Our mother Georgette Wasserstein Levis found her calling as Innkeeper of the Wilburton Inn. Mom loved flowers and movie musicals, her friends and family, and her loyal dog -- and all the Wilburton guests. Join us at the Wilburton Inn for Mother's Day Weekend: May 11-13, 2018. Celebrate the mothers in your family with a delicious Mother's Day Brunch in Manchester, Vermont, on Sunday, May 13th from 10:30-1 PM . Call for Reservations 802-262-2500.
Spring Snow at the Wilburton InnRead More
We are thrilled to be recognized as family innkeepers in this stunning article in the Boston Globe.
When our parents bought the Wilburton Inn 30 years ago, there were many family inns in Manchester. Now all but one has been purchased by a commercial chain.
Our family celebrates our 30th year as family innkeepers this summer. Our parents dined at the inn to celebrate dad's 50th birthday, and on June 12th we celebrate his 80th birthday this summer. The eldest Levis child, Tajlei turns 50 in June.
"We didn't buy it to run it like a Hyatt" is the chorus to our theme song. We bought it for a lifestyle, for the joy of hospitality, or meeting new guests every day and having them stay in our lives as an ever growing circle of friends.
How lucky were are to work together, side by side, three generations of Levis family innkeepers, sharing our talents, our passions, our genuine love of each other and our guests.
Our mom Georgette passed away three years ago and it is a fitting tribute that this Boston Globe article came out on Mother's Day. The vitality and joy at the Wilburton Inn celebrates her legacy for Vermont and her guests and our family.
Come up and see us sometime. The Wilburton Inn is truly inn-credible.
The Wilburton Inn celebrates love everyday. We offer a free night on Valentine's Day and a new anniversary special with complimentary champagne, chocolates, and room upgrade. More importantly, we're the only inn with a Museum and a Sculpture Trail that is dedicated to exploring the history of love.
Innkeeper, psychiatrist and curator, Dr. Albert Levis's Museum of the Creative Process explores artist Henry Gorski's phase of exuberant kisses. The Sculptural Trail in the History of Love retraces the shifting dynamics between the genders through Mexican, Greek, Indian, and Biblical cultures. The Pharos sculpture below depicts the power contrast between massive men and tiny women in Abrahamic religions.
This modern marble sculpture, The Kiss, and the red metal sculpture, Tilting at Windmills, conclude the exhibit by celebrating equality between the genders which is evidenced by their similar size. This is our idea of living happily ever after.
Click below to see a celebration of all the different kinds of love and kisses that we celebrate every day at the Wilburton Inn.
To you and all the ones you love, we wish you a very happy Valentine's Day.
- Levis Family Innkeepers
Birthdays are big in our family and in our lives as innkeepers at the Wilburton Inn. As we sing in our theme song, our dad, Albert spontaneously bought the Wilburton for his 50th birthday. This June, Tajlei, the eldest of the four Levis siblings, turns 50. (Though fingers crossed she won't be buying another inn!) Albert turns 80 in July, and Columbus Day marks our 30th anniversary of owning and running the Wilburton Inn. Here's Dr. Max Levis celebrating his 1st birthday as a junior. innkeeper.
My birthday is tomorrow. It's a small one: 47. 45 was the biggie. That marked my divorce, our mom's passing, my career change from NYC rock star to five year-olds to my commuting life as a Vermont family innkeeper. Best of all, 45 was the year I got my first dog - my beloved Jetson.
I spontaneously decided that the best birthday present I could give myself would be to invite our guests to join us this weekend and give a room for their friends for free.
See my favorite part of innkeeping isn't always having a reason to shop for throw pillows and decor. It's meeting the endless flow of people who arrive as strangers and depart as friends. Many even become an extension of our family as they come back not only through the years, but through the decades. Best of all, they returns as their family's grow. And speaking of birthdays -- beautiful Naomi Dove who was born this week to our Wilburton alumni bride and groom, Sara and Justin Zaslow!
Here I am celebrating my 18th birthday at the Wilburton Inn. Dad's hair is now silver. His glasses are gone, but I wore those gloves at our Murder Mystery weekend this Fall. (It's good that some things stay the same.)
