BETHEL, Vt. — When Rick Harrington and his partner, Fred Leary, purchased a Queen Anne Victorian house in central Vermont, they not only bought a historic property listed on the National Register, they also reclaimed a piece of Harrington’s family history.
In 1890, Harrington’s great-great-uncle Edwin Harrington and his wife, Mary, built this large rambling structure not far from the White River as their private residence. The property has changed hands a number of times. When Harrington and Leary took ownership in 2010, the house was dilapidated. “The ceilings were falling down. You couldn’t even breathe in here,” said Leary.
Today the building has been restored to its original condition, including an elaborate wood staircase near the check-in desk, stained-glass windows, tile and wood fireplaces, and wide-plank floors. Those who shy from overly Victorian inns have no need to worry. Though the architecture is late 19th century, the five bedrooms are decorated in a simple, contemporary style. Each has a private bath.
On the first floor, a tavern and restaurant are open Wednesday through Sunday evenings. Harrington, a graduate of the culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu, takes a farm-to-table approach with his seasonally changing menus, purchasing Vermont meats, cheeses, even vodka.
The menu features soups, salads, and small plates (don’t miss the crab cake sliders, $10) as well as burgers, sandwiches, and seafood, meat and vegetarian entrees ($13-$19). For dessert, the house-made chocolate chipotle ice cream with cinnamon whipped cream and candied bacon is worth the trip.
Summer and fall are the busiest seasons at the inn, for canoe enthusiasts and leaf peepers, but the location — within 30 minutes of Killington, Pico, Mad River Glen, and Sugarbush mountains — is ideal for skiers. Rates from $135.
HARRINGTON HOUSE INN88 North Road, Bethel, Vt. 802-392-8034, www.harringtonhouseinn.com
NECEE REGISNecee Regis