Nov 19, 2013 02:25:43PM MST
New management team expands services at Inn at Sawmill Farm
By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff Brattleboro Reformer
WEST DOVER -- As the new general manager, Marco Tallini is constantly looking for ways to expand services that the Inn at Sawmill Farm provides its visitors. For years, the inn had been known as a high-end destination. But now, there is a more casual atmosphere, where guests no longer feel required to wear a suit and tie at dinner. "We're a country inn with elegant rooms, elegant ambiance but people can still be casual and laid back at the same time," said Tallini.
Located off Route 100 at 7 Crosstown Road in West Dover, the inn has 28 acres of grounds, which are
used for weddings, group gatherings and business meetings throughout the year. Celebrities, such as talk show host Oprah and actor Paul Newman, have been guests. In September, its grounds were used for a screening venue at the Independent Television and Film Festival. The inn's owners were asked to be part of next year's festival, too.
A wedding planner had approached the inn's staff about hosting a wedding for a woman who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. The national organization Wish Upon a Wedding had received a request for the event. The woman had always wanted a wedding in Vermont.
"It was nice to be able to do something nice for somebody," said previous general manager Philip Waller.
"Everybody enjoyed that day."
In June, Tallini took over the position as general manager. He had grown up in the restaurant business. His family first owned a French restaurant in the North Shore of Long Island then opened an Italian restaurant. For nearly two decades, Tallini worked in the corporate arena before ultimately deciding to move his family up to Vermont. Waller approached him about the position after collaborating with Tallini, who was working in the property management field.
The duo continues to think ahead in regards to keeping the inn and property in good condition. The building itself has been around for nearly 100 years. "We have been heavily engaged on the physical aspect of the building property," said Tallini. "Our guests are seeing that. They are very happy with the way things are looking."
The dining section known as Nonna's Italian Restaurant features classic dishes that vary from Northern
Italian to Southern Italian and depend upon the season. The inn's chef Jeff Collins has been actively assisting with updating the menu. Tallini told the Reformer that since the summer, the restaurant has offered more farm to table choices. "We're buying meat and produce from local vendors," said Tallini. "We're going to be buying free range
chickens for this season." He also has been in discussions with local artisans such as Cynthia Cohen about offering local products in the gift shop. There has also been talk about holding various workshops and classes in the building.
In November then again during mud season, the Inn at Sawmill Farms closes to the public. Some general grounds keeping and housekeeping is conducted before the doors are opened again. When it reopens for the ski season, there will be a winter menu, a new Sunday brunch and various apres ski activities. All of which are open to the public, not just guests. The inn also holds a New Year's Gala, with musical performances and Jay the Magician. "We have a lot of repeat winter guests we're seeing," said Tallini. "We're looking at ways of increasing our visibility as a destination." He mentioned that this summer, the inn had seen a surge of visitors, which he attributes to people recognizing the amount of activities that go on after the ski slopes close. "People are starting to realize how beautiful a place it is for the summer," said Tallini.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris onTwitter @CMaysReformer