The Mad River Barn Will Make You Happy

“Hotels make you happy” said Marianne, as she settled into her bed last weekend at The Inn at the Mad River Barn in Waitsfield, Vermont.  She might be right – at least, in a hotel like this one!DSC02884

The Mad River Barn is under new ownership, and they’ve lovingly restored this old inn, including accessibility in these areas:  guest room (sleeps three) and bath on the first floor, parking, pathways and front entrance, indoor dining area, outdoor patio and restaurant bathroom.DSC02873

The aesthetic is both modern and re-purposed.  The furniture lines are clean and the inn is uncluttered, and yet there is something interesting at every turn, from the old door shellacked and hung as art, to the wall signs made of brightly painted sprockets and the bathroom fixtures made of reclaimed pipe joints.  The interior designer, Joanne Palmisano, has two books in print, Salvage Secrets: Transforming Reclaimed Materials Into Design Concepts and Salvage Secrets Design and Decor, both of which are on sale at the front desk or might be available from your library (the first is available through my library).

DSC02899The halls, although they meet ADA standards, left only a little wiggle room for Marianne’s big electric chair, and I was nervous about marring the freshly-painted wood.  (We left not a trace, I’m happy to say.)   A smaller electric chair or a manual chair wouldn’t have an issue at all.

Breakfast was included in the very reasonable room rate of $140/per night, and I loved it that efforts were made to provide farm-fresh, healthy meal choices.    The inn offers dinner as well, a nice choice for families who want to minimize the number of times they get in and out of the car!  The dinner menu met a variety of diets, from the meat-eaters to half-size portions, kid menus, or filling salads.   Vermont has several breweries in hot demand right now, and Mad River Barn serves up some of the best.

My only regret is that the upstairs lounge area is not accessible, and it looks like a lot of fun  with oversized, cozy-looking chairs, a fireplace, game tables and big screen TV.   This is definitely a family-friendly inn, and I hear that plans are underway to create a dog-friendly abode on the property as well.DSC02919

The Mad River Valley is a great destination:

–  Waitsfield is a good base from which to access the many programs that Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports has to offer, both summer and winter.

– Fall foliage season is right around the corner and Vermont’s scenic by-ways include lots of leaf-peeping, quaint covered barns, and idyllic-looking sheep and cows grazing serenely.

– Vermont’s Festival of the Arts runs in Mad River Valley from August 1 through Labor Day, and the Valley Arts Foundation took the time to compile a program that clearly delineates which venues are wheelchair friendly (and kid-friendly too!).

– Check out the  Waitsfield Farmer’s Market on the green in Waitsfield on Saturdays, 9 am to 1 pm, mid-May through mid-October.

– We loved the Hen of the Wood restaurant in Waterbury when we dined there a couple of years ago.  The Waterbury restaurant is not accessible but the newly-opened Hen of the Wood in Burlington IS accessible.  The only catch is that the new and accessible restaurant is in Burlington, about an hour away. DSC02926

Trip Interrupted: Mad River Barn in VT will have to wait, unless you get there first…

Although a major snowstorm on a Thursday night after December break means an extended school vacation, we were sorry to miss out on our weekend in Waitsfield, VT at the Mad River Barn.

This B&B in Waitsfield, VT was recently bought and renovated – complete with a wheelchair-accessible room and bath, which we were hoping to review this weekend. Even better, the inn is very close to Sugarbush and the  Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports program at Mt. Ellen, and a much more affordable option than the Sugarbush Resort.  The inn has a restaurant, pub and game room and is in the heart of Mad River Glen – a great location for a long weekend away from Boston.   I spoke at length with Heather, the owner, who spent a lot of time with me on the phone and was then more than understanding when we had to cancel at the last minute due to inclement weather.  (Getting stranded in a snowstorm with a teenager in a wheelchair is an experience I hope never to have!)

We’ll re-schedule our stay there but if you go before me, please post on TravelByWheelchair’s FB page!

Accessible lodging options in Mad River Valley, VT

The Yellow Farmhouse Inn is a bed and breakfast in Waitsfield, VT – in the beautiful Mad River Valley – with high Trip Advisor ratings and an ADA-accessible room (the Morgan Ashlee room).  Mad River Valley has a host of all-season activities, including two ski areas: Sugarbush Resort and Mad River “ski it if you can” Glen.  I have not been to this inn myself, but I have spoken with the owner and it’s on my “to go” list.  They currently have a special ski package being offered through Trip Advisor.   Prices start at $219/night.

Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports runs accessible ski programs through the Mt. Ellen Base Lodge, at Sugarbush Resort in Waitsfield, VT.  We plan to check it out with Marianne this January and will let you know how it goes.

Sugarbush Resort does have some ADA-accessible condos for rent at their luxury, ski-in/ski-out Claybrook Residence.  These units are in a hotel-like set-up (general entrance is through a main lobby, and the units are accessible by elevator) and individually owned.  They are very pricey, starting at $880/night on a non-holiday weekend for a 1-bedroom condo unit (which sleeps 4).   Because the units are individually owned, they do not meet standard ADA requirements, and so although I was assured doorways were wider and there were grab bars in the bathroom, none of the units have a roll-in shower.  The fitness center, in the building, is accessible and has accessible, roll-in showers.  There is an outdoor heated pool, but there is no lift for pool access.