MIDDLEBURY - A group of Vermont's finest country inns and bed and breakfasts are offering free stays this winter to members of the Vermont National Guard, who are returning home from a one-year tour of duty in Afghanistan.
The 18 inns are members of Select Registry, Distinguished Inns of North America - which represents top-quality inns in the United States and Canada.
Nearly 1,500 Vermont National Guard soldiers are returning home from Afghanistan after participating in the Vermont Guard's largest mobilization since World War II. The first soldiers returned home before Thanksgiving, and the rest are expected home by Christmas.
The Vermont Select Registry inns are offering a free one-night stay to any returning Guard member during the months of January, February and March 2011; the offer applies to stays on Sunday through Thursday nights.
The offer was organized by Dan Brown, co-owner with his wife Michele of the Swift House Inn in Middlebury. Brown, a retired Navy pilot and father of a son currently serving in the Mid East, said he wanted to do something to recognize the contributions Guard members have made to the country, and to honor the sacrifices they have made.
"These fine men and women have endured incredible circumstances that most Americans can't even imagine," Brown said. "My fellow innkeepers and I wanted to do something to recognize their service and tell them, in a heartfelt way, 'Welcome home.' "
Guard Members wanting to take advantage of the offer need only to contact one of the participating inns. A list, including telephone numbers and web site addresses, is attached.
Vermont Select Registry Inns participating in Welcome Home Vermont Guard:
• Swift House Inn, Middlebury, 388-9925, www.swifthouseinn.com
• Lang House, Burlington, 652-2500, www.langhouse.com
• Stone Hill Inn, Stowe, 253-6282, www.stonehillinn.com
• Rabbit Hill Inn, Lower Waterford, 748-5168, www.rabbithillinn.com
• The Inn at Round Barn Farm, Waitsfield, 496-2276, www.theroundbarn.com
• West Hill House Bed & Breakfast, Warren, 496-7162, www.westhillbb.com
• The Maple Leaf Inn, Barnard, 234-5342, www.mapleleafinn.com
• Fox Creek Inn, Chittenden, 483-6213, www.foxcreekinn.com
• Crisanver House, Shrewsbury, 492-3589, www.crisanver.com
• The Governor's Inn, Ludlow, 228-8830, www.thegovernorsinn.com
• Hermitage Inn, West Dover, 464-3511, www.hermitageinn.com
• Barrows House, Dorset, 867-4455, www.barrowshouse.com
• The Inn at Ormsby Hill, Manchester, 362-1163, www.ormsbyhill.com
• Inn at Manchester, Manchester Village, 362-1793, www.innatmanchester.com
• West Mountain Inn, Arlington, 375-6516, www.westmountaininn.com
• Three Mountain Inn, Jamaica, 874-4140, www.threemountaininn.com
• Four Columns Inn, Newfane, 365-7713, www.fourcolumnsinn.com
• Deerhill Inn, West Dover, 464-3100, www.deerhill.com