Après-Ski Season: A Rather Sophisticated Springtime in Vermont – Part 2, Burlington

Shaksbury & Co at The Soda Plant

 

 

Part I of our latest Vermont story, covered Manchester; and now we’re off to Burlington…

 

The ridiculously scenic drive from Manchester to Burlington is genuinely like traveling back in time; and, at any point, you might be the only car on the road. Along the way we took in the soaring mountain vistas, stopped at roadside farm stands for fresh-picked produce, and found quirky treasures at village antique shops.

It helped that Land Rover was kind enough to loan us a Range Rover Sport Hybrid PHEV to get us there in style. While the vehicle isn’t yet available in the U.S., its agile handling and luxurious feel are the familiar hallmarks of Land Rover’s entire range of SUVs.

Of course, there is obviously legendary skiing up this way. But spring is turning to summer soon, and ours was a much more epicurean mission.

Here’s how it all went.

 

Philo Ridge Farm

This working farm has been in operation since the 1840s, and has evolved as a community gathering place and a model for regenerative agriculture, with its own research and education center. Its market offers farm-produced meats, cheeses, and other local items and sells a seasonal shortlist of home made soups, salads, pizzas, and sandwiches on site. We ordered the better-than-Thanksgiving freshly sliced turkey breast with cranberry mustard on house-made Pullman bread, savory herb-flecked chicken salad, and gooey Vermont grilled cheese – we were definitely not disappointed. Oh, and make sure you visit Odyssey and his llama pals for an Insta-worthy selfie.

 

 

Foam Brewers

As we traveled the route from Charlotte to Burlington, we felt ourselves being pulled back into the 21st century. The University of Vermont’s sprawling campus welcomes visitors into Vermont’s largest city, and offers a hint at its vibrant culture. Once in town, all roads lead to the Lake Champlain waterfront and the striking Adirondack mountain range bordering it to the west. We stretched our legs with a stroll around the waterfront and popped into the celebrated Foam Brewers on Lake Street to see what was on tap that day, check out some local music, and chill on its patio.
Named among the best new brewers in the nation by Beer Advocate, RateBeer, and Men’s Journal, Foam offers a rotating selection that varies by season and inspiration. We tried the Mythological Beauty, a lavender-hued fruited sour beer with notes of blueberry, coconut, and lemon, as well as Nightmares on Wax, a modern white IPA with notes of vanilla, spice, and citrus.

 

 

Juniper

We checked into the appropriately monikered Hotel Vermont, and as happens, its Juniper restaurant also focuses on locally-crafted spirits and home-grown provisions that drive the menu. For dinner, we started by nibbling on roasted carrots with pistachio hummus and buttermilk crumble and Maple Wind Farm chicken drumsticks with spicy house-made sauce. For entrées, the seasonal gnocchi specials are highly coveted (ours featured chevre gnocci with sunchokes and caramelized Brussels sprouts, but the new spring version is filled with fresh spring peas and other first-comers from the garden).
But fall-apart-tender was the grilled pork belly served on a bed of creamy polenta with a dollop of tomato jam. Insider tip: You can ask for local wine pairings from Shelburne Vineyards or celebrated Vermont winemaker Krista Scruggs of ZAFA wines. But if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, their drinks alchemists boast a menu of inspired tipples crafted from local distillations – for a refreshing twist on a gin and tonic, we tried the Business Thyme, featuring Barr Hill Gin, lime, honey, and, of course, thyme. A seat on the outside on the patio and promises breathtaking views of sunset over Lake Champlain.
Come the weekend, we started the day with the hotel’s in-house yoga classes…though a refreshing run along the waterfront before settling down to brunch at Juniper meant we didn’t have to regret ordering the decadent Red Flannel Hash (grass-fed corned beef, beets, potatoes, topped with two golden-yolked eggs) and the savory mushroom tartine oozing with creamy Spring Brook Tarentaise cheese. Safe to say we also made a selection from their Bloody Mary Bar, and we went as spicy as possible.

