We're in the Boston Globe!

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.

Birthdays at a Country Inn

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.

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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!

Melissa
Levis Family Innkeeper

THE REAL 'HOLIDAY INN' IS NOT JUST ON BROADWAY!

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!

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The Vermont Summer Festival: The Horse Show Comes to Town!

The Wilburton Inn has a long history as a supporter of the Vermont Summer Festival. Ever since the festival first arrived in Manchester, the Wilburton Inn has had the pleasure of hosting Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show judges, contestants and families.  

Wilburton Inn lodging gets the blue ribbon with Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show riders.

Wilburton Inn lodging gets the blue ribbon with Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show riders.

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!

 

Remembering and Looking Forward

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. 
 

Taconic Mansion

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:

Georgette's Celebration of Life Funeral

Melissa's song, "Me and My Mom"

The Family Inn Theme Song

With gratitude and love,  The Levis Family


A Jewish Innkeeper's 1st Christmas Tree

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.

WilburtonInnChristmasTreeYankeeMagazine

Two years ago, my siblings and I inherited the majestic Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vermont that our parents had run for 27 years.

WilburtonInnWinter

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.

YankeeMagazineTwinkleGirls

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.

Murder Mysteries at the Wilburton

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. 
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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. 

Alysia Reiner and Levis Sisters

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.

 

So many things to do in Manchester!

What a busy weekend!

It's another beautiful August day with bright blue skies and green trees. Today is the antique car race up Equinox Mountain. We wish our guest Andy Greenberg a great race. This is his Aston Martin that he drives up from New York City for the big race. Nice wheels, Andy!

Andy's Astin Martin

Today is the sidewalk sales in Manchester. You can save on all the great shops at like Coach, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren at Manchester Designer Outlets, plus Orvis, and our favorite independent boutique, The Gold Trout, 

This is the final weekend of the 6 week Vermont Festival Horse Show. We have loved hosting so many riders who have stayed with us for many weeks. We think you all take the blue ribbon.

Vermont Festival Horse Show

Today was a town wide tag sale in Arlington Vermont. Norman Rockwell lived in Arlington for the later part of his career and it is a charming small town with lots of great treasures and antiques.

Tonight is the August Moon Dance at the Southern Vermont Art Center to benefit the Israel Congregation of Manchester.

This weekend we are delighted to welcome back two Wilburton Alumnae brides and grooms who are here celebrating their 7th and 11th anniversaries with their families. We are also hosting a sustainability conference in one of our homes and two family reunions. 

We want to welcome back the Lundberg family who have been guests at the inn for many years for their family reunion. This year includes weddings for two of their children -- so it's great that they can relax before the wedding planning begins.

Have a great weekend!

family reunions at the wilburton

Have a great weekend!


Mother's Day Is Every Day at The Wilburton Inn

Our mom, Georgette Wasserstein Levis, believed in family. She came from a large family in Brooklyn, New York. Her siblings, playwright Wendy Wasserstein, Lazard CEO Bruce Wasserstein and advertising executive Sandra Meyer were all extraordinary, all legends in their fields.

Wendy, Mom, Sandy, Bruce at our parents wedding at the Plaza Hotel in 1967.

Wendy, Mom, Sandy, Bruce at our parents wedding at the Plaza Hotel in 1967.

Mom was extraordinary in a completely different way. She married a nice Jewish doctor. (Well, Albert is certainly many more things in addition to 'nice'. More like 'brilliant,' 'interesting,' 'complicated,' and 'generous.') Georgette had four children in 3 different decades: Tajlei and Melissa in her 20s, Oliver in her 30s, and Max when she turned 40.

Georgette and Oliver, the farmer, Melissa, the children's songwriter, Tajlei the Broadway bound lyricist and lawyer, and Max, the scholar and manager of the Wilburton Inn.

Georgette and Oliver, the farmer, Melissa, the children's songwriter, Tajlei the Broadway bound lyricist and lawyer, and Max, the scholar and manager of the Wilburton Inn.

Mom was an intrinsic part of the community of Manchester, Vermont, serving on the board of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Weston Playhouse, The Israel Congregation of Manchester, and many other organizations. Mom was a hostess and innkeeper for 27 years. She welcomed guests from around the world to the Wilburton. She made our guests and staff feel special and truly cared for. 

Innkeepers Albert and Georgette Levis

Innkeepers Albert and Georgette Levis

In the Jewish tradition, families sit shiva for a week and friends drop by to reminisce. Our family has been so grateful because every weekend for more than a year we have enjoyed visits from returning guests and Wilburton brides who share wonderful stories of what Georgette meant to them: her charm, her hospitality, her inspiration, her wit and of course the pretty bows and flowers in her hair. 

We honor Georgette every day in our lives and at the Wilburton Inn. The parties continue, the guests return. New families play lawn games and splash in the pool. More brides and grooms celebrate their love on our majestic hilltop.  Max, Tajlei, and Melissa have come home to Vermont work beside Albert and make the inn more vibrant than ever.

Levis Family at Farm Night

How Georgette would have loved seeing her dear guests return for their annual vacations. How she would have enjoyed tasting Oliver and Bonnie's delicious food at farm night, watching Tajlei's theatrical annual Murder Mystery, hearing Melissa's family concerts, and seeing Max shine in every capacity as he hosts corporate events, weddings, and runs the Wilburton Inn. And now she would be so proud to see Albert and Max open the Museum of the Creative Process on Memorial Day!

An innkeeper is like a mother to her guests and staff and community.  So here is to our mom, Georgette Wasserstein Levis, with gratitude, joy, and love. Thank you for the huge impact you made on your family and friends and community. Forever may you dance.

Me and My Mom: A musical tribute to Georgette Wasserstein Levis.