Dining and a weekend stay at the Jackson House in August 2005
in Woodstock, Vermont
We had purchased through a Luxury Link Auction website, a three-night stay in the Jackson House's premier suite, Malena's Tango, which included daily breakfasts, one "tasting menu" dinner for two along with "wine pairings", and champagne and flowers upon arrival. The package also came with a complimentary evening cocktail/ hors-d'oeuvres, which we did not partake in.
We pulled up to the Inn at about 3:45 p.m. for a 3:00 p.m. check-in time, but the inn was locked and a note on the door that Carl and Linda (the owners) would return at 4 p.m. Not an auspicious start, but Carl did show up at 4 and check-in went smoothly. In fact, that was probably the only glitch in the stay, to our pleasant surprise.
The room was lovely, with first rate luxury amenities: quality bed linens, thick towels, bottled Vermont spring water, etc. and the promised bottle of champagne and flowers were there. In addition, the innkeepers, printed a personalized "welcome" note, along with our names on cards showing pictures of the inn to be used as stationery. Perhaps the only disappointment with the premises (as opposed to our last visit several years back) was the lack of flowers in the back garden, or on the front porch. A drought had dried up the lawns in back, and everything looked parched.
"Breakfasts were wonderful - fresh juices,
outstanding fruit and yogurt parfaits,
hot irish oatmeal
(as good as the best we have had in Ireland!)"
We were also served excellent home baked pastries, muffins etc. and a selection of different cooked entrees each morning, all prepared by a charming young woman named Kelly.
Our dinner in their restaurant was also very good - some dishes outstanding, others, very good, and the wine selections were varied and novel, with the skilled hostess, Brooke, providing details about each wine poured (there were 5). I had put in a request in one of my emails, when solicited by Carl for any particular dining preferences, for a foie gras appetizer and a chocolate dessert to be served to my husband who was celebrating a banner birthday that night. Neither were on the tasting menu for that evening, but once again I was pleasantly surprised, when both requests were honored. Service was flawless in the restaurant, everything well timed, and done professionally. The restaurant was filled, so for a Wednesday night in mid- August, it has certainly built a reputation locally. As a final touch, they had printed our names on the top of the evening's menu, and presented it rolled and tied with a ribbon on our departure, with each of the wines hand listed in detail on the back.
The inn portion of the property was not as booked as the restaurant - perhaps 2 to 4 rooms booked each midweek night we were there. A sign of the diminished tourist volume?
We were also pleasantly surprised that the settling of the bill at the end of the stay, did not incur any further confusion - especially since our prepaid charge was less than half of the actual charges, and our initial email exchanges had been a bit strange. From what I could observe, Brooke, the restaurant manager and hostess, may also be the hotel manager as well, since she was very familiar with all the details of our bookings, whereas Carl, seemed to be the "absent minded" host. He was pleasant enough to us when we met him, but seemed to be more interested in the restaurant and wine cellar aspect of the inn, rather than the innkeeping. In fact, he had a rather loud breakfast meeting with someone (we were seated at the next table), where he was discussing the possibility of opening another restaurant - or expanding this one with different features.... not quite sure of the full intention as we were "eavesdropping" anyway!
We did not see his wife Linda at all, who is listed as a cohost.
Gourmand Getaway Packages are available November 2005 through May 2006 at the Jackson House. Mid-week packages are available Sunday through Thursday and start at $490 and go to $690 per couple. Weekend packages start at $540 and go to $740 per couple. Prices are exclusive of taxes, gratuity and daily service charge.
114-3 Senior Lane
Woodstock, VT 05091
review by Judy