Windham Hill — A Garden, a Chef, and a Table

The Daily Meal goes on a country retreat in West Townshend, Vermont
Windham Hill Inn
Stephania Stanley

Many of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the dishes at Windham Hill Inn come from the inn's garden.

As we pull into the drive to Windham Hill Inn, two notable items come into view: a sizable garden bursting with herbs and vegetables and a grand inn set in the rolling hills of Vermont.

Originally built as a farmhouse, Windham Hill Inn sits in the countryside on the outskirts of West Townshend on 160 acres of land full of hiking trails, a pool, a clay tennis court, and even a waterfall.

Each room at the inn is unique. Mine was called the Forget Me Knot room, and it was complete with a full bathtub, a king-sized bed, and a large window seat with plenty of room to stretch out and catch up on my long-neglected book list.

The resort’s culinary program is inspired by local Vermont produce and British, German, American, and Asian cuisines, a reflection of the kitchen staff’s diverse experience. Executive chef Graham Gill leads the careful creation of each dish, all of which emphasize the flavors of each locally sourced ingredient.

Breakfast begins each day with an amuse-bouche, followed by a full breakfast with dishes like classic eggs Benedict or French toast topped with Vermont maple syrup, and also includes homemade granola served with Greek yogurt and a choice of fresh jam or honey and a miniature, light and fluffy cinnamon roll with just the right balance of buttery cinnamon and sugary center.

Breakfast at Windham Hill Inn is a must. Photo credit: Stephania Stanley

Each day around noon, executive chef Graham Gill heads out to the garden to collect ingredients to create the evening’s special.

"We use whatever we can," said chef Graham who surveys the garden as part of his daily menu planning routine. The vegetables, herbs, and fruits he gathers are incorporated into the daily special. When The Daily Meal took a walk in the garden with Graham, he was collecting the essential ingredients for vegetable Wellington with red pepper coulis, a vegetarian version of traditional beef Wellington, and a chunky gazpacho soup bursting with tomato and basil.

No one wears just one hat at Windham Hill Inn. Two women (including the inn's yoga instructor) tend to the grounds, from the corn stalks and leafy greens in the vegetable garden to the acres of flower gardens that punctuate the grounds of Windham Hill. Chef Graham is also a part-time gardener and instructor, and he often confers with his sous chef who doubles as the pastry chef to develop a European-inspired farm-to-table menu that changes every three months. The result is unpretentious, country fare that is fresh and executed flawlessly.

Hospitality was provided to Stephania Stanley by Windham Hill.