Mountaintop boom time—Build a Barn and they will come!
For anyone who has ever dreamed of “getting away from it all,” but hasn’t known exactly what that might look like, the panoramic view of Vermont’s Green Mountains and Lake Chittenden, as seen from the luxurious-yet-rustic accommodations of the Mountain Top Inn & Resort, might help form a “visual” on that idea.
Three hours north of Boston, roughly mid-state Vermont, is a property that has hit a boom time since the property built a brand new post-and-beam barn to offer guests the ideal country wedding venue.
“We’re experiencing a booming success,” says Marketing Director Laura Conti. “The credit goes almost entirely to our GM, Khele Sparks, who looked around about 9 years ago and told our investors that barn weddings were becoming very popular and that we should build a barn that capitalizes on our view and location.”
Nine years later, the Mountain Top Inn is booked solid for weddings in its two-story barn and on its surrounding property. And guests are flocking from cities and urban zones to soak in the quiet luxury and back-to-nature feel in a place where wildflowers grow, and horses graze, and a “Vermont hearty” fare is served in two restaurants and guests are invited to sit a spell.
In this week’s Q&A interview with Boxerbrand blog Recipe for Success, Laura Conti, who is herself a transplant from NYC, offers insights on the blossoming success of the Mountain Top Inn & Resort.
Q: How did a new barn figure into your boom time?
Before we built the barn nine years ago, we did a couple weddings a year. They were mostly locals. Then our general manager recognized there was a real opportunity in being able to offer a wedding with our amazing view, in good weather and bad. Our view of the Green Mountains is such a wonderful asset. It’s protected federal property, so it can’t be developed. And he wanted to find a way to attract more people to enjoy our spot in the mountains.
Because of our GM (Khele Sparks) we constructed a two-story, open concept barn with a loft. We have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer our guests the same view of the mountains they would have if they were outdoors.
The barn also has a fully independent kitchen, a spa and salon, and an in-house florist who decorates the space from floor to ceiling.
Since we opened the barn, we’ve enjoyed amazing success. We’re sold out through 2020 for our destination wedding business, and we are working on our 2021 calendar.
Q: What about your accommodations?
We have three types of accommodations. We have 32 lodge rooms in the main lodge, four cabins that are one-room with efficiency kitchens and fireplaces, and we have 24 guest houses that sleep anywhere from two to 16.
Our rooms combine the best of high-end luxury, which is inspired by our rustic roots.
Q: Tell me about the vibe of your restaurants.
We have two restaurants. Our tavern is laid back and casual, with wide pine flooring and our chairs have a fabric pattern with moose on them. Last summer we hired an interior designer to redo our main Mountain Top restaurant. It’s just beautiful. One wall is made of barn board, and we have a big, stone fireplace. And outside there’s a terrace for our guests to dine in good weather.
Q: What’s on your menu?
We serve hearty Vermont fare. This is everything from French onion soup to grilled Caesar salad with steaks. In the winter months we do a “burger and brew” with 12 Vermont beers on tap. It’s really popular and something our guests look forward to.
Q: How did you get into hospitality?
I’ve been in marketing for 25 years and used to work in Manhattan on the NASDQ. I decided to move to Vermont full time, and after opening and running my own tavern, started working for Mountain Top five years ago. I love it. My favorite part of the job is interacting with our customers who are laid back and happy because they’re on vacation. It’s very fulfilling work in an incredibly beautiful place.
Q: How have your Boxerbrand menu covers worked out?
We bought Blue Denim Linen Naturals and were shocked to see how a pop of color enhanced the entire décor. When we redesigned our dining room, we put a pop of blue on our barn board wall, and picked up hints of that blue in our seating. So, the menu covers fit perfectly with our theme with a subtle pop of color. We love them! — The Mountain Top Inn uses Boxerbrand’s Linen Naturals line in its table presentation. Thank you!