The Equinox Story
A Living Legend, Still Evolving
The Equinox stands as an icon of life in New England over the past two centuries. Steeped in history, The Equinox has been a hotbed for American Revolutionaries, hosted presidents and served guests in one fashion or another since 1769.
Originally known as the Marsh Tavern, it was here that the local Council of Safety held its first meetings and where Ethan Allen’s younger brother, Ira, proposed confiscating the property of Tories to raise money for the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolution. Coincidentally, Marsh House was the first property to be expropriated after its owner, William Marsh, declared his allegiance to the British.
Not long after, Thaddeus Munson purchased Marsh Tavern and operated it as Thaddeus Munson’s New Inn. The Inn changed hands multiple times after that, becoming Widow Black’s Inn, Vanderlip’s Hotel, the Taconic and the Orvis Hotel. Owner Martin Vanderlip added fluted columns to the front of the inn in 1839. Those columns still stand today and have become a trademark of The Equinox.
The 200-room Equinox House, predecessor to The Equinox of today, was established in 1853. The north wing of the inn was the original Orvis family homestead, and its fireplace continues to warm our guests in Chop House restaurant.
During its long history, The Equinox has hosted an array of distinguished guests, including Presidents William Howard Taft, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt—who gave a campaign speech on the front lawn—and Benjamin Harrison, as well as Vice President James S. Sherman.
President Abraham Lincoln's wife visited the Equinox with her two sons during the summer of 1864. She enjoyed her summer so much, she made reservations to visit again the following year with the president. A special suite was constructed in anticipation of the Lincolns’ visit, but the president was assassinated on April 14, 1865. Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, loved the area so much he built his summer estate, Hildene, just down the road.
The 17 structures that form The Equinox showcase six distinct architectural styles and a visual history of construction in the U.S. Though shuttered in 1972, The Equinox experienced a renaissance in the 1980s, reopening as a resort hotel and conference center. The Equinox’s restoration came after years of study, controversy and debate about how to revive the structure without losing the unique qualities that made it a landmark designated as a National Historic Place.
During the restoration, workers uncovered a few of the resort’s secrets, including a previously unknown passageway between two wings, and the old hotel scale, still in working order. It’s hard for us to imagine today, but guests used to weigh themselves after a visit to the resort to show proof they’d gained weight during their stay. You can try that for yourself by stepping on that same scale in our spa.
We’re proud of our connections to U.S. history and the histories of the families that have visited us going back generations. The Equinox has grown into a year-round destination for outdoor explorers, culinary adventurers, culture seekers and history buffs, with accommodations that run from Vermont rustic to pure luxury. Our one-of-a-kind activities and amenities keep our guests coming back, year after year, and we look forward to introducing new generations to our storied traditions.
If only these walls could talk!