History

When Nobel prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis proposed to journalist Dorothy Thompson, she promised to marry him if he bought her a farm in Vermont with sweeping lawns, orchards, and “delicious air.” They found their idyll in a 1795-era farmhouse on 300 acres — all of which they purchased in 1928 for $10,000.

In various seasons over the next 30 years, they created and entertained at Twin Farms. Their guest list included political and literary figures who lingered for provocative discussions, outdoor activities, and the opportunity to attend the couple’s legendary parties.

Dorothy kept Twin Farms until she was no longer physically able to live here. As she grew frail, her family sold off parcels of the land, completing the final transaction in 1958. Subsequently, Twin Farms changed hands several times. It operated as Sonnenberg Haus, an inn with a reputation for fine dining, when Thurston Twigg-Smith acquired the property as a second home for his family in 1974.

By the late 1980s, the Twigg-Smiths found themselves able to visit Barnard only a few weeks a year, so they decided to launch a Bed and Breakfast to share this special place — a quaint notion that soon escalated to the number one small hotel in North America.

The first nine rooms opened on October 1, 1993 to national acclaim. Five additional cottages were added in 1995 and 1996, and more accolades followed. The completion of spa treatment rooms, Chalet, Aviary, and the Farmhouse at Copper Hill in 2005 brought the number of accommodations to 20, where it remains today. Though the ownership now includes several partners, guests continue to embrace Twin Farms —and Twigg-Smith’s vision of a sophisticated escape steeped in playful romance — as their own second home.