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Inn at Sawmill Farm, West Dover, Vermont

An Old Mill Redone

The old barn on the Winston farm, built in 1779, is now the central lounge in what was once a working dairy farm and before that a sawmill and a cider mill, too. Rodney Williams, architect and innkeeper, incorporated the weathered barnyard siding, hand-hewn beams and a huge stone fireplace into the design of The Inn at Sawmill Farm. His wife, Ione, an interior designer, decorated the space with a few well-chosen antiques, fine 19th-century paintings and a collection of old-fashioned copper cookware. The effect is "Americana."

The dining room with its cathedral ceiling is a bit more formal. But food is serious business here. People come from miles around to dine on the chef's stellar continental cuisine, appetizers such as vegetable terrine and salmon mousse with caviar and entrees like breast of pheasant and veal marsala. An outstanding kitchen calls for a formidable wine cellar and the Brills have collected an astonishing 36,000 bottles. The Wine Spectator presented them with the covetous "Grand Award" in 1992.

A meticulously renovated 18th-century farm should look timeless. Unfortunately, because of the decor in the guest rooms the Inn at Sawmill Farm seems stuck in the 60s. Each room is covered with a splashy floral print; the same bold pattern appears on the wallpaper, upholstery, bedspread and even the shower curtain. There are 24 doubles in all, most of them in the main house with several suites in adjacent cottages. Ask for the Cider House, which has a magnificent bathroom and separate sitting area, or the Woodshed with its 10-foot window, cathedral ceiling and fireplace.

The Inn at Sawmill Farm, P O Box 367, Route 100, West Dover, VT 05356. Tel. 802–464–8131. Rooms start at $245, MAP. www.theinnatsawmillfarm.com


Mt. Snow for skiing and golf and the Marlboro Music Festival.

Winter 1994-95