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Side Dishes: A Northeast Kingdom inn reigns

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According to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, the best place to stay in the United States is right here in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The August issue announces the results of the ’zine’s 14th annual survey of the world’s top hotels, and the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford is 52nd on the list. No other American property scored better.

Rabbit Hill’s rank as a luxury travel destination may have little to do with its efforts to help the disadvantaged unwind, but they’re notable anyway. Every month since April, owners Leslie and Brian Mulcahy have given away a free two-night stay — including breakfast, afternoon tea and one gourmet dinner — to a couple who has been suffering because of the recession.

Folks unemployed for at least six months can enter the “Pink Slip Getaway” giveaway by pouring their hearts out in an email or letter. The best story each month wins a prize. The goal, according to the inn’s website, is to convert unemployment to “funemployment.”

The program has been so popular that the Mulcahys plan to extend the monthly giveaways — originally intended to end this December — to April 2010.

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