 

The Soda Plant

Before the day was up, we made a stop at the city’s South End, a former industrial area emerging as a galvanizing point for artists and young entrepreneurs. The Soda Plant is, as we had guessed, a former soda factory space that has been transformed as a collective for small, upstart businesses. Brio Coffeeworks has a space, both roasting and selling their beans; CO-Cellars is a winery and tasting room, a collaboration between the founders of Shaksbury hard ciders and Krista Scruggs of ZAFA wines. The space is used for active fermentation, experimentation, and an open-to-the-public tasting room – and we highly recommend stocking up on their rosé cider before you depart.
Other forms of fermentation can be found at Pitchfork Farm & Pickle, which, sure, is one big hipsterriffic cliché – but they will literally pickle anything from butternut squash and carrots to classics such as Bavarian-style sauerkraut and Korean kimchi, if that’s your thing. After you’re done with all that tasting, stroll through a few of the art galleries, jewelry makers, and other intriguing independent shops.

 

 

Hotel Vermont

Although Burlington isn’t lacking in good, atmospheric hotels, the Hotel Vermont is a more contemporary choice, sleek and modern, but with rustic design touches and a welcoming atmosphere. Perfectly located between the Church Street shopping and entertainment hub and the waterfront, the five-year-old hotel has become central to the character of the community and is a staunch supporter of Burlington’s groundswell of emerging businesses. From the architecture to the food and beverage program, almost everything is sourced locally – including the in-room coffee mugs created by a Burlington-based potter and the coffee served in them, from award-winning Burlington roaster Brio Coffeeworks. Urbane rooms feature patterned carpets, warm woods and stylishly muted color schemes.

 

Gentle Fendi Eyewear Collection is Launched with a Totally Surrealist Campaign

 

 

Fashion collaborations are simply abounding these days; but when two of our favorite brands come together to create something unpredictably grand and groovy…well, it’s definitely still news. And to be sure, iconic fashion house Fendi has just teamed up with super hip South Korean eyewear creator Gentle Monster, to bring to life a capsule collection of impossibly cool limited edition sunglasses.

The Gentle Fendi collection is introduced via a campaign with a surreal, Dali-esque video directed by Russian artist collective AES+F. It features models wearing the limited-edition eyewear as they playfully cavort with alien-like geometric forms. (Is it possible this is what the world looks like through Gentle Fendi glasses?)

 

 

The striking collection includes two unisex eyewear styles which are each available in three colorways. Gentle Fendi No. 1 is an avant-garde take on the classic cat’s eye frame in black, blue, and pink with the Fendi logo prominently displayed on the tips of the lenses. Gentle Fendi No. 2 is a universally flattering oversized aviator shape in khaki, orange, and yellow with the distinctive Fendi logo visible on the temples.

For our part, we’re still having a hard time deciding.

Gentle Fendi debuts May 7th, and is available in select Fendi and Gentle Monster boutiques worldwide.

 

 

 

 

Report From Paris: Kendall Jenner Intros New Warhol + Bauhaus Inspired Longchamp Collection

 

The new monogram Longchamp LGP collection is kind of a big deal. So much so that Kendall Jenner took to the streets of Paris this week to spread the word.

Teased on the runway at this past February’s New York Fashion Week, last night Ms. Jenner celebrated with the venerable French luxury brand at the historic Galeries Lafayette department store, which was launching its own LGP pop-up. The logo-riffic collection itself is playful, sexy, insouciant, but with just the right touch of restrained elegance. Encompassing luggage, leather bags, totes, sneakers, sunglasses, statement jackets, even fashionable fanny packs (some pieces designed for both men and women), the collection’s stylistic inspirations run from the cool austerity of 1930s Bauhaus, to the Pop cheekiness of 1960s Andy Warhol.

Longchamp LGP will be available, naturally, at Longchamp’s New York and Paris boutiques – but a one-of-a-kind dedicated L.A. pop-up shop will also be making it available to West Coasters through June 21st at the Westfield Century City Atrium.

Here are some of our faves from the collection.

 

 

First Images: Chanel’s Exquisite New New Delhi Boutique

Images by Oliver Saillant

 

Regardless of socio-political and infrastructural instabilities, the Indian economy has continued its impressive rise these last five years. What that means, naturally, is unflagging growth in the luxury market there – and Chanel is answering with this new location in the capital.

Located in the posh, international Lutyens district, their latest New Delhi boutique is comprised of 315 square meters spread over two floors, specifically in the Chanakya shopping center. And continuing their high-profile and quite stylistically successful relationship, design was by New York based architect-provocateur Peter Marino. (Indeed, from designing the brand’s new Boston boutique in 2014 to revamping its NYC flagship last year, it seems to be a partnership with no necessary end in sight).

