Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker is a local hallmark of the holiday season. (Sort of like our annual eggnog-induced emotional breakdowns, though those tend to garner fewer glowing reviews from audiences.) This year, the production gets its first makeover in decades — but company soloist John Lam, at least, clearly retains a fondness for tradition. On free weekends, Lam and his husband, real-estate lawyer John Ruggieri, retreat from their modern city condo to a rustic log home in Barnard, Vermont, to snowmobile, hike, and entertain friends and family amid 10 acres of rolling green hills. “It’s the quintessential New England experience,” says Ruggieri. We danced on by for a visit.
A. "Vermont is a place we both fell in love with," says Lam. And what's more romantic than a grand stone fireplace stretching to an 18-foot ceiling? (The sunken hot tub on the deck, maybe.) The area is so meaningful to the couple that they married on a nearby estate and built their registry with locally based glassblower Simon Pearce.
B. This great room, where the couple frequently entertain, boasts a well-stocked wet bar. Always on hand: fine red wine, single-malt Scotch, and quality vodka for cosmopolitans (plus San Pellegrino for non-drinker Lam). The home's name, Stonewall Lodge, alludes to the NYC bar that birthed the modern gay-rights movement — and also to, well, a lot of stone walls nearby.
C. Nearly all the handsome furnishings were passed down by Ruggieri's family or discovered during the pair's frequent antiquing excursions. (Antiques Collaborative in nearby Quechee, Vermont, is a favorite.) Their finds include this saddle, a nod to their dream of eventually raising horses here. Brave party guests have been known to mount it on occasion.D. You'll likely hear this player piano tinkling during the holidays. It's tradition for the couple to host as many as 20 family members for Thanksgiving dinner in this room. Adjacent is a tricked-out kitchen where Lam, an avid home chef, gets to indulge his non-dancing passion all year round.
E. This painting of a lion is by Ruggieri's mother, Connie. Her work also hangs in Bentley's, a landmark restaurant in artsy Woodstock, Vermont, where the pair often browse galleries. Speaking of family ties, their other favorite pieces are originals by Mara Abboud, sister to famous Boston-born menswear designer Joseph Abboud.
: Lifestyle Features
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