Jim Barnes is the founder and president of The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain. Prior to founding the Hermitage Club, Jim built the largest waste and recycling management company in North America, OAKLEAF Waste Management. While building OAKLEAF, Jim’s customers continued to request expanded facility maintenance solutions, leading to his purchasing what is now FM Facility Maintenance. Today FM is one of the largest Integrated Facility Maintenance companies in North America. In 2013, as chairman and majority shareholder, Jim led FM in a successful merger and now focuses 100% of his time managing The Hermitage Club and Hermitage Properties, including the Hermitage Inn.
Jim also serves as a trustee of Marist College, the Watch Hill Conservancy and is a former director of The Connecticut Science Center and Riverfront Recapture. Since 2009, Jim has served as a national judge for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program and won the National Award for Business Services in 2008. Jim’s companies have received recognition in the INC 500/5000 and INC Inner City 100 a total of 10 times since 2001 and have been featured in Fortune Magazine, INC Magazine, FAST Company, Chain Store Age, Nation’s Restaurant News, Professional Retail Store Maintenance and The Wall Street Journal.
Overall, Jim’s present and former companies have annual revenues over $1 billion and employ more than 1,000 people.
When Jim and his family are not in Vermont, they spend much of their time at the family home in Avon, Conn.
The Hermitage Inn property is uniquely accessible directly from the slopes of Haystack Mountain and includes lift service to the members-only Hermitage Clubhouse and ski slopes. The grounds of the Inn have been thoughtfully improved to embrace the bucolic nature of Vermont, while the Inn, Carriage House and adjacent buildings have been updated to provide all of the creature comforts and elegant details that define the Hermitage experience.
As they cross the covered bridge, guests of the Inn will notice a pasture and barn on the left, where our pair of Percheron horses, Will and Bill, live. Will and Bill are teamed-up throughout the winter for horse-drawn sleigh rides. During the summer they can be seen grazing and relaxing in their stream-side pasture when they aren’t giving tours in our 19th century carriage.
Following the circular driveway up the hill past the carriage house is our trout pond where the entire family can fish for trout or spend a relaxing afternoon at the water’s edge. Fishing supplies are available in the Main House for guests.
The grounds include several flower gardens, trellises, walking paths and stone walls. Behind the Main House is a classic Vermont sugar house, chairlift to Haystack Mountain and a small solar farm that provides power for the Inn and Hermitage properties. From the grounds of the Inn, guests have access to the Valley Trail, which spans much of the Deerfield Valley, and is perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.
Stewardship to Keep Vermont Green
At the Hermitage Inn, we believe that ultimate comfort is the result of responsibilities fulfilled. Thus, our green initiative.
To align our physical infrastructure with our mission of delighting each and every guest, we have renovated and added to the Inn in the most environmentally efficient ways. In doing so, we have significantly reduced our energy budget and carbon footprint.
Some of our most notable efforts include: certified green Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring (details below), thermo-insulated windows, Energy Star lighting and state-of-the-art solar-electric generation. In fact, our solar collectors will, at times, actually turn back the meter and contribute electricity to the local grid. This reduces reliance on carbon-based fuels not only at the Inn, but around Deerfield Valley.
About Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring
Carlisle is a family operation, started in the early 1960s by Dale Carlisle, who made floors by first making friends. Now run by Dale’s son Don, Carlisle remains that way today. Every Carlisle floor is custom, created one board at a time, tailored for each specific customer by skilled New England craftsmen.
As such, it is an authentic representation of an American folk art, a family heirloom to be treasured for generations.
In 1986 the town built an asphalt-covered bridge on Hermitage Road. As part of the original bridge construction, builders included sets of massive bolts with the far-fetched hopes of a wooden cover built sometime in the future. When Jim and Donna Barnes took ownership of the property in 2008, they immediately saw the potential of the bridge and recognized the value it would give not only to their extensive private property, but also to the entire community. They quickly dedicated themselves to the realization of the project and provided all the necessary funding including the permitting, designing and engineering as well as all contractors and materials. With everyone’s hearts fully invested in the project, the wooden bridge came to life in February of 2009.
The Hermitage Road covered bridge embraces the charm of other classic covered bridges throughout the Green Mountain State but marries the charm of history with the advantage of select modern materials. While this bridge gives the initial look, feel, and smell of a brand new piece of construction, it is built in the classic “Town Lattice Truss” style to align with the historical designs of Windham County’s National Register covered bridges. This style revolves around the close, consecutive alignment of diagonal timbers.
The logs are hewn from hemlock and pegged with 1 1/2″ oak dowels. The bridge has been sided with Atlantic white cedar and topped with a standing-seam steel roof to help extend the life and maintenance of the fully customized covered bridge.
The bridge is built above Coldbrook, a classic Vermont trout stream and highly admired brook. On a typical day the brook runs crystal clear and as the name implies is always a bit chilly. Thanks to the double row of exposed lattice on each side of the bridge, there are plenty of openings to admire the flowing Coldbrook from within the structure. Interestingly, if the road-bed of the bridge is ever in need of repair, the bridge is designed and built to be removed in one piece.
Our covered bridge not only enhances the charm of the Inn’s property year-round, but gives visitors, wedding parties and travelers of Handle Road a wonderful opportunity to capture the essence of the Deerfield Valley and Vermont.
Other lattice truss covered bridges in Windham County:
- Scott Bridge – Townshend
- Williamsville Bridge – Newfane
- Green River Bridge – Guilford
- Creamery Bridge – Brattleboro
- West Dummerston’s covered bridge