riding along the lake
trail ride in the woods
cross country jump
view on a ride
hotel terrace with view
saddling up in the barn
view of hotel from ride
pony ride child
children western lesson
kids riding along pond
horses in meadow
horse looking out of stables in spring
riding along the lawn in front of hotel
upper meadow in fall
Swimming pool
lounge with a view
hotel view from cross country course
entrance to hotel
hotel atrium
view from the balcony in fall
seating area in bedroom with view over lake
Bedroom
Bathroom
stables

An historic four star hotel in a beautiful setting of mountains and forests with sweeping lake views. A vast amount of activities are available onsite: from walking/cycling on 40 miles of marked trails through to watersports, horse riding and many more. Ideal for nature lovers, the setting is peaceful and quiet. In autumn the foliage is spectacular.

There is an on-site riding centre with a range of horses offering trail rides in the surrounding woods, along tracks and paths and around the lake. There are also lessons available on-site (July-September only), either Western or English style in one of 2 arenas.

This is the perfect holiday for groups with non-riders or riders of mixed abilities as all levels are catered for and children from age 6 onwards can ride. This is also a great place to work on improving some riding goals or to simply admire the nature all around. The peak foliage season is 15 September to 15 October although this can vary from year to year depending on the weather.

This holiday can easily be combined with a city break in Boston or New York and arrival by either rental car or train is simple and easy.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from JH of Evansville on 28/10/2019

Ride Summary
I was extremely pleased with Sarah from Unicorn Trails. Sarah did an excellent job getting everything arranged and there were no issues. The Resort in Vermont was a beautiful place to ride and the horses and staff were exceptional. No complaints at all, I was very pleased with everything.
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
The riding guides were very friendly and made certain we had a fun and safe ride.
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
I fell in love with each horse I rode.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

What could we do to improve this ride?

How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The guides gave us enough opportunity to trot and canter. The rides still had plenty of walking where the beautiful fall foliage could be enjoyed and appreciated.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
The ride was explained in detail and all aspects were taken care of
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:
I had the most wonderful time horseback riding at Mountain Top. Sarah did an AWESOME job arranging everything….it couldn’t have been any better. My friend and I met two new friends and the four of us really enjoyed our horseback riding vacation. Thank you for making this such a special trip.

Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

About the Hotel

This is an historic hotel which was renovated after a fire in the 1970's. The hotel has 30 rooms, all but 8 have either mountain or lake views, some both. The hotel is ideal for families in holiday times. Outside of school holiday times the hotel is usually quite child free.
There is a vast list of activities available and this is an ideal location for groups with non-riders.

July and August fill up very early and booking by December the year before is advised. Reliable baby sitting services can be arranged on-site. Vermont is famous for spectacular foliage colours in the fall, the peak foliage season varies from year to year but 15 September to 15 October is usually best.

Activities available on-site and included:

  • beach front on lake with kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding
  • Hiking trails of over 60km with written guides
  • tennis court
  • sand volleyball court
  • swimming pool
  • hot tub
  • fitness centre
  • lawn games e.g. croquet, horseshoes

Activities available onsite for an extra cost:

  • yoga classes
  • spa treatments
  • fitness classes
  • cycle rent (use of marked trails and written guide included)
  • fishing - Vermont licence required ($7 in 2016), equipment rental
  • fishing boat rental
  • pontoon boat cruise 
  • Clay Bird Shooting
  • Disc Gold - 9 hole course
  • kids fishing/archery

Activities available off-site for an extra cost:

  • there are 5 golf courses within 20min driving


Riding Centre

 

Riding is by arrangement at the riding centre and a set amount of units are included in your riding package. One riding unit can be used for one trail ride - these usually last 2 hours - or one lesson of one hour (July-September only). Additional riding can be arranged on-site if wished.

 

Trail rides are taken in all different directions from the riding centre. Some are up into the surrounding mountains, others are down to the waters edge, on those the terrain is more suitable for faster riding and you can enjoy trots/canters. There is one ride which circumvents the entire lake, taking approximately 3 hours. Riding abilities are separated and usually there are 4 or less riders in an experienced/faster group although there can be up to 6. The slower rides are up to 6 and beginners usually walk until more skills are acquired.

Lessons are available in English or Western style (July-September only), also jumping in one of 2 arenas. Lessons are again grouped by ability and lesson type so are usually individual unless requested otherwise, as it rarely happens someone else of exactly the same ability and interest is taking a lesson at the same time.

The hotel is also open in winter with a range of winter activities including cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, tobogganing, ice skating etc. There is no riding in winter, please contact us should you wish visit between November and May, prices are lower than in the summer.

