The Dorset Inn
What We Love
- A charming stay at Vermont's oldest continuously operating inn, with breakfastAll the pastoral pleasures – skiing and sleighing in winter, swimming and boating in summer
- The 220-year history of Vermont’s oldest continuously operating inn – now a Select Registry member
- The complimentary breakfast you’ll receive each morning
What To Know
- This is a historic building; the stairs creak and the floors are uneven
- Some traffic is audible in rooms facing the village green
- All rooms are different sizes to maintain the inn’s historic integrity
- Well suited for couples and families; there’s limited nightlife
If time at The Dorset Inn seems to move a little more slowly, it’s because, when you’re walking among the grounds, it doesn’t quite feel like 2016. Although this Select Registry member property recently underwent a major refurbishment, it still has a quaint, old-fashioned charm about it – surely due, at least in part, to the history of the place. The front doors of the main building were first opened to travelers en route to Albany and Boston back in 1796, making this the oldest continuously operating inn in Vermont. For 100 of the property’s 220 years, meals were sourced entirely from the resident flock of farm animals and the backyard vegetable garden.
Things have changed, of course, but today’s acclaimed, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2015-winning restaurant is still committed to supporting local farmers, as a member of the Vermont Fresh Network. And in general, there’s still a leisurely pace of life here and in the region, whether you’re lounging by the pool at sister Barrows House in summer, or taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride up the mountain in winter. In fact, pretty much every local activity recalls a simpler time, and there are many: skating, skiing, horseback riding, canoeing. And you may find yourself wishing time could stop completely, so you’d never have to leave.
Rooms at the property are individually decorated and titled, sometimes with names that reference Vermont history – think Ethan Allen and Saddleback. They are distributed between several different buildings around the premises, with varying amenities, based on location. Standard rooms are a bit larger than the Regular rooms, with one or two sitting chairs and/or a work desk. Some of the Standard rooms may also feature a tub/shower combination rather than a walk-in shower.
The Dorset Inn’s restaurant is one of the highlights of the property, with a 2015 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. It’s a member of the Vermont Fresh Network and draws from local farms and businesses whenever possible, meaning that your traditional New England fare is often seasonally inspired. You’ll start each day with complimentary breakfast – brunch is also served, Wednesday through Sunday – and if the tavern and dining room aren’t enough choice for where to take your dinner, you can also relocate to the sister restaurant at nearby Barrows House.
The inn sits in Dorset’s historic district, so there’s plenty to do and see in the surrounding area. In the way of recreation, you’ll find golf courses, equestrian-trail rides, tennis courts, a boating lake, a ski mountain, canoe rentals and much more nearby – plus a pool, at nearby Barrows House. In the region are also live entertainment and lots of art, including theater and music festivals, as well as galleries and museums.
How to Get There
My husband and I spent two nights at The Dorset Inn and were delighted with the experience. It is an old inn whose original atmosphere has been nicely maintained. We were given a guest suite consisting of a large bedroom and a sitting room overlooking the front boulevard. Our breakfasts were wonderful and our large bed cosy. Dorset is a charming old village and not far from Manchester which is also fun to walk around. It houses some "outlet stores" but we did not find them particularly interesting or offering bargains.
We found this Inn through Select Registry and it is the first we have been truly disappointed with. The website is much lovelier than the tired old Inn. We were in the 'best room' which had old furniture (not NE old - just well worn), one sink and air-conditioning that was loud and not very effective. The room was on the second floor in the back and next to a very noisy street - at 6 am. We were not offered any help in finding our room or with our luggage and had to get ice from the tavern on our own. With the exception of the wait staff in the tavern and restaurant, the staff were less than interested in customer service. For instance, on checking out, I received my bill and said I would leave the key in the room. I was TOLD, even though the room was in the back of the hotel and two floors up, that I had to bring the key to the desk.Really? The food was average. This Inn is clearly not one that people use to Select Registry standards would want to visit.
We had the pleasure of staying in the Dorset Inn in Dorset Vermont on July 5th through 8th of 2019. The original building has been operating as an inn since the late seventeen hundreds, but that does not mean it lacks modern conveniences. Our room, The Rockwell (#26), was in the original building area and was very nice, with a king bed in the large bedroom, a living room with windows overlooking a lovely green, and a bathroom with a fabulous shower. There is ample parking in the parking lot behind the building or on the street. The grounds are well maintained and there are a few lawn chairs to use on the lawn.
The innkeepers along with the entire staff are gracious and go out of their way to cater to your needs. One night during our stay we planned to drive to Manchester for dinner, but we were caught in a torrential rain storm so we asked the innkeeper to get us a table in the inn’s restaurant. They could not accommodate us at our desired time, so they called the restaurant in their sister property, The Barrows House, which was a very short distance away and got us a table at our desired dining time. We enjoyed our dinner at The Barrows House.
We enjoyed 3 breakfasts at the Dorset Inn and the food was prepared to our taste and very good. As we eat foods on vacation that we normally do not in our everyday lives, we can say the French toast and blueberry pancakes wee delicious.