Good food, good sleep and the good life are calling.
No, not from Brooklyn. The calling is from a near-but-far away land called Vermont. To take you there, your chariot awaits: The Good Bus. No, this isn’t a PBS special; it’s a retreat at Good Commons.
A general store built in the 1840’s amongst the green mountains, Good Commons is a boutique retreat and vacation spot in Plymouth (right in the middle of Okemo and Killington, for later winter reference). The woman behind the haven, former Broadway dancer Tesha Buss, felt an urgent need to open a center while working as a choreographer there. “There’s this incredible energy in Vermont,” says Buss. “I grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois where it was all flat, and I’m definitely a mountain person.”
The Commons’ “uncommonly good” getaways have guests relaxed from the get go, with round trip transportation on a 24-seat jitney included (and on-the-road treats, too). Retreat activities, while abundant, are optional. “We’re serious about our food, but we’re not serious people,” Buss lilts.
Good Commons’ produce comes from nearby farms, if not the local co-op or distributor sourcing from regional farmers using natural practices. Soon, much of it will be nine-miles-away-local to be exact, plucked from the newly planted Good Farm. As for other delights, expect naturally raised Vermont meats and wild, sustainable Atlantic fish, and a kitchen with no high fructose corn syrup allowed.
Get a taste at this August’s Culinary Immersion retreat from August 2-5, featuring delicious meals and lessons in cooking, baking and cocktail mixing by food historian and blogger Sarah Lohman, and Carrie Hildebrand, former chef and one of the key players in Food Bank’s CookShop nutrition education program. Sprinkle in visits to a local cheese factory and co-op, a picnic and yoga and pilates classes, and you’re in for an uncommonly good weekend.
The Labor Day Wine Food, Wine & Rejuvenation Weekend from August 31 to September 3, balances morning fitness with a healthy dose of artisan cheese, local brews, blues and local treats like maple crème soft-serve. Guests feast on farm fresh dinners with wine pairings by house chef Matthew Wexler and Whole Foods Metro chef April Stamm, and a nightcap cocktail and cordial workshop. Athena Freedlander, the weekend’s liquid leader, likes her winemakers earth-friendly and cocktails à la minute, based on what’s growing in the garden and ripe at the market.
You can also vacation on your own at Good Commons and still eat well by requesting a custom-stocked kitchen and some (or all) meals prepared by chef Wexler. Buss notes that many guests like to dress up for dinner, but keep it bare under the table (feet, that is). “It’s a very home away from home, brunch in jammies atmosphere.”
House image courtesy of Samuel Granado; Garden Salad and Bar Workshop images courtesy of Monica Donovan.