A birthday is just another number, just another day. Tomorrow I'm having a small gathering with fellow NYC/Vermont transplants and you can be sure there will be singing around the piano. I am also getting a massage with Carlos, our Argentinean masseur in our very own spa. (Now THAT's a perk of running an inn!
But every day truly feels like a birthday when you're an innkeeper. There's always a celebration - an anniversary, a wedding. Here's our birthday girl Lea who turned 90 during her family reunion at the inn this summer!
I am very grateful to spend my birthday with my dad, my family, my dog, our staff, our guests our friends (and a bottle of Clairol.)
Happy birthday to you all!
Levis Family Innkeeper
December is especially joyful as our beloved 'girls weekend' trio, Pam, Janice and Jules, come to visit. It is the 12th year that they have decorated the Wilburton Inn Christmas tree and their 24th visit to the Wilburton Inn! Yankee Magazine devoted a full page to our magnificent tree in their holiday issue! These girls deck the halls in their very gay apparel. Click here to see a video of their spectacular matching outfits at the Wilburton for over a decade.
This was our 2nd annual Canine Slumber Party and Jetson loved welcoming more than a dozen fellow Cavalier King Charles Spaniels -- plus a very sweet yellow lab! It was a wonderful celebration of college friends, children, romantic couples, tourists, locals, and of course very cute doggies!Read More
At the Wilburton Inn, we always let freedom ring. I think the reason we have so many loyal and diverse guests is that everyone feels welcome to come to our country estate and just relax and be themselves.
Whether it's splashing by the pool...
Playing lawn games with friends...
Enjoying a romantic getaway
Of any kind..
We wish all our friends and guests a very happy, celebratory independence day!!
And happy anniversary Grandma and Grandpa too! It would have been their 68th anniversary on July 4th!
Join us with your family, friends, and romantic partners this July 4th. Click here to Book Now or call 802-362-2500.
Last summer, all 200 participants of the Vermont Summer Festival joined us for an Earth Sky Time Farm night dinner!
Some of the reasons Vermont Summer Festival horse show families love staying at the Wilburton Inn is because in addition to bed & breakfast guest rooms, we offer 8 different large vacation rental homes in Manchester. Riders and their families can enjoy cooking and relaxing in the homes after a big day in the ring - and of course they can do the laundry! Click here to see all the different houses we offer for groups of every size.
Family members who aren't spending the day in the ring, can relax by the Wilburton Inn's tennis court and swimming pool.
Best of all, it seems that horse lovers are also dog lovers! And they know that at the Wilburton Inn and Manchester Vermont Vacation are pet friendly rental homes. Our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Jetson, loves when other dogs come to stay!
We wish all our Vermont Summer Festival guests best of luck this year at the horse show! We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to Vermont!
Tug of war, talent shows, campfires and S’mores, these are the joys of family reunions. The Wilburton Inn specializes in big, multigenerational family reunions as it's been family run by 3 generations of the Levis family for almost 30 years! Everyone is welcome at the Wilburton - from infants to great grandparents who need handicapped accessible rooms. Of course pets are welcome as they are part of the family!
Last summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, we welcomed over 43 family reunions at the inn and our seven vacation villas. Here are tips that I learned from our helping our many family reunion guests. May they inspire you to plan years of colorful, joyful family reunions!
#1 Pick a Bigger House Than You Think You Need
Squeezing into your favorite jeans is one thing. Squeezing into a house with 20 relatives is another. There's always a grumpy in-law who resents being dragged along, so it's worth it to spend a little more and get a larger home where s/he can read their Kindle in peace.
Our Battenkill Valley Mansion has 15 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms and sleeps up to 34 guests! This is our most popular reunion home. Some guests come from overseas and stay for 10 days with different friends and relatives coming for different parts of the stay.
Also, be sure the house has a big enough living room and dining room for the whole gang hang out together, after all, that's why you're doing this. Here's a list of all 7 large reunion homes at the Wilburton Inn.
