New England changes slowly . . . sometimes it scarcely seems to change at all. However, luxury tourism has hit the region, and the blue-plate diners and family-owned hotels of old are quietly, inexorably being replaced by upscale inns and resorts. Like it or not, the New England your parents and grandparents knew will never be quite the same again. Following are some new highlights in Vermont.
In Manchester, the Equinox Resort has been sold to a hotel consortium in Connecticut. The resort's dining options may be tinkered with. Check the resort website and my online updates at Frommers.com for any news.
Among the Equinox's early new moves was the acquisition of the 1811 House, formerly one of Vermont's best bed-and-breakfasts. How it will be integrated into the resort concept, however, remains to be seen.
Just a stone's throw away from the growing Equinox empire, the Reluctant Panther (tel. 800/822-2331) has reopened after a devastating fire and is better and more convivial than ever. The inn's main house serves as an excellent replacement to the 1850s-era original (though it's no longer purple, as was its predecessor); rooms have become bigger and better, and the inn restaurant -- always a plus -- has stepped forward into the top ranks of southern Vermont dining.
In the center of the state, the good historical museum (tel. 802/843-1010) in the pretty village of Grafton has just added a new exhibition, featuring local textiles, for the 2008 season.
In northern Vermont, Burlington's overwhelmingly popular Five Spice Café was forced to close after a fire. It's a shame, because this was Vermont's best place for an Asian-fusion meal and one of the only places in northern New England where you could eat dim sum meals. It's rumored around town that the Five Space will reopen in a new location, but nothing has happened yet. Stay tuned.
Also in Burlington, the popular Frog Hollow Gallery (tel. 888/388-3177) has relocated to a more central location; in fact, it's as central as can be -- right on the Church Street Marketplace.