My trip to Killington, VT for the destination wedding of one of my best friends since grade school was a lot like an epic movie that had it all: romance at the ceremony, suspense and action on the slopes, comedy at the reception, and cinematic beauty during the drive. Throughout the weekend, I blogged here and there in snippets about my experience, which went by too fast. Now, I may be sitting back at my desk in New York City but my mind is still adrift amidst the gently swirling snow of New England mountains. It was a time I'll never forget, and I encourage all travel agents with clients that are planning weddings or honeymoons to mention the unique idea of choosing a ski resort for their special day.
I know many associate destination weddings with a trip out of the U.S. to a warm and exotic locale, and that is indeed romantic. However, ski resorts have an ambiance and practicality for such occasions of their own.
For instance, my only travel expenses for the roundtrip were less than $75 in gas and less than $60 for lunch on the way up and breakfast on the way down. Granted, if the wedding were in the Rockies, I would be paying for airfare but not dealing with the hassle of customs and international travel to Mexico, the Caribbean or South Pacific.
The trip to the resort and back was an experience of its own as my fiancée, Jill, and I breathed in the pure fresh air of New England you can't get in any city or suburb thereof, while taking in picturesque scenery of fluffy snow dangling on long tree limbs and quaint cottages and mountain homes. The nearly five-hour drive fly by because it was so pleasant. Guests of the wedding who didn't have the proximity advantage I had driving up from New York flew in to Boston before taking a three hour drive, and most that I spoke with lauded the scenery of their journey in as well.
Our cozy Studio Room at the Killington Grand Hotel, fit with kitchenette, flat-screen TV and full bathroom, was the ideal hibernating spot from the cold weather outside. We enjoyed fresh brewed coffee from the coffee maker while enjoying the phenomenal view of Killington Mountain right outside our window. I caught a glimpse of larger King and Queen rooms that had large dinner tables and a full kitchen— which seemed like a perfect accommodation for a family or group.
Friday night was a great start to the weekend as family and friends enjoyed cocktails and dinner at the Snowshed Lodge which was right on the mountain. The staff at the lodge was more than helpful. Some aided guests who had kids, so that the adults could enjoy themselves without worry. Others provided all the information anyone needed in regards to the purchasing of lift tickets and rental equipment for a trip to the mountain the next day. One staff member even took the time to speak with the chef to determine which dishes for the evening did or did not have onions (unfortunately, I have a horrible food allergy).
Saturday morning began with a delicious breakfast. It had your traditional full breakfast bar items like oatmeal, eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles and fruit salad, but my favorite was a fruity and cinnamony French toast that was unlike any morning concoction I have ever had. Although breakfast was served buffet style, there were waiters and waitresses serving drinks and bringing any extra breakfast amenities a guest would request.
Before taking to the slopes, Jill and I had to try out the outdoor pool and hot tub. The feeling of your hair turning to icicles as the rest of your body remains super warm was a great way to start the day— it woke me up while relaxing the body before a physical day on the slopes. The sun was shining bright as flurries came down, and the mountain itself was a stone's throw away from the pool.
It took us, literally, 30 seconds to get to the mountain from the hotel, which made for easy access to the chairlifts. While Jill took a two-hour private lesson, I skied all peaks (except the double diamonds), met great people in the lounges on the mountain, and was treated to an up-close view of professional skiers racing down a moguls and jump course. By the end of the day, it was as if I had been to a miniature Olympics.
There's nothing like a full-day of skiing followed by a return to cozy accommodations. The post-ski dip in the pool and hot tub was the icing on the cake for a winter's treat to my body and soul, and provided the right touch before attending the wedding.
While the snow trickled down outside Saturday evening, the bride and groom exchanged their vows in the hotel's Oscar ballroom. The beautiful ceremony (some spoken in Yiddish as well as Spanish) was followed by an elegant cocktail reception around the fireplace before all guests wandered back in to the then-expanded ballroom to cap off the night with eating, drinking and dancing galore.
I could go on and on about the weekend, and that's part of the long-winded point I've been trying to make. This trip was and is one for the record books. I was wined and dined with exquisite cuisine and pampered with luxury accommodations. I got plenty of fresh air and exercise both on the mountain and in the pool overlooking it. I saw parts of the country I had never seen before, truly unique in their own natural setting. I'll be forever grateful to the bride and groom for allowing me the opportunity to have such an experience at their special day. I know I'm not alone, and that there are countless travelers/couples out there that would love to share such a feeling.