#2 Location, Location, Location
Pick a town that has lot of things to do. Fingers crossed, the sun will shine and the dads can golf as the kids zipline and then everyone can take a glorious family hike, but it’s still good to know where the local bowling alley is, just in case. Manchester, Vermont is a fantastic town for a week long family reunion thanks to the outdoor summer concerts, zip lining and fun zone at Bromley Mountain, golfing, horseback riding, hiking, shopping at Manchester Designer Outlets the cultural events at Weston Playhouse, Dorset Theatre Festival, and Manchester Music Festival, and boating on the Battenkill River.
If you do end up indoors, try hands-on, interactive group activities like glass blowing or cheese-making that are unique to your location.
Tevya said it best in Fiddler on the Roof. Traditions keep a family together. One group has a family book club and discusses a different story each year. In another family, everyone including the kids, have to share a joke at the dinner table. The family elder tell stories about the family history. Another family makes a point to share favorite memories of relatives who have passed away. These traditions connect the children to the family roots and legacy.
I was very touched by a family that came with 31 family members to celebrate their 31st family reunion. Their tradition is a family prayer circle where everyone shares what they hope for in the coming year. One family member writes these down and emails this list to the group so they can pray for each other throughout the year. When they unite the next summer, they revisit the list to celebrate what came true.
#4 Put Your Kids Devices to Good Use
Accept that even in nature, your kids are going to be on their iPads. You can help them use their screen time to be creative! They can shoot and edit a family movie on their phone. Have them interview the oldest relative and make a documentary. Let them use their laptops to be the DJs at family dance parties.
#5 To Cook or Not To Cook – That Is the Question
Cooking together is a great way to bond, but be mindful that it’s no fun doing the dishes – especially on vacation. Every family reunion vacation house at the Wilburton Inn has a BBQ and tables to enjoy eating al fresco. For groups that enjoy cooking together, divide into teams and decide on theme meals in advance so people can practice their favorite recipes. Make sure it’s not just the guys who grill and the women who do the dishes.
We also offer guests the option of having our chef and staff cook and clean up after every meal or host a big celebration meal like a 50th birthday dinner or anniversary hoopla!
Summer Guests at the Wilburton Inn also enjoy eating outside at our Wednesday night Farm Night dinners. Family Reunions love having their group be a part of this larger weekly event with organic vegetarian food from our farm, Earth Sky Time.
#6 Plan In Advance
It’s a pain in the neck to organize all the logistics of a big group vacation. But if you do it before 30 relatives walk through the rental house door, then you can relax and enjoy the time together. (I always say that the person who organizes the trip gets the biggest bedroom.)
#8 Let the Games Begin!
Lawn games like corn hole, Frisbee, flag football, giant outdoor Jenga are great for all ages to play together. Create teams for spirit. Make your own family color war and Olympics. Cards, headbands, and charades are great free fun family indoor games. The point is to pick games with audience participation. And when the kids go to bed, the grown ups can play Scrabble.
True I was a children’s songwriter before becoming an innkeeper, but I do feel that music is an important part of every family reunion. Encourage everyone to bring instruments. Sing around a campfire. Put on a family talent show. Turn your living room into a karaoke party by downloading videos on You Tube. Have the kids put on skits to celebrate family milestones. Write a family theme song to a famous song. As School House Rock taught us, we remember what we sing, so sing your own family song!
#10 Not Everyone Has to Wear the T-Shirt
Remember, not everyone has to do everything on family reunions. This is the key to getting that reluctant spouse in #1 to come back the next year. So if someone doesn’t want to wear this year’s family T-shirt, that’s just fine.
For a terrific resource on family reunion planning, click here http://family-reunion.com/
Click here to see all eight of the Wilburton Inn's spacious vacation homes for large family reunions.
Wishing you and your families of summer of joyful memories!
-- The Levis Family Innkeepers
How lucky we are that our childhood friend from Bennington, Vermont grew up to become the Martha Stewart of home organization!
This Saturday, May 14th, we invite our lodging guests and the community to a free talk from 10:00 - 11:30 to learn Maeve's Method's Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips. For those who want to go deeper, Maeve is offering a hands on workshop from 2:00 - 5:00 for $25. Maeve invites participants to actually bring their messy pocketbook and pull out their top drawers and she will step by step show how to prioritize the important things and toss all the clutter.