 

 

Inside, Chanel’s signature black and white color palette is aesthetically enlivened by pink and blue accents and tweed furnishings – refined, yet anything but staid. Each space is furnished with custom designed sofas, lacquered tables and striking bronze lamps.

What can local and visiting fashion devotees expect to find there? A full complement of ready-to-wear, as well as shoes, handbags, jewelry/watches, accessories and eyewear – as well as, naturally, those iconic, can’t-do-without fragrances.

Of course, we are all still mourning the loss of Karl Lagerfeld, who left us, and Chanel behind in February, when he passed away unexpectedly at age 85. But his legacy surely lives spectacularly on around the globe in just such stunningly realized new boutiques as this.

 

Louis Vuitton’s New Unisex ‘Les Colognes’ Are an Homage to ‘Le California’

 

 

Considering what an all encompassing lifestyle one is able to be immersed in by becoming a devotee of Louis Vuitton, it seems odd to think that their first men’s fragrance range was launched only last year – with the five scents making up the Les Parfums collection, bottles by Marc Newson.

Now they’re going unisex, with the equally concisely titled collection Les Colognes – and curiously enough for the French luxury house, the inspiration is, well…California. In which case the timing could not be more perfect; after all, with spring in full bloom, no one really wants to smell like a pine forest or a pile of dry firewood, do they?

Rather, we get such optimistically monikered fragrances – by LV’s Master Perfumer Jacques Cavalier Belletrud – as Sun Song, Cactus Garden and Afternoon Swim. The scents evoke the endless sky and sun, the wide open desert, and the all around ineffable pleasures of nature in the great Golden State.

All three come in stark but cool, almost apothecary like bottles, with the blue, green and yellow fragrances contained within aesthetically distinguishing each. Vivacious packaging is by L.A. multimedia artist Alex Israel. In fact, it’s all so cheerful, it might even inspire your average Francophile to the occasional sunny disposition.

 

Après-Ski Season: A Rather Sophisticated Springtime in Vermont – Part I, Manchester

Kimpton Taconic Hotel 

 

There are few places more idyllic than Vermont (and they’re probably much further away). In any season, its winding roads dotted with rustic covered bridges, villages seemingly untouched by time, and family-owned farms beckon with the promise of escape from the sometimes soul-crushing pace of New York City. But beyond bovines and Bernie, Vermont offers the best opportunity for a genuinely off-the-beaten path adventure, a rich arts and cultural history, and a revolutionary approach to often misrepresented farm-to-table cuisine.

 

 

We set out on a recent weekend to take in the pleasure of the Green Mountain State. And Land Rover was kind enough to loan us a Range Rover Sport Hybrid PHEV to get us there in style. While the vehicle isn’t yet available in the U.S., its agile handling and luxurious feel are the familiar hallmarks of Land Rover’s entire range of SUVs. We actually felt pretty cool tooling up the Taconic in the shiny red vehicle – and it was a dream to drive. In fact, when we set the cruise control, it almost drove itself.

We went first for bags of New England charm in Manchester, then a bit of rustic sophistication in Burlington. Here’s how Part I played out.

 

Manchester, Southern Vermont

The tiny village of Manchester is just three-and-a-half hours from New York City, yet it genuinely feels like a world away. Sweeping views of the Green Mountains to the east, and the Taconic Range to the west set the scene for all manner of outdoor adventure; but there’s a lot more to Manchester than skiing or wilderness hikes.

Land Rover Experience Driving School

Quite a lot of New Yorkers don’t often have the opportunity to get behind the wheel – and when they do, they’re not typically driving up a rugged mountain trail. We did an exhilarating half-day driving lesson with one of Land Rover’s professional off-road driving instructors, and seriously put our skills to the test (we also pick up a few new ones) as we crawled over boulders, waded through three-feet-deep ponds, and descended steep inclines – of course, all accomplished in our super-smooth-but-tough, luxurious Land Rover. You can’t do that in NYC.

 

Orvis Fly-Fishing School

Here we were taught how to cast like a seasoned angler. A half-day class at their state-of-the art schoolhouse will introduce you to the art and science of this beloved (and relaxing) activity. Before casting our reel, we learned how to choose gear and tackle, tie essential knots, learn about stream entomology, and how to read water and currents. And, on Orvis’ fully-stocked casting pond, you’re almost guaranteed to hook a fish worth bragging about.