Driving up to Vermont from Boston, Massachusetts or New York is quite simple. Head north on the interstate system until you cross the border into New Hampshire. New Hampshire is famous politically as it is one of the first states to hold primaries in election years and the result are closely followed. The state slogan is "Live Free or Die". Stop at a roadside diner for an All American breakfast experience.

After crossing the state line into Vermont you are surrounded by State Parks and forests, many of these are maple forests. Maple syrup is a big deal here and in season (Feb to April) you can view the tapping, concentration by boiling and tasting in one of many small, family-run maple farms. The other rural enterprise in Vermont is dairy farming, so look out for cream and ice-cream from the region.

Continue up in I89 and take a break at the Vermont Green Rest Area. Visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which is situated here as the summer scenery closely resembles Highway One in central Vietnam. Stop at the beautiful Quechee Gorge State Park & village and visit the mill, glass blowers and various craft stores.

New England has strong equestrian traditions. The Green Mountain Horse Association, founded in 1926, has 1900 members and boasts holding the first horse trials which helped the US become the force it is today in 3 day eventing. It is also the site of the oldest long distance riding competition. Don't forget to visit the Vermont Horse and Country Store and Equine Gallery, a haven of western & English tack, clothing and even equestrian real estate.

For a leisurely trip, Woodstock in Vermont is an ideal overnight stop at about the halfway mark from Boston. With its classical New England architecture, green parks, graceful trees and gardens, art galleries, antiquarian book stores, historic covered bridges and Paul Revere bells it is worth a visit. Be sure to try the homemade Maple and Pecan ice-cream at the creamery tea rooms. And no, the famous rock festival of the 60's was held in Woodstock, New York, about 250 miles west of Woodstock, Vermont!

 

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

At any one time there are between 25 and 40 riding horses at the riding centre depending on the time of year. The horses are Quarter Horse and cross, WarmbloodX, ArabX and a few ClydesdaleX. They are all reliable and quiet but quite responsive, some are specialised in lessons or jumping, others prefer and are usually out on the trails.



Riding is available (weather dependent) from the second half of May to the end of October. Western or English tack is available as wished or depending on the type of riding. One riding unit is either one trail ride (usually 2-3hrs out on the trail) or a one hour lesson as wished. Riding on trails is in groups from one onwards with one guide for experienced riders (usually not more than 4 in a group but can be up to 6) or 2 guides for beginner riders on trails.



Basic level lessons are available for beginners, both in English and Western style riding, between July and September. Lessons can be arranged in one of 2 arenas with jumps up to 2ft 6". Lessons are usually individual unless otherwise requested or a very close overlap of abilities happens. There is a schedule of specialist clinics at the riding centre, and also an adult horsemanship programme available, please contact us for details.


Rider requirements

All riding abilities are catered for, from complete beginner to those wishing to improve their jumping skills. Lessons are available in the arena for beginners and more advanced riders. Please note that lessons are only available June-August.

Riding is available for children from 6 years onwards for lessons, from 8 years onwards for trail rides.
There is some flexibility with the maximum weight based on height and riding experience.
Riders are not allowed to saddle their own horses except when participating in an adult horsemanship programme.
Riding helmets are compulsory and a range is available to borrow onsite.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 250 lb/114 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The historic hotel is a 4 star resort with a high standard of rooms which are all en-suite. Standard rooms, luxury rooms and suites are available. There are also nearby rental homes available (walking distance from riding centre and hotel) which can be booked with a meal plan in the hotel or without if you wish to self cater. This works out well for groups of 4 or more. Most rooms have beautiful mountain and/or lake views.



The setting is very peaceful and quiet. Free wifi is available in the communal areas. Meals can be taken in the dining room or Tavern or on the terrace weather permitting. A one course menu is available. Reception is staffed 7am to 11pm except Fri/Sat/Sun when it is staffed 24hrs. Please note the entire resort is non-smoking. Check out time is 11am. Pet care services are available.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

General information:

All travellers are required to provide details online 72 hours prior to travel. For more information, and to apply online please visit the following website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Electronic travel authorities once obtained will be valid for a period of two years, or the validity of the travellers passport (whichever is shorter). There is a $14 charge for this service (2015). Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely to be detained and sent home.

On 5 January 2004, the US Authorities introduced the US-VISIT Programme. This means that all those aged between 14 and 79 travelling to the US are now finger-scanned and digitally photographed on arrival at passport control.

