Kimpton Comes to Town
In 1876, Julius Kellogg built a home on Main Street in Manchester Village, a destination town situated on the shoulder of Mount Equinox. It remained his private residence until 1907 when he constructed an addition and opened up the Orchard Park Hotel. In 1919, Kellogg sold the property to a businessman from Springfield, Mass; owner of The Worthy Hotel. So Orchard Park was reborn as The Worthy Inn and carried on for the better part of a century. Finally, it was the Village Country Inn.
“When I first arrived in Manchester, it seemed nearly everyone I met had a story about the Worthy Inn. People remember the hustle and bustle of it, they remember brunch dates and evenings in the restaurant.” This is Jami Poe talking, Taconic’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “The history of the property is really important to us. We’re the fourth hotel on the site, not the first, and so we embrace all that came before us as part of our story.” Poe is a charming West Coast gal with an international swagger and twenty-five years in the (hospitality) industry under her belt. In her career, she’s focused on high-end, high-touch properties and Taconic is her third opening to date. “It’s important to us that we look back in time to see what made this place so special to the people who’ve been part of this community so long a time.”
Steeped in History.
“We invite our guests to engage with the history while they’re here, to get in on the conversation, and have a full experience. This is a big part of who we are.” Vintage photos are showcased in each of the guestrooms and throughout the property. And the cottages adjacent to the main building are either restored or built new atop a historic footprint.
Accommodations at Taconic include rooms and suites in the main inn, plus the three free-standing cottages. The largest offers two ground floor suites and an upstairs studio with double beds. It’s a total charmer. Filled with sunshine during the day and tremendously cozy at night. “This cottage is really special,” Jami explained, “and when it came time to choose a name, we thought it might be fun to invite the community to make suggestions. Our social media channels were flooded with suggestions! Nickelwhite won out, after a beloved Manchester resident.”
We sifted through a stack of historic photos on the table. There was Fred Nicklewhite in the ’60s, watching the parade. There he was in his tailor’s shop with clients. There were the Bennetts, and the Orchard Park Hotel, and the hotel’s livery, with its crew of jaunty drivers leaning on their cars, looking handsome and at-your-service. “We worked extensively with Shawn Harrington at the Manchester Historical Society,” she explained. “They have a fascinating, deep collection. And anyone can visit! The photographs of Manchester through the years are incredible. Romantic, beautiful…” And timeless.
Taconic is privately owned and Kimpton-managed. “You’ll find Kimpton hotels in Miami, in DC, Chicago, and along the West Coast. This is our first country property,” Jami gave us a quick lowdown on the hospitality brand. “We have properties apart from the typical urban hotels like a new property just opened in Austin, or the Brice in Savannah, which is not so urban, but certainly not rural. Taconic is the first in this corner of the country.”
“Our employees are what set us apart from other area lodging options. The Kimpton culture gives a sense of ownership to every employee. We take pride in Taconic, every one of us, as if it were our own home.”
And, Kimpton is friendly! No pet fee, for example. “Pets are allowed here! People want to travel and they want to take their dogs (pets!) with them. We do like to know what kind of pet, and how big, so we can match the right size bed and bowls. We also like to make sure that the treats we offer are okay with Mom and Dad.” At Taconic, guests are guests. Period. And everyone is spoiled.
Food and drink are essential elements of the experience. The open, interactive kitchen is part of Bill Kimpton’s legacy. Jami tells us. “It was Bill’s idea to bring that concept to the states and it’s a fun part of the experience here in Manchester.” Copper Grouse offers soulful, highly-seasonal plates from Executive Chef Vanessa Davis, plus an enviable craft cocktail menu and bar bites. All in an approachable but refined settting.
Find Your Exhale.
“We’re committed to providing personalized service. We want to understand what interests our guests. But most of all we want them to check their cares at the door and just be here. We want them to relax, to find their exhale.” Kimpton’s been operating on this philosophy since 1981. “We know we need to continue to differentiate ourselves,” says Poe. “So we’re always asking, how can we surprise and delight our guests? How we can keep an element of fun in everything we do?”
Surprise and Delight.
“Each Kimpton does that differently. At Taconic, we surprise our guests with some really unique experiences.” She rattled off a few; yoga roll-out in a guest room or on the patio, a cache of PUBLIC bikes, plus mountain bike rentals from a local shop. An adult coloring book featuring art and sculptures from the Southern Vermont Art Center’s permanent collection, just down the street. Manchester Woodcraft walking sticks in each of the guest rooms, trail maps at the desk. “Our Library has seen it’s final installation with the addition of some of Northshire Bookstore‘s Staff Picks. A taste of what makes this book lovers haven so very special… We hope the picks invite enough curiosity that our guests will be intrigued enough to check out the store for themselves. No trip to Manchester is complete without visiting the store!”
“We also want to make sure that our guests know about unique local experiences, like fly fishing with Orvis, glass blowing on Elm Street, paint and sip classes, clay shooting with Covey & Nye. We want our guests to visit Hildene.
The thing is, you can’t go to Hildene and not love it. How can you not love baby goats? We have a package this spring that includes two passes, an overnight stay, and a picnic lunch from the Copper Grouse. So you can walk the wetlands, visit the greenhouses, tour the mansion, and have lunch. Spend the better part of a day there. And it’s just down the street!”
Coast to Coast.
Jami and her husband Sean have been in Manchester just under a year now. “Sean was offered a position to manage The Reluctant Panther, and that brought us to Manchester. I heard a wild rumor that Kimpton was coming to Manchester, too, which seemed too good to be true. I called from Woodstock to San Francisco and said, you’ll never guess where I am!” She laughed.
“Each summer when I was a kid, my dad would host groups of students between high school and college. We’d go to Europe for five weeks together, and I was constantly exposed to different cultures and customs. I got the bug! I knew then, from a very young age, that I wanted to be in this industry. Fast forward however many years, to here. Sean and I think it’s kismet. Two great opportunities in such a wonderful place. It’s so exciting for me to come back to Kimpton; a feeling like coming home.”
“There’s a vibe here that’s unique. People here are genuinely happy because they want to be here, they’ve chosen to be here. Many of our guests are coming to Manchester for the first time. They’re Kimpton loyalists, excited to visit the newest hotel that opens. And we can’t wait to welcome them. We know once they experience Taconic, and experience Manchester, they’ll fall in love, too. You just can’t help it.”
Located on Main Street in historic Manchester Village, this new boutique hotel is perfect for the discerning traveler who loves to experience the best and most authentic points of a region. Click through for additional photos, a direct path to book, and links to their social platforms. Also, a map so you can plan your visit.Taconic, A Kimpton Hotel
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