For more information or to register, call 917.885.2806 or click here: https://maevesmethod.com/events/
I can recommend Maeve's Method wholeheartedly, because this Spring she helped us transform the Wilburton Inn! In a whirlwind 4 day session, Maeve helped me apply her organization principals like "put like with like" and "give everything a home." Without buying a single item, we rearranged paintings, bedside tables, lamps, chairs, throw pillows, and nick-nacks and brought style and tranquility to 35 bedrooms in 5 different homes!
Together we truly rolled up our sleeves, fearlessly dove in, and had a wonderful time creating beauty and taming clutter. It was like a giant easter egg hunt finding pairs of bedside tables and matching bedside lights that had been purchased as sets but somehow had separated in the 9 separate properties at the Wilburton Inn. At the end we had a great big give away pile and made other people happy with the treasures we had outgrown.
Here is a fun collection of photos that capture Maeve's Method & our magical time together this Spring transforming the Wilburton Inn!
Stay tuned for all the great photos of our after photos! See you this Saturday at the Wilburton's Spring Transformation Event with Maeve's Method!
Life as an innkeeper is always interesting because of the ever changing stream of various guests that come through our door and into our lives. Last year we began a new tradition of renting the Wilburton Inn as a mansion for private groups. This month, we welcomed a very different group each week - from hedge fund honchos to Chabad rabbis, to the production team from Housewives of New Jersey!
February kicked off with a 31 year-old Wall Street banker bachelor who rented all 11-bedrooms in the Wilburton mansion for his friends over President's Day Weekend. Though they arrived in Porsches and could have been straight out of The Wolf of Wall Street, they turned out to be low-key fellows who packed their instruments along with their snowboards. They jammed around the grand piano while kicking back fireside. It turns out one of them lives around the corner from me iand Jetson in Soho. We love when our NYC and VT lives converge and we look forward to seeing them all again.
The next weekend, love was in the air and a NYC Chabad group rented the entire Wilburton estate for a singles mixer. Rabbis kashered the inn's kitchen and our maintenance crew hung an eruv around the entire 30 acre estate. It was beautiful to share Shabbat together - and Jewish Week wrote about the Wilburton this week!
The day after Chabad checked out, four members of Bravo's Real Housewives of New Jersey production team came up to scout the Wilburton as a location for the housewives' ski trip. Unfortunately Manchester didn't have enough snow, so they went north to Stowe instead. Too bad, because Albert suggested he could cure the housewives with his conflict resolution testing. (There are perks to staying at a psychiatrist's inn.) We hope they join us next season.
The next weekend, the start up team of Juno, a new car driving service to rival Uber, came up for a corporate weekend. After a day on the slopes and massages in our new Carriage House Spa, they dressed up for a formal dinner, their "Juno Jubilee." They packed DJ equipment and props and danced into the night with a Karaoke party on our livingroom movie screen.
Though it didn't work out with the New Jersey Housewives, the following weekend we welcomed these New Jersey dads for their 3rd annual father-son ski trip. Chef Gary catered their hearty pre-skiing breakfasts and a formal dinner feast. They call themselves the 'counts of the round table' and we count ourselves lucky to be their hosts and friends.
And now spring is around the corner! Soon the mansion will be rented for brides and family reunions plus the individual guests who enjoy being a part of this wonderful mansion in the mountains.
From the top of Stratton, we thank all our guests for a wonderful ski season together!
-- The Levis family and Jetson
"If there is a more romantic or peaceful setting in the world, I have yet to discover it.” That's what Rand McNally's Best Bed & Breakfast Guide wrote about the Wilburton Inn, and as family innkeepers, it gives us great joy to see our guests basking in the romantic spirit of our historic estate.
For 28 years, it has been a pleasure to see guests of every age, every season swept up in love.
The spirit of love extends between men, women, parents, children, and of course, guests and our four legged puppy, Jetson.
