A SPA AND CULINARY EXPERIENCE IN ESSEX, VERMONT
While Ryan and I love to travel the world, some of the best vacations we have had have been right in our own backyard - the beautiful state of Vermont. This week we got invited to The Essex, a Luxury Culinary Resort and Spa in Essex, Vermont. The resort is located a short drive from Burlington and is the perfect place to stay when traveling to the area. You are close enough to experience all of the wonderful shopping, activities, and restaurants that Burlington has to offer while being just far enough away from the hustle and bustle! OR you can just stay at the resort the whole time ... and trust me, that is an AMAZING option! The resort is so beautiful and they even have two goats on the property named Stewart and Penelope!
We arrived at The Essex on Wednesday afternoon around 4PM and immediately settled in to our beautiful room in the Main Building of the resort. All of the decor in our room was culinary-themed and inspired by the colors and textures of food, from the pillows to the artwork on the walls! The art hanging over our bed even had three dimensional bowls of food attached to it!
We had dinner reservations at Junction for 7PM so we took a quick tour of the resort before heading over to the Chef's Table to join Chef Nicole and Chef Patrick for our culinary experience, which began with a wonton pocket stuffed with ricotta and mushroom and served with a sumac aioli and micro greens. After perusing the menu we decided to get Chef Nicole's recommendation of a few local cheeses (we chose the Jansal Valley Blue-Crusted Goat Cheese from New Bedford, MA and the Shepsog Grafton Cave Aged from Putney, VT) and terrine (a combination of pork cheek and rabbit from Indiana). The board was a work of art in itself, with house-made pickles, a seasonal jam, assorted pickled veggies, and, Ryan's favorite, petits poivrons, also known as sweety drops! We also opted for the crispy calamari served with a tarragon aioli that was absolutely delicious! After salivating over the view of Chef Nicole and Chef Patrick whipping up meals for the other guests, we decided on the House-made Pappardelle for our entrée. Chef Nicole spun the pappardelle into a perfect little nest on top of a bed of broccoli rabe and house-made chorizo before topping it with a dollop of ricotta. It was truly perfection! We debated ordering more food but Ryan was already in a food coma after that! I did get a chance to photograph some of the other dishes on the menu, including the Adams Farm Sous Vide Statler Chicken Breast, Pan Seared Scallops, and Seared Duck Breast. After letting our food comas subside we headed to the outdoor hot tub for some relaxation before bed!
Thursday was a fun-filled spa day, aka MY FAVORITE DAY! We arrived at the spa for our Swedish Massages a little after noon and were immediately given a tour of the newly renovated spa. The "relaxation lounges" (there was one for women, one for men, and one common area) had lovely seating areas with comfy couches and arm chairs, fireplaces, an assortment of teas and coffees, and even a food and drink menu! You could truly spend the WHOLE DAY there - which is kind of what we did! Any spa treatment will give you complimentary access to the lounges, eucalyptus steam rooms and sauna rooms (they are separate for men and women), fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub, and tennis courts. I think I spent an hour or two total throughout the day going back and forth between the hot tub, pool, and steam and sauna rooms! I honestly could not get enough! Another really cool thing I found out is that the spa offers products from Ursa Major and Elmore Mountain Therapeutics which are two brands that I use regularly and talk about a lot on my Instagram! Fun fact: You can even add to your massage experience with a CBD infused massage oil :)
After our massages we headed down to The Tavern for some traditional pub fare. The Vermont Cheddar and Bacon Flatbread and Boyden Farm Beef Sliders topped with Cabot cheddar, house-made pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and Whistle Pig whiskey sauce were SO DELICIOUS and exactly what we needed to get ready for round two at the spa!