Do What Makes You Happy
Amie Emmons recounts West Mountain Inn ’ s colorful history : The main house was built in 1809 and the land was used as a sheep farm . From 1880 to 1920 , a gristmill , then a lumber mill , and later a marble mill were operated on the Battenkill River at the foot of the mountain . Then at the turn of the century , the property was transformed into a summer estate and then an arts retreat center .
In 1976 , Wes and MaryAnn Carlson — Amie ’ s parents — visited friends at the retreat and were so swept away that they bought the 150-acre site and turned it into the West Mountain Inn two years later . Overlooking the Battenkill Valley , the classic country inn with 17 rooms and a full restaurant sits high on a mountain with a long driveway and long views .
“ It ’ s your classic Vermont experience ,” says Amie , who not only owns the inn with her husband Kevin , but is also the inn ’ s wedding coordinator . On the cusp of the busy wedding season , which stretches through the summer and well into the fall , the inn ’ s calendar is already filling up ( and booking into next year !) It averages around 30 weddings annually , accounting for half of its total revenues . “ We do the food , the bar , the setup , the staffing , so a lot of the wedding is under my control ,” says Amie . “ I work with couples all year long on their wedding planning .”
Amie and Kevin met in Durham , North Carolina , where they both attended Duke University . Amie was a freshman ; Kevin was her math tutor . “ He would hold study sessions ,” recalls Amie . “ First there were a couple students , and then at the end it was only me . There wasn ’ t a lot of math getting done .”
After graduating in 1989 , Amie joined Kevin in Washington , D . C ., and they later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area . Although they were married at the West Mountain Inn in Arlington on August 13 , 1994 , they didn ’ t move there until four years later . Amie did the planning from afar with a lot of help from Paula Maynard , who was then the inn ’ s GM and wedding planner . “ She was super excited about weddings ,” says Amie . Paula encouraged Nancy Bishop in Arlington to be a floral designer , and Nancy did all the flower arrangements for Amie ’ s wedding .
“ I would send pictures of things I liked — the girls ’ dresses , for example — and Paula and Nancy would pick the flowers . We were married in front of the garden . Dinner was in the dining room , and we danced in the barn . We had maybe 100 people . It was a great event ; people flew in from everywhere and filled the inn .”
From her own experience , Amie has some advice for those planning remotely for that special day . Looking back , she wishes that she would have flown in a week earlier . “ I flew in to the party practically ,” says Amie . “ I
arrived only a day or two before . It was BOOM , arrive , and BOOM , the wedding begins .
“ Parts of the wedding I didn ’ t enjoy as much were the parts I didn ’ t delegate . But overall , it was such a joyous occasion . The thing I remember is my family and friends - and celebrating with them . All the little things weren ’ t that important at the end . At the time , they seemed really important . So , I wish I had delegated more and flown in earlier . Also , make sure that you schedule the makeup person last . Once the lipstick goes on , you can ’ t do anything .” And that includes eating .
Amie , who grew up living and working at West Mountain Inn , took over the inn ’ s responsibilities from her parents in 2000 . Amie lives in her childhood home on the property with her husband and their 15-year-old son , Owen .
Amie ’ s most valuable tip ?
“ Don ’ t be stressed by what other people are doing ,” says Amie . “ You just do what makes you comfortable and happy . If just showing up for the weekend and hanging out with family and friends is what you want to do , then that is perfect .” manchester life magazine 2021 65