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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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


Christmas at a Country Inn

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!)

Photo by Jeff Fox

Photo by Jeff Fox

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.

Photo by Jeff Fox

Photo by Jeff Fox

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. 

Photo by Renzi Hawkins Studio

Photo by Renzi Hawkins Studio

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


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.

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!