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“ok, not great”

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The Pond House Bed and Breakfast
Ranked #1 of 3 Brownsville B&B and Inns
Reviewed 15 December 2010

We stayed in the winter a few years ago with our 3 dogs. Kudos to Gretel for taking in our three newfies. The stay was ok, rooms just ok, food ok.

One thing to keep in mind is that Gretel is a teacher, so if you're there midweek, it's more of a fend for yourself than a B&B.

Also, as at most B&B's, Gretel wants to engage. This is usually fine as we are people people, but found Gretel too forward with her political views. We were guests and on vacation and didn't want to talk politics etc. It wasn't terrible, but we just wanted a getaway etc.

I think that if you have dogs, pond house is a good destination as Gretel is dog friendly. If you want a romantic getaway, you might go elsewhere. The room we stayed in was like staying in the spare room of someones house.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank JaredCulebraVisit108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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15 - 21 of 23 reviews

Reviewed 12 November 2010

The Pond House will be a great place to stay or a disaster depending upon what you want out of an Inn. For a start, it really isn't called the Pond House, but it does have a pond!
If you want a room in a small country farmhouse in a beautiful location with a real character as a hostess who will, when she is not at work, serve up really tasty meals, then this might be the place for you.
If you want many of the things that a modern Inn might offer including contact with the outside world, modern bathrooms and perhaps a dresser for your clothes, then look elsewhere. We enjoyed it as a different experience and enjoyed the company of some interesting fellow guests and our hostess, but as it isn't really what we expected, I would suggest that you know your priorities before booking.

Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
1  Thank AndrewPFolkestone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2009

We have just returned from our semi-annual trip to Vermont and the Pond House Inn.
We have been staying with Gretel on and off for the last 15 years and always enjoy the old and the new. When we read some of the reviews on the Trip Advisor site we were taken aback. This isn’t the bed and breakfast that we know and love. Gretel runs her BB as a cozy country Bed and Breakfast not a city hotel and it is a breath of fresh air; without pretense.
She has added just the right amount of pampering with feather beds, douvets and 600 thread count Italian linens, which some people, not in the know, might mistake as “too soft for Holiday Inn crisp”. I can actually say that the best nights sleep I have ever had were at the Pond House. All of the bathrooms are provided with expansive and thirsty bath sheets and towels and bath accompaniments from the divine organic French Provançal L’Occitane line, which somehow one of the reviewers seems to have missed. Gretel also offers a DVD library \with an international selection of about 30 films, each room is provided with a list and brief summary of each film and guests only need to ask to check one out. There is also wireless and IPod docks.
If her guests would read the review from the “Boston Globe” which is posted on The Pond House site, they would understand what the Pond House aim is: “a mix of city and country that works magic”.
While we visited this year we did have breakfast on our own, a Gretel work day. I couldn’t have asked for a better breakfast with a selection of chocolate, coffee or tea-prosciutto/melon, brie, French bread, homemade apple cranberry walnut pie with cheddar cheese-granola, organic yogurt and juice. It is even posted on her web site that a hot breakfast isn’t offered during the week and $5 is deducted from the rate. I actually enjoyed the weekday breakfast as much as the weekend. It was an interesting and scrumptious alternative.
When we were there one year for a mountain bike race held in Brownsville, all of us had to be out of the house by 5:30. Gretel was up with coffee, yogurt, juice, bananas and Hammer product for us. Gretel, a triathlete, is a true Hammer race products advocate and always willing to spread the word and goodies. Not many hostesses lend this sort of support.
This bed and breakfast is not a Holiday Inn in drag and shouldn’t be mistaken for one.
No, there aren’t TV’s , saunas or polyester. Those who think there should be should think twice about The Pond House. For those who say: “just not quite enough” I ask, what is enough, we love the Pond House and hope that it retains its’ unique mix of city and country charm,


Macy Awad
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled with friends
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3  Thank TorontoMaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2009

We stayed in the Yellow Room, which was quite small, cold and not very clean -- there were many cobwebs in the corners. The bathroom was large but very utilitarian and old, definitely not pretty in any way. There are no TVs in the rooms or common room. If you bring a computer, you can borrow a DVD from Gretel -- I think you need to ask her for the particular DVD because I didn't see them anywhere, which felt a bit distrustful. iPod docks were advertised, as well as wine lists, but our room did not have any. The house is incredibly old, but at a certain point renovations are needed to make a place comfortable if you are charging people to stay there. Overall, the experience felt like staying at old Grandma's house -- nothing ever changes, everything is kind of dingy, and she does just enough to get you to come visit, but nothing more.

