I recently traveled to Pittsfield, Vermont for an unplugged weekend escape in the mountains, and had such an amazing stay that I have to share. In addition to Perfect Vermont, the fitness and wellness retreat I attended, Pittsfield is home to the wedding venue Riverside Farm – obviously, I had to scope it out and find out why this sleepy little town is suddenly one of the most exclusive and desirable rural wedding destinations in the country.
When it comes to Pittsfield, the bottom line is this: If you’re planning a pre-wedding getaway and want to experience pure bliss, relaxation and peace in the mountains, or are looking for a country setting to host a destination wedding of weekend-long festivities and memorable proportions, this is your town! And, if you register before April 15th for their Active Couple’s Retreat at The Mountain Cabin (June 6-10), you’ll get 15% off your stay.
Even in the snowy depths of winter, this stunning and singular wedding venue was beautiful, and it was easy to imagine a wedding party sprawling into the sunny fields and shady glades in the summer months. (If you need a little help picturing it, however, check out this real wedding, photographed by Jose Villa and featured on Style Me Pretty). What struck me most was the warm and welcoming feeling that owners Courtney and Joe Desena exude- Riverside is, after all, also their home. I have never seen a couple more passionate about sharing their home and town with others, nor so dedicated to helping their guests make the space their own for the weekend. They will go to almost any length to help a couple achieve what they have imagined, even if it means moving a grand piano into the woods for a ceremony in a small clearing. With two large barn spaces, hundreds of pristine, wooded acres, on-site cabins for preparation and accommodation and a whole bunch of really cool antiques, the possibilities for a wedding at Riverside are, quite literally, limitless.
As to where I got to lay my head for my unplugged weekend getaway: nestled along the state’s iconic route 100 in an exquisitely restored post-and-beam farmhouse, the Amee Farm Lodge is a B&B unlike any I’ve ever stayed at (pictured below, courtesy of Katina Bentley and The Amee Farm Lodge). The inn, which has 15 luxurious suites, is just down the road from the wedding venue Riverside Farm, and is available for exclusive booking in tandem with events on the farm. Innkeepers Jessica and Simon couldn’t have been nicer, and I’m also told that they know every bike trail in the region- come summer, they can point you in the direction of some wonderful rides to swimming spots along the river and other local secrets. They also lead multi-day road bike tours through the Green Mountains.
In addition to private weekend getaways and intimate wedding celebrations, the inn can hold corporate retreats, family reunions and other events and has an amazing dining space that can accommodate up to 200 people. If you’re hosting a weekend long wedding at Riverside, Amee Farm Lodge is the perfect place to say farewell to all your friends with a rustic farm-to-table brunch.
In the mornings, guests wake up to a delicious spread of farm fresh breakfast food: wholesome yogurt and fruit, homemade granola, eggs from the neighboring farm stand and delicious coffee. After eating my fair share, I wandered downstairs to partake in an hour of yoga, lead by Erlin Sweeney of Perfect Vermont Retreats, while others headed into the woods with Tom Worthington, a retired Marine and winner of Pittsfield’s famously grueling ultra-marathon “Death Race.” Most importantly, guests are encouraged to work up a hearty appetite.
The state is home to some amazing family farm operations and Pittsfield is no exception. Guests can expect to be well fed from the moment they arrive (we were welcomed to Amee Farm Lodge with a bowl of Kale soup, made by the neighboring family farm Sweet Georgia P’s, and yummy whole grain bread from Pittsfield’s Original General Store) until that last run next door to stock up on maple sugar candy – believe me, you will want to order some sandwiches for the road while you’re at the General Store.
On my second day in Pittsfield, I learned to make cheese with Sweet Georgia P’s husband and wife team Rebecca and Joe Pimentel, but mainly enjoyed eating the results of our labors with a blueberry reduction drizzle. We squeezed into the little farmhouse kitchen like giddy school children to watch Rebecca and Joe work over the large, old fashioned stove.
And Rebecca also served us a butternut squash and thyme tartlet while we waited on the cheese. Seriously, no chance of going hungry during this escape!
After cheese making and a heavenly nap in my bed at Amee Farm Lodge, which had a hand-hewn wooden headboard, a tempurpedic mattress and a down comforter that pretty much made it feel like a cloud, I headed down to the lodge’s common area to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres provided by a local catering company, Occasions, which is a great choice for weddings and events. My favorite drink was their honey Jack Daniels with apple cider and lemon. YES.
And then we moved into the dining area for a spread put on by The Original General Store. With twinkly lights strung above our heads, and nice long farm tables (my FAVORITE set up for a meal) to encourage conversation, everyone was chatty and well fed and a little sleepy after the day’s events, but not too sleepy to challenge each other to games of pool, ping pong and corn hole while drinking Vermont craft brews and listening to musician Matt Chase. All in all, I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed, or well fed, in my life, and I am just left wondering…when can I do it again!?
Your Vermont Directory:
WED: Riverside Farm
Photo Credit: Amee Farm Lodge Interiors by Katina Bently. All others, Caroline Goddard.