Wilburton Inn, Manchester VT: Like Family

Wilburton Inn in Manchester Vermont: Welcome like family! Kate Hartshorne photos.
Wilburton Inn in Manchester Vermont: Welcome like family! Kate Hartshorne photos

The Wilburton Inn, Manchester, Vermont

A family of innkeepers extend a cozy welcome to all

By Kate Hartshorne

“In this age of social media, innkeeping is a rare and intimate experience” says Melissa Levis, one of the four sibling owners and operators of the Wilburton Inn, a converted mansion turned hotel in the heart of Manchester, Vermont. The Wilburton is perched up on a hill, below the sweeping Green Mountains, ever stunning in their beauty regardless of the season.

The Levis family has owned the Wilburton Inn since 1987 when the family patriarch, Albert Levis, a Greek psychiatrist, bought the hotel for his wife, Georgette. Their daughter Melissa, a self proclaimed “rock star for the eight and under crowd” and her three siblings took over the business two years ago when their mother passed away, and have been running it as a team ever since.

Enjoying Life Together

The comfortable living room of the former mansion turned inn.
The comfortable living room of the former mansion turned inn.

The family has set the focus of the hotel to be about people coming together and enjoying life, spending time as a family, and loving one another. The siblings have each taken on a different role in the running of the inn, but work together as a team to see that their parents’ legacy continues.

The wall space at most of the Wilburton properties is tastefully decorated with beautiful artwork collected by Albert, a life-long art enthusiast and philosopher, while the grounds of the property are speckled with intriguing sculptures.

The family is currently working on a Podcast tour of the sculpture gardens so that Albert himself can narrate your way through each fascinating creation if guests so desire.

Guests can also stroll through or be toured by Albert Levis himself through the Museum of the Creative Process, a collective of Levis’ ideas about creativity and conflict resolution with the “Creativity for Self-Discovery Package” that can be added to any Wilburton stay.

The Levis family hosts multiple eclectic events throughout the year that bring together a number of different communities. Each Wednesday in the summer the Inn hosts farm-to-table vegetarian feasts, featuring food grown by brother Oliver Levis on the family organic farm down the road. They also host numerous year-round special events like Howl’oween, a costume party for dogs and their owners, and weekend-long activities such as the November murder mystery weekend.

Melissa Levis entertains her guests during a dog dress up event at the inn.

A Dog Friendly Hotel

One of the sunny guest rooms.
One of the sunny guest rooms.

The Levis family pride themselves on running a dog-loving hotel, and you will often be greeted by Jetson (Melissa’s friendly King Cavalier spaniel) as you enter the parlor of the hotel. Pets are invited and encouraged to vacation with you at the Wilburton, something that most dog owners know is a rarity.

With 11 private rooms for rent in the Wilburton Mansion, along with 7 other homes on the property for rent, many of which are enormous and equipped for just about any large family, the Wilburton Inn is the ultimate destination for a family reunion. They have hosted 47 family reunions this summer alone, along with weddings, weekend romantic getaways, and other Manchester get togethers.

The hallways are decorated with many original paintings around the inn.
The hallways are decorated with many original paintings around the inn.

They also offer a separate retreat center, with space for a huge extended group of family or friends to seek solace in the Vermont hills. The 40 total rooms owned and operated by the Levis family are all tastefully decorated with obvious love and care, much like an old family home.

The staff at the Wilburton are like family, readily available to help with anything that comes up. The Inn is well equipped for families, but also romantic and cozy for couples looking to get away from it all.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Breakfast at the Wilburton is not to be missed. Pumpkin pancakes, vegetarian frittata, and homemade breads with local jam from the farm, washed down by strong, well-made coffee make you ready to start your day. You can tell that they only use fresh, locally sourced food in the Wilburton kitchen, much of which comes directly from the family farm.

The little known secret is that the Inn is wonderful when visited in the off season, when the crowds die down and the rates are even cheaper. Some days you may even have the sweeping views all to yourself.

The Retreat Center offers a big place for family gatherings and increases the total number of rooms to 40.
The Retreat Center offers a big place for family gatherings and increases the total number of rooms to 40.

There is a quiet magic about the time in late New England fall, when the leaves have all gone and we are waiting for the snow to begin, the leaf peepers have come and gone, and the skiiers have yet to arrive. I don’t know if there is a better time to get away to experience the magic of the Vermont mountains, the quiet serenity is incomparable.

Manchester Village is a bustling little town that combines small town shops with large chain outlet stores in one long strip. There are many options for delicious dining and abundant shopping, as well as easy and convenient access to ski mountains such as Stratton and Bromley in the winter.

A local favorite is a restaurant called The Perfect Wife, serving up delicious food with strong cocktails poured at their attached bar, the Other Woman. The restaurant features a creative menu that changes every weekend to utilize the fresh, local ingredients of the season, and the bar is an all around great time on a Saturday night. Countless other well-reviewed restaurants can be found in this cozy ski town, you are guaranteed not to go hungry.

Dogs dressed up during a special event at the inn.
Dogs dressed up during a special event at the inn.

Southern Vermont Arts Center

When visiting Manchester, be sure to check out the Southern Vermont Arts Center, home to a gallery of rotating beautiful art, and a seasonal museum with high caliber displays. You can even cross-country ski through their sculpture garden in the winter months. Outdoor enthusiasts can spend the day hiking up Equinox mountain for beautiful views and a challenging climb, or use the auto road for a quick adventure.

Manchester is an excellent destination for any northerners looking for a quick and easy weekend getaway, and the Wilburton Inn does not disappoint. The Levis family makes you feel like one of them, they welcome you into their family and await your return with open arms and never ending hospitality. Guests and their four legged friends will be hankering to come back year after year for another dose of the Levis family magic.

The Wilburton Inn
257 Wilburton Drive
Manchester Village, VT 05254
(802) 362-2500

www.wilburtoninn.com

In the off season you can rent a room or entire house on the Wilburton property, prices range from $160 – $900 per night. The Inn does not offer dinner except for on special event nights. Breakfast is free for guests staying in the Inn, and open to the public Thursday through Monday for a $20 charge.

Local tourism website:
visitmanchestervt.com


Kate Hartshorne, right.Kate Hartshorne is a mother of two and an adventurous traveler whenever she can find the time. Working nights as a nurse to support her family, she spends most of her free time planning her next trip. Read more of her travel stories on GoNOMAD

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Kate Hartshorne
Kate Hartshorne is an expert on families: she helps create them! A maternity nurse who lives in Northfield, MA with her family of eight, Kate is also an expert on family travel and she shares her insights with our readers on GoNOMAD.com. Kate strives to give you the biggest bang for your buck on a family vacation, she scouts out the best without breaking the bank.