History of The Equinox

With over 200 years of history, The Equinox stands as icon of New England lifestyle over the past two centuries. Known in various times as the Marsh Tavern, Thaddeus Munson's New Inn, Widow Black's Inn, Vanderlip's Hotel, The Taconic, The Orvis Hotel, and Equinox House, our 17 structures on property feature six different styles reflecting the changing times. The resort has also served as a hotbed from American revolutionaries and popular visiting spot for four different U.S. presidents.

The Marsh Tavern


It was at the Marsh Tavern that the local Council of Safety held its first meetings and that Ethan Allen’s younger brother, Ira Allen, proposed confiscating the property of Tories to raise money to equip a regiment of the "Green Mountain Boys" during the American Revolution.

Ironically, the first property to be expropriated was the Marsh Tavern itself; its owner, William Marsh, decided the British would win the war and gave his allegiance to the British. When his property was expropriated, Marsh himself fled to Canada.


In 1780 Thaddeus Munson purchased the Marsh Tavern and operated it until he built a new inn next door. Munson's Inn changed ownership three times, with Martin Vanderlip adding the fluted columns to the front of the inn in 1839, which were to become a trademark of the Hotel. The columns still stand, spanning 285 feet across.


The 200-room Equinox House was established in 1853. What is now Chop House was the original Levi Church Orvis homestead. Its homestead fireplace, inscribed "L.C. Orvis 1832", still provides guests with a cozy fire on a cold winter's night.

The north wing is now the "working" part of the Hotel. It encompasses several guest rooms, as well as the Colonnade, lobby, concierge, gift shop, and the present Marsh Tavern, and Chop House.


The Equinox has been visited by four U.S. presidents and one vice president: Presidents William Howard Taft, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt (who gave a campaign speech on the front lawn), Benjamin Harrison, and Vice President James S. Sherman.

President Abraham Lincoln's wife visited The Equinox with her two sons during the summer of 1864 and made reservations to visit again the following year with the President. A special suite was constructed in anticipation of the President's visit, but he was assassinated April 14, 1865. Their son, Robert Todd Lincoln, loved the area so much he built his summer estate, Hildene, just down the road.


Shuttered and falling apart since 1972, The Equinox reopened in 1985 as a resort hotel and conference center. The actual restoration came after years of study and debate about how to revive the structure without losing the unique qualities, which designated it a National Historic Place.

Many secrets were uncovered during the restoration. Workers found a secret passageway between two rooms in different wings of the Hotel. An old scale, which stood in the lobby for guests to prove they had gained weight during their stay, was found to be still in working order. It now resides in the Spa.


In 1991-92 a major reconstruction and restoration of the hotel and golf course was completed. The 18-hole original Walter Travis designed course was updated under the direction of Rees Jones with improvements in the appearance and playability of the hazards and greens. On June 5, 1992, The Equinox reopened its doors, after three months of renovations.

In 1995, the resort reopened the village home of Charles Orvis with suite accommodations. In 2007 the historic 1811 House was added, further increasing the number of guest rooms at the Resort.


Mount Equinox stands directly behind our resort. The name Equinox comes from the fact that the Vermont Surveyor General, Colonel Partridge, reached the summit of the mountain on the autumnal equinox in 1823. Rising over 3,800 feet above the village of Manchester, it is the tallest peak in the Taconic Mountain range. Our Equinox Pond, a 14 acre site, a favorite for wedding events, was used to sell ice for refrigeration back in the 1800’s.

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