Airbnb Gone Luxe

Airbnb in MVT

Joan Burns grew up in Queens with 55 families on her street. In the sixth grade, she moved to Purchase where she dropped her accent “in a hurry” and fell in love with Trusty Red Rusty. “All of the sudden we had a couple of acres, and I was a horseback rider. The local Pony Club would let you adopt a horse, and we had a paddock! I made a friend who lived five miles away; down the road, and over the hill… and Trusty Red Rusty would take me there and back. It was wild.”


After high school, she studied art and art history at Marymount Manhattan.  She worked at the Muppets (yes, the Muppets) until her husband got an unexpected offer. Side note: For one year, when she was sixteen, her family lived in Iran. It was an adventure that would inspire a lifetime of travel. “I’ve clocked twenty-two countries to date,” she continued. “And while I was at the Muppets, Duncan got an offer to manage a small hotel in the Virgin Islands. How could I refuse?! So we did that for a season and all of the sudden we were in the hotel business!”

On Harbour Island.

“From St. Croix, we managed a property in the Bahamas called Pink Sands. It was 42 rooms spread out over 18 acres, on the ocean. A high-end place, a hundred in staff, with lovely, lovely guests.” To get to Harbour Island, you fly to Nassau or Miami, hop a small plane to a taxi to a boat to a taxi again, and there you find three and a half miles of pink Bahamian beaches and paradise. “We were there for four years. I was in charge of the landscaping, guest services, reservations, and housekeeping. Duncan did the rest.” In  August of ’92, Hurricane Andrew hit. Joanie and her husband moved back to New York.

The Vermont Connection.

“My parents had a house at Stratton for a few years in the ’80s and we had lots of friends with second homes here, so we’d been back and forth visiting. After we were back and settled, we learned that the Dorset Inn was for sale. Duncan and I came up to look at it. We even returned with backers to buy it, but the deal fell through. Duncan went to work at the Union League and I started my garden design/installation business, Down to Earth. There was something about this area, though, that I really, really liked. And that stayed with me.”

Bonnet House 1

On Choosing Manchester.

“After my divorce, I looked at properties here and in Rye. I fell in love with this house on Bonnet Street (where we met her to chat) but it was under contract. So disappointing! But, it was meant to be. Eventually, the realtor called to let me know it was back on the market.” So Joanie moved to Vermont, renovated Bonnet House first, and then turned her attention toward the garage. “I did Tucked In with my brother, James. He’s a designer and decorator (JKP Design) down in New York. And “Tucked In” is a throwback to Harbour Island,” she smiles. “There was a sweet little place at the end of a private garden path, and so I borrowed the name.”

“People love the space. It’s fresh and contemporary. It’s a roomy 720 square feet so you can have friends in for drinks. It’s also perfect for families with a new baby; open, easy, without any neighbors. And you can walk downtown in less than five minutes.”

Luxe Cottage for rent in Manchester Vermont

“I’m a creative person, but not a fine artist,” she says. “I’ve always gravitated toward the physical stuff.” On display throughout the house are pieces she’s designed in metal and stained glass, and beautiful watercolors. “I remember when we moved from Queens to Purchase, I happily signed on to care for our lawns and gardens. I loved that work. I still do.”  In the summer, Tucked In guests will find it hard to beat the little oasis of a sideyard. The cottage’s french doors open to a simple but roomy slate patio ringed by pretty landscaping and rock gardens, with a fire pit and hot tub close by.

tucked in exterior

tucked in exterior 1

Love it or leave it.

“Initially, it was the peacefulness of Vermont that drew me here. It was a risk. I wasn’t sure if I was going to love it. But as it turned out, I think it’s spectacular. My daughters do, too. You can truly relax, but if you need the city it’s just three hours away.” She paused. “I think all of the things in my life have brought me here. I’ve rolled with the punches, and I love a bit of adventure.” In addition to Tucked In, she’s wrapped up another local renovation, just around the corner on School Street. “It’s an incredible little barn and I’ve given it a whole new life!”

After three years in Vermont, you must have a few favorite places?

“In the summer, the (Stratton Mountain) snowmaking pond, hands down. And Taylor Farm! For the last two summers, I’ve hosted a child from the Fresh Air Fund. We run up to the farm fairly often. It’s messy, it’s fun, the animals are always there, you can pet them, talk to them, and it’s very low key.” In town? “I love the Equinox Trail. I walk up to the pond two or three times a week.

And I love the Farmers’ Market. The way I eat has changed significantly since I moved to Manchester. Seriously,” she laughs, “it’s as simple as fresh eggs. The first time you crack a farm egg. Those yolks…they’re ORANGE!”

The Manchester Farmer’s Market happens every Thursday in warm weather, May 29 through October 9, from 3-6 pm, rain or shine. More than 30 local food producers and artisans set up their booths at Adams Park, across from Gringo Jacks. You buy directly from the growers and makers, and there’s always something extra fun for the kids.


What’s the most common guest question?

“Where’s breakfast.” Joanie laughs. “If you like breakfast, ” she says, “Manchester’s a great place to be. There’s Bob’s (Diner). There’s Up for Breakfast. We love the Spiral Press Panini and brunch at The Copper Grouse. It’s lovely.”

Check out Tucked In

Located on Bonnet Street in downtown Manchester, Tucked In is a totally unique stay experience. Find photos and web links here, and a map so you can plan your visit!

Tucked In

Questions, comments, and suggestions welcome about anything and everything Manchester VT!

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