My snowy Shangri-La

love-opera-victoria-bakerWhen I was a little girl I loved to read the Arabian Knight’s Tales. I was fascinated by Ali Baba and his Forty Thieves so much that I would stand in front of doors saying “Open Sesame” waiting to be transported to a world where all things were possible.

My other favorite was Aladdin and his three wishes. I wondered what I would ask for if I had a magical genie. But of course, as we grow up we learn to draw an impenetrable line between fact and fiction, a line that is never crossed except maybe at Christmas.

Last year I decided to have a little pre-Christmas celebration that may inspire your own when Christmas 2014 rolls around. For the longest time I’d heard about a place up in Vermont where all things are possible. They call this snowy Shangri-La “Twin Farms” — — A Relais & Chateaux, all-inclusive experience that defies the generic description of hotel.

It’s 300 acres nestled deep within the Vermont countryside where all your problems melt away, warmed by the sound of roaring fireplaces and the cheerful disposition of a staff so friendly you wonder they weren’t handpicked from among Santa’s magical crew.

I was feeling a little down and let’s just say my spirit needed a little restoring as I got on the plane. When I arrived and took a deep breath of that fresh Vermont air I felt revived. As we drove up to the simple Twin Farms gate, I marveled at how the most beautiful places are often the ones hidden behind an unassuming façade. Hidden, but in plain view, like a real oasis.

As I arrived at my picture perfect cottage, I was told guests could dial 125 for all their needs no matter how outlandish. Would I like a drink? Something to eat? More logs for the fire? Need help orchestrating a surprise for that special someone? 125 was my Aladdin’s genie, except he didn’t grant just three wishes but as many as I could dream of. What a magical place this would be to bring the whole family next Christmas.

There are no menus at Twin Farms. You are asked to fill out a form indicating your food preferences and they create a meal for you. Dining is an art form here, the kind that restores your soul.

The next morning I felt revived, eager to enjoy the snow. The snow wasn’t thick enough for skiing but perfect for sledding. Can you believe I’d never been sledding before? Was it childish to start now? Could I make it to the bottom of the very steep hill unscathed?

Ah, but that’s a new adventure I’ll save to regale you with next time…

 Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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