Boorn Brook Farm

If you’ve gotten hooked on the current authenticity trend, it honestly doesn’t get any more authentic than Boorn Brook Farm, a private estate and working farm just five minutes from downtown Manchester. The restored barn, with soaring, hand-hewn beamed ceilings, offers magnificent views of the property, has two cozy bedrooms, an open floor plan, and wood-fired stove in the kitchen. The grounds are also home to the Green Mountain Falconry School where you can book a private lesson or take a hawk walk on the property’s three miles of groomed, wooded trails. And seriously – what could possibly be cooler than falconry?

 

 

Hildene

Of course, we also appreciate the more intellectual adventures. And we later made our way to Hildene, the historic Lincoln Family Home, originally the summer house of Robert Todd Lincoln. The Georgian revival mansion and 14 historic buildings have been fully restored, including much of the original furniture, and it functions as a campus for environmental and agricultural education. We toured the house and explored the grounds (making sure to visit the farm and goat dairy) and took a stroll through the gardens. You can also hike the many peaceful, meandering trails through the 412-acre property.

Southern Vermont Arts Center

The recently renovated Southern Vermont Arts Center is a gateway to the impressive cultural history of the region. Originally established almost a century ago by an eclectic group of local artists, the Center has evolved to become a multidisciplinary arts organization that includes music, dance, education, and workshops with visiting creatives. This season, the museum’s curated exhibits dive into culturally relevant issues; Unusual Threads: Stitching Together the Future of Fashion takes on sustainability in the fashion industry, and Everything is Still: Photographers Working in Motion Picture Film explores storytelling through the creation of single, still images made through the medium of motion picture film. Fascinating stuff.

 

 

Retail Therapy

Although you’ll not want to miss Manchester’s high-end outlets (Ralph Lauren, Yves Delorme, Theory), we found Manchester’s most memorable shopping at its independently owned stores. You can easily spend hours browsing the shelves at the Northshire Bookstore – make sure to check out the staff picks and selection of locally-made gift items. The Mountain Goat is great for deals on outdoor apparel, and at Above All Vermont, an old-fashioned country store, we loved the handcrafted, quirky, and delicious Vermont-made goods.

Kimpton Taconic Hotel

Our home base, the Kimpton Taconic Hotel, perfectly captures the cozy-chic aesthetic one would expect from a Vermont hotel, but with a bit of big-city sophistication. The lobby’s soaring stone fireplace, wide-plank floors and carefully curated local artwork distinctly nod to the character and voice of the community, and each of the 86 rooms and three private cottages offer luxurious accommodations and amenities including in-room spa services.
The hotel’s excellent restaurant, The Copper Grouse, reinterprets classic American tavern fare and regional dishes with ingredients sourced from local purveyors. We started with shareable snacks: the house made soft pretzel bites tossed in duck fat and served with a spicy cider mustard, hand-cut fries with truffle oil, sea salt, and fresh herbs, and crispy chicken wings with maple sriracha and blue cheese mousse.
For the main event, we loved the Copper Grouse Burger topped with local cheddar and house-made pickles and the maple plank roasted Atlantic salmon accompanied by charred root vegetables. Desserts included a formidable goat cheese cheesecake with cider caramel and maple walnuts, and a classic apple crisp (yes, it’s all very, very Vermont). After dinner, it was cocktails – they made a killer espresso martini – at the hotel’s blazing outdoor fire pit.

 

After Lagerfeld: Chanel Opens Stunning New Boutique in Seoul

Images by Tim Franco

 

Things will obviously never be the same at Chanel, since the shocking passing of Karl Lagerfeld just last month. But, of course, the house must go on.

To that end, Chanel has just opened its first new boutique since Herr Lagerfeld’s death, its tenth in South Korea. Of course, we have been known to visit for the K-Pop and the bibimpap, but a visit to this luxurious new Seoul flagship – located in the prestigious Cheongdam-dong neighborhood – will now be de rigueur.

From the imagination of New York architect, visual provocateur and long-time Chanel collaborator Peter Marino, the newly-built seven-story structure is encased in sleek black glass and lava stone. Seemingly impenetrable by light, the exterior imitates the glossy surface of a coveted Chanel shopping bag, while the interior holds all of its delights.