Innkeeper and psychiatrist Dr. Albert Levis has been fascinated by the symbol of love as expressed through a kiss. His new Museum of the Creative Process in Manchester Village has an entire room devoted to kisses by expressionist Henry Gorski.
The Museum of the Creative Process sculptural trail on the Wilburton estate is devoted to the journey between men and women through civilizations to find happiness and live happily ever after. And after traveling through the ancient world of Greek sphinxes, Mesopotamian temptresses, Aztec warriors, Indian Goddesses, and Biblical saints and virgins, the Museum of the Creative Process sculpture trail concludes with this Vermont marble sculpture called "The Kiss."
Finally there's equality and equity between the genders. So here is a kiss to you and your family on Valentine's Day and every day with love from the Levis family innkeepers.
Today is the second anniversary of losing our mom and innkeeper, Georgette.
We write this from the beach of Aruba which was her happy place (second to the Wilburton Inn.) As Max, Dad, and I watch the hot pink sun set on the ocean, we think of her parents' favorite song, Sunrise, Sunset.
Sadly mom's sun set far too soon, but she would be so proud and delighted to know that the family and inn she loved so much are growing life anew.
Dad is opening his new Moral Science Art Gallery in Manchester Village. He is finishing his volume of case studies and writing a new book about his cultural card game called Healing the Person, Healing the World. Pierre Mattisse, the grandson of Henri, was so touched by his two week vacation at the Wilburton, that he painted two portraits of dad to thank him!
Oliver and Bonnie are expecting their 4th child this spring. They return tomorrow from a month long tour across America spreading music, bus baked pizza, and the creative Levis family spirit on their incredible double decker bus. Read their blog here.
Tajlei is polishing her draft of the Broadway bound musical of Green Acres. Max is hunkering down to finish his PhD. Grandchildren Noam and Monty are preparing for their Bar-Mitzvahs.
Melissa, Tajlei and Max just bought this historic home where they now live as a family with Albert, one mile from the Wilburton.
We thank our guests, staff and community for helping to sustain Georgette's presence at the inn and in our lives. Continuing her legacy, the Wilburton is more vibrant than ever. We look forward to sharing it with you.
Click here to enjoy these musical tributes to Georgette:
With gratitude and love, The Levis Family
Vermont has always been a winter wonderland for outdoor fun. Here's my sister and I sledding a few days (I mean decades!) ago in front of our Manchester home, which is now Earth Sky Time Farm.
Guests at the Wilburton can enjoy cross country skiing right outside our door. Here's innkeeper Max taking a ski little break after a busy day at the inn.
So join us and sit beside the fire, whether the weather is 5 degrees this February or 50 degrees as it was just last night.
A trip to the Wilburton is truly a winter wonderland. Stay cozy!
Levis family innkeepers - still sledding after all these years.
Christmas and Innkeeping go hand in hand, and all the way back to the very first Christmas of all when there was no room in that Bethlehem Inn. (If Mary had come to the Wilburton, we would have made sure to accommodate her somewhere!)
We are honored that our Christmas tree is featured in a full page photo in the current holiday issue of Yankee Magazine. It has been a pleasure to welcome guests from all over the world who come to enjoy our historic inn tours and cookies. Our Victorian mansion looks truly splendid with garlands wrapped around the mahogany stairs and beams.
The Wilburton itself is lit up like our beautiful Christmas tree.
We look forward to welcoming back many families and couples who have been joining us over the Christmas holiday for two decades. 40 members of the Pennoyer Family gather at the inn for their post-Christmas family reunion. Patriarch Robert Pennoyer sent us his wonderful book "As It Was" and we have enjoyed learning even more about his distinguished family history. The Seabrooks and Abrahms families are coming back too for their traditional New Years gatherings at the Inn. This will be the Seabrook's 26th year as Wilburton Inn guests!
The scent of Filet Mignon wafts from the kitchen as Chef Gary prepares the feasts in our Billiard Room.
The presents are under the tree and Jetson and his friends keep guard to make sure no one opens them until Christmas morning.
Here is the Wilbur Family's Christmas card from 1919! They are enjoying afternoon tea in the very same wicker chairs that our guests enjoy today. They certainly don't make 'em like they used to.
