Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant
What We Love
- A Vermont breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate: blueberry pancakes, fresh-baked muffins, oatmeal and more
- Truly unique activities: falconry school, off-road driving classes and Orvis Fly Fishing School are all within walking distance
- Rooms all have fireplaces and flat-screen TVs, and most have whirlpool tubs
What To Know
- This is a small inn, and after 11 p.m. there’s no staff on-site (an innkeeper can be reached by phone)
- The term “Suite” is used very loosely, as some are regular rooms with no extra sitting area
With its gabled good looks and butterscotch paneling, the 20-room Reluctant Panther resembles a supersized dollhouse, a brick-and-mortar slice of the Americana. Originally a colonial tavern dating back to the 1800s, a 2005 fire and subsequent revamp have garnered it a host of modern must-haves (flat-screen TVs, spa tubs) as well as an award-winning farm-to-table restaurant. Add the ambience people come to Vermont for in the first place, and a spot on a quiet residential street (just a few minutes from the Bromley ski resort), and this place is the quintessential New England escape.
Bed and Bath
Cozy guestrooms have a classic B&B style with just enough mod cons. All have least one gas or wood fireplace, a large LG flat-screen TV, free WiFi, a Keurig K-Cup machine and a marble-clad bathroom (where you can unwind in a large soaking tub with Gilchrist & Soames spa goodies).
The inn’s award-winning restaurant is a sedate space of pumpkin-colored walls, royal purple curtains and views of Mount Equinox. Head chef Jonathan Cox is obsessive about cooking local finds, so much of the menu is the fruits of his partnership with the Vermont Fresh Network — such as the farmstead cheese plate (with gooey berry compote) and the succulent duet of duck leg and sausage, with acorn squash and sweet-and-sour slaw.
How to Get There
We spent an enchanting night at The Reluctant Panther Inn, including a wonderful meal in the restaurant. The inn itself is tastefully decorated, and we were delighted to find many 19th century Roberts' prints of Egypt and the Holy Land. We were in the Justin Morgan Suite and it was lovely. The entire staff was very welcoming, really nice, and attentive. Both dinner and breakfast were superb. Manchester is a beautiful town and The Reluctant Panther is the perfect place to stay. We will definitely return.
The Reluctant Panther is a great base to explore the Green Mountains and Manchester. It's well located for the restaurants and bars of Manchester (a short drive or moderate walk to the centre). The staff (especially Micheala) were very helpful, and went to the trouble of printing out series of hikes for us to allow us to make best use of the area. The rooms were spacious and well designed, there is also a lovely garden area to sit outside and read.
I brought my girlfriend to the Reluctant Panther the night that I proposed to her. Our stay was fantastic, and completely exceeded the high expectations I had for the evening. We were met with a very warm and congratulatory welcome at the front desk before being escorted to our beautiful room. The Inn has a classic, romantic New England feel and the experience felt personalized from the start. After check in, we enjoyed dinner downstairs which was fantastic. We shared the scallops and lamb chops, as well as a burrata heirloom tomato salad. I cannot recommend the food enough; if you are staying in or near Manchester stopping at the Reluctant Panther for a meal is a must. Overall, the Reluctant Panther is a perfect, quaint and romantic place for a special occasion of any kind.