Because the house is so old and it is in the country, be prepared for spiders -- I found a GIANT one in the bed... when I was in it! I had to leave for the rest of the day. If we had paid $85 a night I would be fine with the price, but for a total of $225 + tax for 2 nights (total) it was just too much for our tiny budget. When we spend money to stay somewhere, which we rarely do because we don't have a lot, I want to feel relaxed and pampered and I want it to be nicer than my own home, otherwise why did I leave? We don't have cable at home, so when we go somewhere it's nice to have that -- but we had even less at the B&B than we do at home. Thank god for the wireless internet, at least. Overall, I felt scared of spiders and cold. Gretel is incredibly nice and I know she is very busy, and she does the best that she can while working another job. But perhaps she should visit other B&Bs in her price range and do a comparison. It wouldn't hurt to invest in some new comforters, windows and rugs to spruce the place up. Otherwise, prices should be significantly lowered to reflect the lack of amenities.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Jessica G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pondhouse1, owner at The Pond House Bed and Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded 2 November 2009

I was very disappointed to see this review . I get the sense that she isn't aware of our Vermont culture and is looking for a contemporary city hotel or large commercial Inn. We do a very good job of providing a relaxing, cozy atmosphere-like "grandmas house". If she had read our review from the Boston Globe, which is posted on our site, she would have had a better idea of what we are about: feather beds, 600 thread count bedding-that is thin and silky but not in need of replacement, Laura Ashley douvets, L'Occitane ammenities in the bathroom-if I forgot those in her room I do apologize, ten acres of farm and fields with the smell of freshly mown hay upon awakening, a quick dip in our spring fed pond, an afternoon with a book-sitting in one of our Adirondak chairs overlooking one of Vermont's best views-this is Vermont pampering. We don't have TV's but we do have plenty of board games to play by the wood fire or croquet on the lawn. We also provide some modern ammenities including: WiFi for any news or weather updates and IPod docks. There are no allusions to TV's in any of our advertising-this is something that the guests should address before they make reservations. We have a wonderful inventory of DVD's . I don't leave them out because guests do sometime forget to remove them from their computers but, a guest need only ask to check one out. Each room has a list and brief summary of our DVD inventory.
It is clearly posted on our web site that breakfast is expanded continental during the week. The continental breakfast does include-granola, organic yogurt, coffee, tea, prosciutto/melon, brie, french bread and freshly made apple(from our own trees),cranberry, walnut crostata(rustic Italian tart).
There are pictures of our rooms on our web site. When she made her reservation I made it clear that this was the only room available. It clearly shows a small room and our description says that the room is small. She didn't have any reservations about the size of the room at the time.This is the same room that the Boston Globe reviewers had. The room was also freshly painted the week before her visit.
We do turn the heat down at night. I had another couple from Israel who didn't seem happy when the heat was under 80. One persons cold is another persons hot, last Spring we added supplemental heating units to each room.
I am certainly sorry about the spider. The last time I had checked on her she was still in bed working on her computer at about 11 AM, she seemed perfectly happy. I doubt if anyone reading this can say they have never had a spider in their house.

Thank you for baring with me on this but we are a small business that does a good job and is at risk of those guests who don't do their homework. There is usually a reason why innkeepers do the things they do-dont take them personally. To one guest 600 thread count sheets might be sleezy-to another elegant.
Make sure that you are going to an Inn whose mission you understand. We want our guests to be happy-if there is something that you need let the innkeeper know, most of us will do our best to rectify the problem. We cant be all things to all people but we will try to make you comfortable. Lets not bring generica America to Vermont.-we are not a chain. Before you go make sure that you and your destination are on the same wavelength. We are country cozy-not city sleek.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2009

We stayed at the Pond House for 2 nights. It is a small inn, however, our room was quite large. It was clean and well stocked. For the amount of money that we paid, however there was a 'just enough 'approach to most things. The heat was turned on in the evening and turned off at night, making it very cold and uncomfortable. Breakfast was only hot and served on the weekend because the innkeeper has a job during the week. This was very disappointing to my son who really enjoyed the pancakes on Sunday and was hoping to see them again on Monday. The breakfast on Sunday was tasty, but again just enough. There are no offers for seconds or extra of anything. Also, it is only served at one time and if you miss it- too bad. As the innkeeper is very busy, there isn't that much that you can talk and ask her about things to do in the area. If she is there, she is helpful, but she won't make calls or had you information. Whe will point you in a direction, and then you have to run with it. It is a one person shop, so there is no one else to help. All in all, we had a fine stay, but don't expect any frills or great service.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled with family
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Thank RoAmma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2009

We have just returned from a trip to the NE. Unfortunately, the weather was grey and rainy but, in spite of that, we especially enjoyed our stay at The Pond House Inn in Brownsville, Vermont.