So in the words of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur,
"We wish you comfort, joy and peace,
And plenty of love and laughter,
A heart of courage to face the world,
And whatever is coming after."
Happy Holidays to all,
The Levis Family
I never had Christmas tree envy. I never even yearned for a Hanukah bush. My mom spray painted pine boughs with silver and gold then frosted them in glitter. They captured the magic of Vermont's December's snowy shimmer. That was more than enough for me. Yet somehow our family's Vermont country inn's Christmas tree now graces a full page spread in Yankee Magazine's holiday issue.
Two years ago, my siblings and I inherited the majestic Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vermont that our parents had run for 27 years.
We also inherited Pam, Jan, and Jewels, aka "The Twinkle Girls," three lifelong best friends who have been decorating our tree on girls weekend escapades for a decade.
In addition to festooning our tree, they also decorate themselves. (Click here for a video of them in action.)
They arrive armed with glue guns, martini shakers and a carload of arts and crafts. Late into the night, they create matching light-up theme costumes in triplicate. They have been candy canes, angels, Christmas trees and reindeers. Then like Santa, they spread joy to all, caroling at the town nursing home and tossing candy from the lead float in Manchester's light up tractor parade. They even decorated my puppy and inspired me to turn Rudolf into, "Jetson, The Red Coat Cavalier"
This fun loving trio comes back for annual summer girls' weekends too. Then they wield their glue guns to make summer themed outfits like cowgirls, luau dancers or patriotic cheerleaders. The Wilburton Inn is their happy place and they make everyone happier when they come to visit.
Innkeeping goes back to the very first Christmas when Mary ended up in the manger because there was no room at the inn. (Perhaps the modern equivalent is Columbus Day weekend in Vermont?)
Times have changed, but innkeeping has not. In a world of Facebook, innkeeping is always face-to-face (though I admit I love Facebook because it helps me stay in touch with our guests that literarily span from Brazil to the Arctic Circle.)
The Twinkle Girls bring their glittery spirit in good times and in bad. When we were stunned to learn that our mom, Innkeeper Georgette Wasserstein Levis, had cancer, the Twinkle Girls decorated the inn for her pink sparkle "This Is Your Life" party. They invented new light-up pink costumes from the shoes to the hats - and made a 4th matching outfit for mom.
When mom passed away just three weeks later, the Twinkle Girls were back to decorate the inn with white organza garlands and overflowing boughs of flowers.
This was going to be a very special Christmas for the girls. It kicked off their second decade of decorating the Wilburton Inn Christmas tree and of course their new celebrity in #Yankee Magazine. (Would you believe a man from California read the article and called the inn to get their autograph?)
Two weeks ago, however, I got a call from Pam. She just heard the devastating news that she had cancer and would be spending December in surgery. She said she was was doubly heartbroken to miss decorating our tree. But at least the Twinkle Girls will be together. One went on leave, the other quit her job so they could all be there for the surgery at Johns Hopkins and the recovery period back home near Albany. The Wilburton Inn staff sent Pam a pink sparkly Christmas tree -- because if Mohamed couldn't go to the mountain, the mountain was coming to her. We also sent three matching hot pink Wilburton tank tops and a cozy new Wilburton Inn bathrobe so Pam can feel wrapped up in our family's embrace. And whenever she is up to it, all three girls are coming to recuperate in their favorite suite at the Wilburton for as long as they want on the house.
Innkeeping is intimate. Some guests are just passing through, but for the majority of guests, the Wilburton Inn becomes their touchstone, and they become a part of our extended family. You don't get that at a Sheraton. (But of course, as we sing in our family inn theme song, "We didn't buy it to run it like a Hyatt.")
So this year, I will decorate my first Wilburton Inn Christmas tree. Fortunately, Linda, our head housekeeper and Wilburton Inn dorm mother will be there to help me. And Pam, Jewels and Jan can be there on Facetime on my phone to be sure we've done it just right.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or just the winter solstice, to me, the season is really about wonder. The wonder of cold dark nights that twinkle with glittering stars. The wonder of catching up with extended family and sharing good laughs and good meals. It's lifting your voice and singing out in gladness and going back in time to hear bells on horses ring. It's feeling cozy and content in front of the fire and grateful for the blessings of friendship, family and health.
