The first thing you smell upon entering the lobby of the Essex Resort & Spa is the sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies. It’s a preview of the good things that come out of the hotel’s renowned Cook Academy, which offers classes throughout the year ranging from grilling basics to pasta-making. In the summer, the school also has Camp Cook, week-long sessions designed for young foodies where kids learn to make recipes from pasta dough to fortune cookies, help tend the garden and collect eggs from the local hens.
While You’re In Town: Take a tour of nearby Shelburne Farms, which hosts family-friendly seasonal events like visits with the farm animals and wagon rides.
Where to Stay: The Essex offers plenty to do, with a top notch spa and indoor pool, as well as one of the best restaurants in the area, Junction, which has a long list of Vermont cheeses and serves hearty, seasonal New American fare like striploin with celery root purée or lobster and diver scallops with crimson lentils. From $159 per night