WINDSOR, Vt. -- We arrived at Juniper Hill Inn well after dark, having made a long, winding, uphill drive to find this 1902 Colonial Revival mansion. Innkeeper Susanne Pearl answered the doorbell, brushing away our apologies for the 10 p.m. arrival, and ushered us into a great hall with honey oak paneling topped by soft yellow walls.
Because we entered the U-shaped building from the courtyard, we were surprised in the morning by the inn's colonnaded front porch overlooking colorful gardens and a sloping lawn to a glimpse of Lake Runnemede and Mount Ascutney in the distance.
The landscaping is one of Juniper Hill's many highlights. In June, gardens on three sides featured lilacs, irises, daisies, and fragrant peonies. An outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by gardens.
Our room, which once hosted President Theodore Roosevelt, was huge, nearly 400 square feet, with a Franklin stove, Oriental-style carpets over polished wood floors, three large and comfortable wingback chairs, a queen-size four-poster canopy bed, two nightstands, an old-fashioned dresser, and an armoire. It was also remarkably quiet; the loudest sound we heard was the chatter of songbirds through our open windows.
At Juniper Hill, the emphasis is on romance. There are no televisions or telephones in the rooms, but there are candles, wine glasses, and comfortable robes. In our room, a book titled "In Praise of Love" by Maurice Jacques (Octagon) offered verses from Ovid to George Sand. CDs were nature sounds, love songs, and classic instrumentals. Truffles were on the bedside table, champagne was chilling in an ice bucket, and the fire was ready to light.
The large bathroom had a pedestal sink and a full tub and shower with a grab rail built in. A cabinet had plenty of space for storage and overhead lighting was good. Toiletries included cucumber and aloe soap, shampoo, hand and body lotion, herbal bath grains, and Tom's of Maine toothpaste. A hair dryer, flashlight, and extra blanket are in every room.
Romance is wonderful, but on a weekend getaway we also like to read. Our room had five lamps, four of them with three-way bulbs. We could read comfortably from nearly anywhere.
All rooms have private baths, and most have wood- or gas-burning fireplaces, according to innkeeper Rob Pearl. The Pearls bought Juniper Hill 13 years ago and do most of the housekeeping and cooking themselves, with help from a small staff.
The common rooms are charming in this building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The library walls are adorned with photographs of the Evarts family, original owners of the property; William M. Evarts was secretary of state under President Rutherford B. Hayes.
Meals are served in a dining room with deep burgundy walls, intricate molding, and floor-to-ceiling wood-burning fireplace. The breakfast menu includes pancakes, eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, and a daily special, as well as cold cereal with fresh blueberries. A four-course dinner is served Tuesday-Saturday by reservation. We enjoyed filet mignon with red bliss mashed potatoes and asparagus. Afternoon sweets and a beverage are set out in the great hall.
Guests who discover this charming and reasonably priced inn tend to come back. In the dining room we met two couples who had married at Juniper Hill and were returning to celebrate an anniversary.
Ellen Albanese can be reached at email@example.com.