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The Willard Street Inn 3.0

Burlington, Vermont, United States

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Handsome historical building packed with charm
  • Individually decorated rooms adorned with period details
  • Views of the lake and mountains from some rooms
  • Gorgeous breakfast solarium that looks over back garden
  • Excellent free breakfast with local coffee and maple syrup
  • Free freshly baked cookies delivered to rooms
  • Free on-site parking
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • A sloped 20-minute walk to downtown 
  • No elevators and few features (no restaurant or bar)
  • Angles of some ceilings invite head bumps
  • Not all rooms have en-suite bathrooms

Bottom Line

The three-pearl Willard Street Inn serves a heart-warming dose of traditional New England charm in its 14 turn-of-the-20th-century rooms, breakfast solarium, and landscaped back garden, arguably the prettiest in downtown Burlington. The period rooms fit snuggly into the days-of-yore design, with details such as four poster beds, gas fireplaces, antique armoires, and marble-topped tables, all with views of Lake Champlain and the mountains beyond. The neighborhood offers yet more handsome historical houses to enjoy on a stroll, but the not-too-slight incline of the 20-minute walk downtown may challenge anyone with mobility issues or poor footwear. If so, the more central Lang House can supply a similar style, quality, and charm, without the trek. 

   

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Scene

Traditional New England charm wrapped in a pretty bow

This handsome brick Georgian-meets-Queen Anne inn fits in well among the 19th-century manors in Burlington’s neighborhood. It also tells the rags-to-riches story of its builder, Charles Woodhouse, who rose from a lowly bank teller to its president and state senator. Little appears to have changed since, with rooms steadfastly embracing their Old World country ambiance in fabrics and furnishings. The grand lawn out back, possibly the prettiest in Burlington, speaks of Edwardian garden parties and surreptitious kisses under the tree boughs. The only better place to be on a sunny day is perhaps the breakfast solarium that overlooks it all. The vast majority of guests here are couples on romantic getaways delighting in the property's cozy and quiet atmosphere.

Location

A quiet, elegant neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown

Map of The Willard Street Inn

Sloping upwards from the shore of Lake Champlain, Burlington’s neighborhoods are blessed with several former manor houses now largely divvied up between the University of Vermont and Champlain College. At the south end of the “Hill Section,” somewhat outside the general bustle of Burlington, sits the Willard Street Inn. From here, and in fine weather, it’s a charming 20-minute stroll downtown and most of Burlington’s main sights and restaurants. In winter, however, the icy slope on a freezing night can become slippery torture. Church Street Market Place is an 18-minute walk or four-minute drive away. The ECHO Leahy Center with its aquarium and science center is a six-minute drive, and Ethan Allen Homestead is an 11-minute drive. Public transport in the immediate area is limited and impractical for reaching the inn.

Rooms

Antique, period rooms with modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi

Little seems to have changed in the 14 rooms since the 19th century, but in the best possible way. Rooms are individually decorated and vary from unit to unit with details like squeaky wood floors, gas fireplaces, floral print wallpaper, four poster beds, marble bedside tables, and antique armoires -- but they're unified in their rich atmosphere. Some rooms, come with a view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains beyond. Thankfully, the mostly en-suite bathrooms have been updated, but retain a period touch. Most have shower/tub combos, though a few have walk-in showers or shower stalls. Owing to the varying sizes and historical nature of the building, not all rooms come with en-suite bathrooms or tubs, and some ceilings are sloped (a potential bumping hazard for tall guests). All rooms have free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, plush robes, and tiny flat-screen TVs. Irons and ironing boards are provided on request.

Features

A lovely breakfast room serving a generous breakfast, plus free cookies, parking, and Wi-Fi

The peak moment for many staying at the Willard Street Inn is the free breakfast in the marble-floored solarium. Out the many windows is a view of Burlington's prettiest back garden, while organic, locally sourced ingredients (some grown on-site) stuff the scrambles, granola, and waffles on the daily breakfast menu. Rooms receive deliveries of freshly baked cookies, which are also set out next to a free coffee/tea station during the day. Unfortunately, there's no restaurant or bar at the Willard to serve other meals. Other perks include free Wi-Fi and free on-site parking.

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Address

349 South Willard Street, Burlington, Vermont 5401, United States

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