I am grateful that my new career in innkeeping has introduced me to so many wonderful, inspiring friends like the Twinkle Girls who make every day merry and bright.
On Thanksgiving and every day, we give thanks to our guests who join us on this magical hill. In this mile a minute world of technology, innkeeping is old fashioned. Instead of facebook, it's truly face to face. One of the pleasures of being an innkeeper, is getting to spend time with guests and getting to hear their stories of what brings them to Vermont.
We thank you for your loyalty and friendship through the years. Some guests have been coming to the Wilburton twice a year for over 27 years. Another couple discovered us 20 years ago because we were one of the first pet friendly inns. They have been coming eight times a year for two decades! Every weekend brings new guests too - romantic young couples, retired free spirits, multigenerational families. At the Wilburton, we don't just say our thanks, we sing it.
We are also incredibly grateful to our staff that makes it possible to run this estate. Martha has been our book keeper for over 20 years. John retired this year after 22 years. Linda our head housekeeper has been with us for 5 years. This was a year of grateful goodbyes to Letitia, Joe, Chef Lisa and Ed and heartful hellos to new faces including Alan, our hospitality manager who brings hotel experience spanning three decades at Marriot and Hilton. Ed ads brains, brawn, and remarkable trivia knowledge to the front desk team. August makes pumpkin pancakes that leave guests raving on trip advisor.
We wish you and your families a wonderful holiday weekend and are truly thankful for the oportunity to welcome you to the Wilburton Inn and the beautiful town of Manchester, Vermont.
I feel very lucky to share my adventures as Vermont Country Innkeeper on the Huffington Post. This is a blog that debuted on the heels of our 3rd annual Levis Family 'Getaway with Murder' weekend at the Wilburton.
Was it Miss Scarlet in the dining room with the candlestick? Or Professor Plum in the conservatory with the rope? Unfortunately it was my mother in the billiard room with lung cancer, although none of us knew it at the time.
Our Murder Mystery Weekend on November 2, 2013 heralded a new era of family collaboration at the Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vermont. For 26 years, our parents had run the inn with love and now my sister and I were ready to roll up our sleeves and join the family business. It was a magical night for everyone.
My sister, who is currently commissioned to pen the musical adaptation of Green Acres for Broadway, wrote a wonderful "who done it" interactive script inspired by the inn's actual history. My brother Max ran the event and coordinated the staffing and dinner. Our brother Oliver who is an organic farmer, played the turn-of-the-century farmer who actually owned the land where the inn was built -- until he lost it in a rigged game of poker. I contributed to the family hoopla by recruiting my New York City actor friends, Alysia Reiner and David Alan Basche to be our guest stars in exchange for a weekend in the bridal suite.
The Manchester Journal wrote a front-page story about this "dinner party to die for" and a waiting list of 40 clamored to be a part of this glamorous evening.
As guests poured into the mansion, our mom, aided by our bookkeeper Martha and a how to video on YouTube, was trying to figure out how to pin a sari that an Indian bride had sent as a thank you for her recent wedding.
Our mom had always loved Agatha Christie. No family vacation was complete with out a paperback featuring Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. Our mom was a natural writer like her sister, playwright Wendy Wasserstein, only mom's creative expression came in writing letters, a novel about her beloved dog, and annual murder mysteries at the inn. She was delighted to see my sister carrying on her tradition. Our murder mystery showed us all how much fun we could have working together and bringing so much joy to our guests and small town. This was just the beginning and it promised something so good.
And then came the news that mom's cough wasn't just a cough. For six months she had dismissed it as nothing. Having been married for nearly 50 years to our dad who a psychiatrist, she thought perhaps she was just holding her feelings in, and they were coming out as a cough. The doctor at her check up three months earlier dismissed it as nothing too. But a week after our wonderful party, the reason of her cough and fatigue were no longer a mystery.
As our mom literally danced and sang through chemo and radiation, we kept celebrating at the inn. On these heals of her diagnosis came Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Years, all celebrated with guests and staff and friends and family.