The inn is small with three guest rooms. Our room was large and beautifully appointed with an oversized marble shower, thick fluffy towels, feather beds and two comfy reading chairs. They even had wireless and an iPod dock. We had our laptop with us and took advantage of the great inventory of DVDs offered by Gretel, the owner.

Even though it was August, the mornings were wet and chilly. Gretel prepared a wood fire in the dining room and lit candles to cheer and warm us.

Cooking at The Pond House is straightforward and wonderful. One rainy morning, while we enjoyed ourselves by the fireplace, Gretel prepared an Orange French Toast. It was, by far, the best French toast we have ever had. It came with locally smoked bacon, organic yogurt with fresh peaches and blueberries and freshly ground coffee.

We met other guests at the inn who had brought their horses because Gretel can provide stabling. It’s a lovely idea.

In better weather the property has Adirondack chairs, a patio with one of the best country-side views we know, and a spring fed pond that is very inviting on a warm summer day.

This was our third visit and each time we have been delighted with the location, the accommodations, the food and the hospitality. We will definitely return.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mbercaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2009

We recently stayed at the PH Inn in February, and had a pretty good experience. Keep in mind that this was in the middle of winter, and a number of comments will not apply to other seasons. However, for our stay, there were some great things, as well as some serious problems that limited our enjoyment of the long weekend.

Hospitality: We thoroughly enjoyed our interactions with the proprietress, Gretel. She is very intelligent, and had some great insights and opinions on current events. Easy to talk to, and was a wealth of knowledge on local events/restaurants/locations. We brought our 50 pound dog, who was very welcomed by Gretel.

Food: Breakfast was basic, but good. Pancakes, nuts with yogurt, fruit, OJ and coffee on the weekends. Missed out on waffles one morning. The owner holds a separate job during the school week, so only yogurt and fruit and fluids are available on weekdays. The dinner option on Saturdays is pretty good for $50 (for 2 people). Three courses, satisfying, basic home-cooking. Wine and cheeses available in afternoons for separate fee.

Accomodations: This is where we had our biggest problems. In Feb, Vermont is surprisingly cold. However, the radiator was only on for a short amount of time, even with us turning up the controls all the way. It heats up around breakfast time (8am-9am) and supper time (6-8pm), but was otherwise off. I understand that this probably saves a tremendous amount of money, especially if people are out of the inn during the day. Unfortunately, this meant that nights and morning showers are bitterly cold. There is a convenient thermometer by the door, which registered 50-55 degrees overnight and when we woke up. Our poor short-haired dog couldn't sleep because he was shivering too much. We slept by wearing sweaters to bed and throwing on extra blankets. Again, this was only during the winter, and I'm sure the other seasons will bring a different experience. The room itself (we had the pink room upstairs) was very roomy and spacious, but with some dated and threadbare furniture. Excellent reading materials though (including books and current magazines), both in the room and downstairs by the wood-burning stove. There are NO closets, so things to be hung went on hooks attached to the doors. There are plenty of dressers. The bathroom was large as well, with a large glass enclosed shower. Water pressure was average, but the water was satisfyingly hot. We never ran out of hot water while we were there.

Extras: The room did not come with any shampoo/conditioner, so be sure to bring your own. There is a bar of soap provided. No hairdryers. No TV. IPod docks on the alarm clocks, which was fantastic!! Could not test the wireless internet, as it was down the weekend we were there (2/19-22). The location of the inn is fantastic. While it is very isolated by itself, some great towns were accessible within a 15 minute drive. A moderately sized ski resort, Ascutney Mountain, is about 10 minutes away, which made it quite convenient.

Overall, the value was pretty good, given the location of this B&B. Again, hopefully with a different season, the experience would be better.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank hattrick1141
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Pond House Bed and Breakfast

Address: P.O. Box 234, Brownsville, VT 05037-0234
Region: United States > Vermont > Brownsville
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Brownsville
Price Range: £111 - £147 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Pond House Bed and Breakfast 3.5*
Number of rooms: 24
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Also Known As:
The Pond House Bed And Breakfast Vermont/Brownsville

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