This article was originally published on Localvore Today's The Daily Beet in the sponoroship of Topnotch Resort on August 14, 2014.
Sunday was hot – we’re talking August-sun hot that gives a Vermonter the feeling that they just might be ready for fall. But we don’t say it out loud.
In true Vermont style, we at Localvore decided to find ourselves a swimming spot. While most weekends this means a waterfall or the Bolton Pots, this Sunday was different. This Sunday we were treated to the Topnotch Resort experience.
The team at Topnotch has hospitality down-pact. As we entered Flannel, the resort’s flagship restaurant, we knew we were in good hands. Live music and a Bloody Mary bar jam-packed with olives, pickled peppers, and fresh vegetables were our first taste of what was to come. Emilie greeted us at the host stand, and proceeded to lead us out into the pool area where we would spend the remainder of the day eating, drinking, swimming, and beating the heat in the best of ways.
It’s not every day you have the opportunity to lounge in a plush cabana, overlooking immaculate swimming pools, with a stunning view of Mount Mansfield to boot. Fluffy towels were piled nearby to be grabbed as needed. An overhead shade could be pulled out to block the sun when the rays got to be a little much. The cushions themselves could be pulled apart to create more lounge space or a table when the feast arrived. Our immediate reaction — this is for us?
The cabana itself is a treat, but it comes with perks -- a pitcher of mint-infused lemon water was quickly followed up by a pitcher of fruit-laden sangria [you choose red or white]. Evian mineral water spray, house made frozen peanut butter cups, and chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches were all included. Seriously, Topnotch knows how to pamper.
Andrew, Topnotch Bar and Food Manager, stepped out to say hello. He generously offered to put together a collection of his favorite starters and brunch items so everyone could have a taste. We couldn’t have asked for a better spread. The Tiger Shrimp lay upon a grilled slice of sweet watermelon sprinkled with seaweed salad, Korean barbeque sauce, and spicy arugula. PEI Mussels bathed in a floral yellow curry sauce were to follow. Vegetarian Summer Rolls packed with rice noodles, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and mint came next. Lastly, an off-menu surprise of heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella -- a locally-sourced dish that Andrew paired with the perfect bottle of wine, Louis Latour 2012 Pouilly-Fuisse. Each dish was thoughtfully presented in a bamboo steamer basket that can perch upon a lap without fear of tipping. All details were considered.
Every bite created a conversation and felt refreshing even in the heat. Every suggestion the Topnotch team had was spot on -- from the food to when we be a good time to take a dip during the course of the meal. They know exactly what their guests need and want before the guests realize it for themselves. And isn’t that the true sign of impeccable hospitality?
After floating in the pool –and maybe a pitcher or two more of sangria– the brunch tasting arrived. BBQ Chicken Flatbread, Breakfast Flatbread, Fish Tacos, and a Chicken and Waffle Club awaited us back at the cabana. All were indulgent without feeling heavy.
The thought of heading out of Burlington on a summer day can feel completely counter-intuitive at times. Head away from the lake? Leave behind my favorite barstool? Let those reservations go. Round up some friends, or celebrate a special family event, and take the beautiful drive to Topnotch Resort. Our day was an incredible lesson in hospitality. There is a true passion for making sure every guest is cared for. Every staff member wants to share the beauty of Vermont with guests during their stay in Stowe. It makes no difference whether that stay is a day or a week long, or whether the guest is coming from Burlington or abroad. We couldn’t suggest a better place to relax poolside!
To RSVP for your own brunch or cabana experience, contact the concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org.