Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Firestone's Restaurant- Woodstock, VT


On the search for dinner before ascending Mt. Killington for a conference, I randomly ended up at the Firestone Restaurant and had no regrets.

It must be absolutely majestic in the winter, as it's beautiful even in the off season. The door to the place resembles that of a mythical castle, and when you walk in, it's like entering a giant ski lodge. Everything is made of wood, there's a fire burning, and the bar is accented with strings of twinkle lights. The ambiance is to die for! And this was before I even had food!

Our waitress was very friendly and brought us our drinks quickly while we browsed the menu. We began the meal with a smoked salmon platter that had decent sized portions of smoked salmon rolled up with capers, as well as onions a small salad of greens and a dipping sauce. We also got a basket of delicious bread with two different types of homemade butter to start our meal.

This restaurant prides itself on its flatbread pizza, and they were delicious. My colleague got a cheese and mushroom pizza with three different kinds of mushrooms, and we ended up getting most of it to go since it was so large (good thing since there was no food at our hotel)! I decided on the mediterranean pasta with kalamata olives, feta cheese, and artichokes, which surpasses my expectations and was exactly what I had been hoping for!

The meal was very enjoyable, and we left, very full and content with our leftovers. For both of our entrees, appetizer, and a salad, the bill was less than $50.
I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants a great meal in a cozy atmosphere and I will make sure to return if I am back in the area!!

Overall: **** (4 out of 5 stars)
What I loved: the food, the atmosphere, the service.
Not so much: very out of the way unless you're heading to Killington....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Killington Grand, Killington VT

"Off Season" = No Food?

First of all, I do want to preface this review with the fact that
1. I was staying here for a one day conference, not an actual ski vacation
2. It was "off season" so perhaps it is not an accurate portrayal of the overall quality of the establishment...

But on we go. I drove about 4.5 hours from my home in Maine for a one day health conference at the Killington Grand. Before we even arrived at the hotel, I received a text message from my coworker that said "eat dinner before you arrive! No restaurant!"
I found that hard to believe, but just to be safe we had a delicious dinner in Woodstock before we began driving up the mountain
Thank goodness we did because it was true the restaurant was not open! I could not believe that with two large events going on, they wouldn't have any food available!
The conference was skimpily catered. We were told there would be a full breakfast, but there was only pastries and donuts (which, some people may not even have been able to eat due to health restrictions!) We then had boxed lunches, which were filling enough (sandwiches and chips), but the conference was over at 3, and that was the end of the food! In order to get any meal after that you had to drive down the entire steep mountain, which we really had not anticipated doing until we had to leave.

Besides that, I thought this was a pretty nice establishment. We had a decent sized room with a flat screen TV, DVD player, and stereo system! There was also Starbucks coffee stocked with our coffee pot which I found to be very impressive! The bathroom was small, and our little "deck/balcony" only overlooked the parking lot, but I didn't find either to be too upsetting. The out of this world soft sheets, and flawless internet connection to quickly make up for the flaws of the room.
Something else that was small touch, but I found made the room very cozy was little ski decorations and accessories throughout the room. The handles on the entertainment center doors and drawers were little wooden skis and there was a painting of snowmakers on the mountain at night!

After our conference, I had some time to kill before we ventured down the mountain for dinner, and I happened to walk by the spa, which WAS actually open! I treated myself to a facial, and let me just say that was worth the entire trip! They didn't have a nail tech until the coming weekend, so that ruled out manis and pedis for my colleagues, but I decided to splurge and have never felt so rejuvenated! The staff was very friendly, and not overbearing when helping me choose what treatment to have, and they did not rush me out when I was finishing my cucumber water after my facial. The spa itself was cute (with a little zen garden in the waiting area) but offered a great variety of services. It was definitely the highlight of my off season stay!

Overall I think this would definitely be perfect for a couple's ski retreat! I imagine it's beautiful in the winter. But if you're going to stay in the "off season," Be prepared to do some hunting gathering, and make sure to budge some money for the amazing spa, cause it's the only thing open, and SO worth the experience!

Overall- *** (3 out of 5)

What I loved — Spa, free working wireless internet

Not so Much— Restaurant closed!!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Blanche & Bill's Pancake House!

Bridgewater Corners: Blanche & Bill's Pancake House: "A Perfect breakfast nook!"
After attending a conference at the Killington Grand hotel, and not having any substantial meals available to us, we were more than excited to stumble upon this spot for breakfast on our way out of town.

It is family owned, and as soon as you walk in (past the menagerie of grandchild photos) you feel like you are in someone's kitchen. Half of the place is devoted to Red Sox memorabilia and there are witty hand written signs lining the wall.
The menu and place mats are basic paper, and you can tell they really started this place from scratch which adds to the charm in my opinion.
In addition to the friendly atmosphere and wait staff, the true home cooked breakfast was DELICIOUS.
I had a simple combo of poached eggs and cheese on an English muffin, and my colleague had a special designed by the grandson of 2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 sausage and 2 slices of toast! Both meals together, with coffee was less than $30 with tip! Very impressive!
We left, full and happy to continue our long venture home.

I would recommend this little hole in the wall to anyone looking for a simple place with outstanding food and service!

Overall: **** (4 out of 5)

What I loved: The food, the friendliness!
Not so much: A little small. You really get to know the people next to you!