There are British consulates at many locations in the US, please check with the Foreign Office website for your closest one. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 020 7008 0232/0233 or see www.fco.gov.uk

Climate Summary

Warm summers and cold, snowy winters are the norm in Vermont. Riding is available mid May to end October, weather permitting. There can still be snow on some trails in May or sometimes the first snow arrives in October although it does not usually lie on the ground. The foliage season peak is generally in the last 2 weeks of September and first 2 weeks of October and the colours are truly spectacular.

Climate Chart

Health

No specific health precautions are required for visits to the USA.

Medical treatment can be very expensive; there are no special arrangements for British visitors. The British Embassy and Consulates-General cannot assist with medical expenses.

Comprehensive travel and medical insurance is essential; at least $1,000,000 cover, which includes hospital treatment and medical evacuation to the UK, would be wise. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake including horse riding.

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health hazards in Vermont although the tick borne Lyme disease is present as in many wooded areas throughout the world.

Electricity

The voltage is 110V in the USA and you will need a flat blade plug and possibly an adaptor depending on the appliance. Check the voltage input required for mobile phone and digital/video cameras before leaving.

Film and Camera Equipment

Complimentary wifi is available in communal areas of the hotel.

Packing List

Jeans or jodhpurs - jeans for Western riding or jodpurs for English style
Riding boots/ boots or shoes with a heel
Jacket
Long sleeved shirts
Casual dinner wear
Short sleeved shirts
Rain gear (no ponchos)
Sweater
Trainers or soft shoes
Sunscreen
Chaps (optional)
Chapstick
Gloves
Swimming costume

Programmes

We offer a 5d/4n programme with 7 riding units and additional nights can be booked with one riding unit per 24hrs. Riding is available from 15 May to end October weather permitting. The hotel is open all year round with a range of winter activities November to May. No riding in winter, the only horse activities available are sleigh rides.

Departure Dates

2019: Any day departure between 15 May and 31 October

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Rider standard room, per person sharing1,005
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Upgrade to luxury room, per person109
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Upgrade to suite pp, per person159
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n42 bedroom home, per person full board (min 4)875
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n43 bedroom home, per person full board (min 6)835
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Extra riding units/unit61
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Non rider, per person sharing with rider325
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4single supplement for 4 nights165
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Rider standard room, per person sharing1,165
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Upgrade to luxury room, per person125
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Upgrade to suite pp, per person185
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n42 bedroom home, per person full board (min 4)1,015
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n43 bedroom home, per person full board (min 6)965
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Extra riding units/unit71
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Non rider, per person sharing with rider375
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4single supplement for 4 nights189
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Rider standard room, per person sharing1,315
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Upgrade to luxury room, per person139
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Upgrade to suite pp, per person209
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n42 bedroom home, per person full board (min 4)1,145
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n43 bedroom home, per person full board (min 6)1,089
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Extra riding units/unit80
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Non rider, per person sharing with rider425
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4single supplement for 4 nights215
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Rider standard room, per person sharing12,535
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Upgrade to luxury room, per person1,339
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Upgrade to suite pp, per person1,999
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n42 bedroom home, per person full board (min 4)10,915
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n43 bedroom home, per person full board (min 6)10,409
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Extra riding units/unit759
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4Non rider, per person sharing with rider4,045
2019 5d/4n 5d/4n4single supplement for 4 nights2,025
Wildlife

There are many types of deer in the woods as well as some moose although generally only the first rides will see them. Vermont is on a migration route and many bird species pass through in May and June.

Other Country Information

The USA has 4 main times zones - Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST) and Pacific Standard Time (PST).
Vermont is on EST, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah are all on MST, California is on PST.

Weights and measures are imperial although weight is always expressed in pounds, not stone. The US gallon is 3.8 litres in contrast to an imperial gallon which is 4.2 litres.

Mobile telephone: In 2015 3G is widely available throughout the US in cities, towns, villages and along main highways with AT&T having the best overall coverage and T-mobile offering better speeds in cities. 4G is beginning to be available in cities. There are still a few rural areas which have no GSM reception but do have the older CDMA telephone networks. To be able to call from these areas we recommend buying a cheap Verizon phone from eg Walmart (from $13) and topping up with credit. Almost all hotels and airports offer free wifi connection.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Rutland, VT train station or regional airport or hotel if driving.
Transfer:
We recommend either:
Rental car and drive (3.5hr from Boston); train from New York to Rutland, VT; fly from Boston to Rutland regional airport (RUT).
There is a free pickup from the meeting point for trains or flights with stays of 4 nights or more.
Flight Guide:
Boston (BOS) from £400 return
New York (NYC) from £365 return
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