge, overlooking the mountain. Another family favorite was a ski-in, ski-out Village condo right off Grammy Jay.
And if we haven’t sold you on one of favorite winter past-times, then we have one last TIP: pack your passport and spend half a day across the border in Canada. It’s only 4 miles away!