 

 

Once inside, sunlight floods the bright white and ivory space, which spectacularly frames the exquisite creations on display. The three lower floors are dedicated to ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, costume jewelry and eyewear – along with a selection of fragrances and a dedicated space for watches and fine jewelry. The fourth floor is reserved for private receptions, and the two upper floors and an outdoor terrace are for special events and exhibitions.

In the Chanel tradition, art plays a vital role in defining the aesthetic. Thirty-one works by high-profile contemporary artists were selected by Marino to underline the boutique’s design manifesto, including pieces by Pablo Reinoso and Paola Pivi commissioned specifically for the project. Celebrated Korean artists Lee Bul, Ik-Joong Kang and Lee Ufan are also notably represented.

 

Santorini Chic: Vora Villas Is Greece’s Poshest New Island Hideaway

 

Surely among the most beautiful places on Earth, Santorini’s soaring cliffs, sweeping ocean views, and charming whitewashed villages are the antithesis of those gritty Athens streets. But while her breathtaking beauty is unquestionable, she’s become increasingly thronged with international tourists in search of those perfect Instagram opportunities. But we still believe the Aegean gem to be one of Greece’s “must” destinations – especially if you can find an out-of-the way spot from which to indulge her charms.

And just such a place is the newly built Vora (the newest member of Design Hotels), which offers three private luxury villas that have been artfully hand-carved into the caves and cliffs, and suspended dramatically above the sea. Secreted away in the quiet residential community of Imerovigli, the location is a hideaway for those who crave tranquility, but also want quick access to the buzzing cafés, tavernas, and shopping opportunities in Santorini’s capital, Fira – only five sunny minutes away.

 

 

Designed by one of the hottest Greek design firms of the moment, Athens-based K-studio, the villas were inspired by classic Cycladic architecture: think gentle arches, whitewashed cement exteriors, elegant lines, and strategically placed staircases. In a nod to Santorini’s history, volcanic rock dapples the exterior and is extensively used in the interior of the villas. A mix of custom-made furniture by local craftspeople and K-studio designers, give each space its unique aesthetic and character. All three boast a private terrace and infinity plunge pool, set against breath-stopping views of the Aegean Sea.

They’re also more reasonably priced than one might expect: rates start at approximately $700 per night and include breakfast, Wi-Fi, and other amenities. As per the norm with European villa rentals in these times, Vora will also coordinate private chefs, drivers, winery tours and exclusive local experiences.

 

 

First Images: The Opulent Marble Courtyard Boutique Opens at Versailles

 

If binge-watching all three seasons of Versailles has left you longing for the legendary palace’s gilded halls, a visit to the Sun King’s legendarily extravagant chateau may be in order. And while there, you can now do a spot of equally extravagant shopping, at the newly opened La Boutique Cour de Mabre (or, for the less imaginative visitor, The Marble Courtyard Boutique)

Stocked is a smartly curated selection of French brands that evoke the spirit of court life, while representing a new guard of unique Gallic designers and artisans. And far from your typical museum store, the space was designed by Paris-based interiors firm Supercraft Studio, in collab with members of the renowned artisanal paper and textile design firm (and Gucci collaborator) A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson.

Located at the foot of the Queen’s staircase (where else?), the grandiosely expansive 11,000 square foot space invites Ancien Regime devotees to stroll through four elegant areas. The first room, The Queen’s Apartments, takes as its inspiration Marie-Antoinette’s boudoir at le Petit Trianon. Decorated in soft greys and lined in wallpapers designed by Mlle. Poisson, this ladies’ salon offers everything a self-respecting noblewoman might need: perfume, crèmes, jewelry, and other luxuriant fashion accessories.

 

 

A second room invites would-be royals to indulge in cake-worthy dinnerware, linens, and other tabletop items from the finest French names, while a third takes a more masculine turn, as it brings to life the King’s Apartments (sans courtesans, bien sûr). Inside, you’ll find richly scented candles, slippers, and high-end men’s leather accessories alongside objet d’art representing games, science, and hunting.

And, we must not forget les petits! Our favorite room offers children’s antique toy reproductions, books, furniture, and authentic-looking princess, marquise, and queen’s costumes – for that special little Francophile aristo in your life.

The boutique is intended to celebrate French culture and illuminate the grandiosity of life at the Court of Versailles – so visitors can continue to bask in the Sun King’s rays long after they’ve returned to la vie quotiedienne.