We celebrated stronger than ever, because her life was a celebration and we were all determined to bask in what she created rather than just grieve for her fate. When mom died on February 6th, her funeral was the grandest party of all -- with singing, dancing, rapping, crying and band of red jump suit wearing klezmer musicians who led our town into the snowy graveyard.
And then we mourned. For three months, there were no parties at the inn. And then on Mother's Day, we threw a dance party and musical brunch and we have not stopped celebrating since. Farm night dinners each week in summer. Musicals. Book readings. Doggie slumber parties. Halloween costume balls. Our family has decided that the inn should be more vibrant than ever as a testament to mom's spirit of joy and celebration.
Two years later, we are not only surviving, we are thriving. My father just came back from a vacation to see his brothers in Greece and explore the mysteries of Istanbul. My sister and brother Max and I just bought a magnificent 12-bedroom house which will be a home for our children and their children so they will always have fun together in Vermont.
My brother Oliver and his wife Bonnie are expanding too, with a new barn and new bus, and a new crop on the horizon. And the inn wraps up our 28th fiscal year with our strongest year since the go-go '80s.
And this weekend my sister hosts her third annual Murder Mystery Weekend. It will be another wonderful party in another packed house. And I hope mom is watching from above in her beautiful pink Sari, smiling and figuring out who done it. You did it mom. Thank you for filling us with so much love that we can keep growing and singing and playing and loving and always remembering you. It was Georgette. With her smile. In the Mountains of Vermont. It's no mystery. You were an exceptional mom, innkeeper, grandma, wife, aunt, and friend.
A highlight of growing up in Manchester were the towering cakes and gooey fudge sundaes at Mother Myrick's. Their orgininal fudge factory (where Zaccheo Fine Art is now located) was our very own Willy Wonka/Serendipity magical confectionery. And the incredible thing is -- 30 years later, it still is!
Jacki Baker and Ron Mancini, the talent, faces and hearts behind Mother Myrick's are still delighting the taste buds of locals and tourists. And now through their thriving mail order business, they share their incredible buttercrunch far and wide. (Be sure to stock up for Christmas!)
Jacki and Ron are such supportive members of the whole community. I love seeing them at outdoor summer concerts on the town green, farm night dinners at the Wilburton Inn and Chamber of Commerce events. When I saw them at the Manchester Music Festival Led Zepplin gala I realized we saw each other 4 times in one week!
Our mom loved welcoming special guests with their buttercrunch, and of course when it's time for my son's birthday, there's no place else I'd go to for a Lemon Lulu cake. They even invited my son and nephew to a backstage tour of the Mother Myrick's factory! And yes, there was an Ethel and Lucy sticker on the conveyor belt.
When we hosted our Canine Costume Howl'oween Party at the Wilburton Inn last week, I knew I wanted to include community involvement and Ron and Jacki were the first people I called. They created a wonderful prize for the "Sweetest Costume." Our talented judges, Rabbi David Novak and Shona from Second Chance Animal Shelter, awarded the prize Jetson in his banana split outfit, but of course, I couldn't accept.
Our other generous community sponsors included Northshire Bookstore (who awarded the most literary costume to Snow White) and Pets Etc who gave prizes to the most creative home made costume. (Beemer and Gracie snatched that one up hands down.) Here is a photo of the trio!
Our fourth sponsor was another cookie baker with a factory right next to Mother Myrick's: Wagatha's Organic Dog Biscuits! What a great opportunity to make a new friend in Wagatha's CEO Neil Reilly and his terrific assistant, Erica. Wagatha's sweetly supplied a box of Maple Bacon dog cookies to every 4 legged guest.
My heart overflows with gratitude to Jacki and Ron and all the businesses, judges, guests and community dog lovers who were a part of our Howl'oween hoopla. Not only did we have so much fun, but we also raised $100 for Second Chance Animal Shelter!
I feel fortunate to have come home to the Wilburton and be a part once again of this wonderful town. What is sweeter than a homecoming with dear friends, beloved dogs and the BEST buttercrunch in the USA?