Elizabeth Clarke

Fall 2017

Two hands rolling out dough with a wooden rolling pin on a wooden table covered in flour.
Photo by Dilyara Garifullina on Unsplash

Vermont is known for being home to all sorts of unexpected and unique characters. From national sensation Bernie Sanders to the jam-band geniuses of Phish, the Green Mountains have always been a refuge from the more fast-paced, industrialized and conservative states. If you dig beneath the surface, you’re likely to find some incredibly tenacious and triumphant people almost everywhere you look.

As a Bernie supporter and Phish fan herself, New York native Danielle Bassignani found herself at ease in Vermont after accepting a full ride to the University of Vermont eight years ago. Although she successfully acclimated to life across state lines, she didn’t let herself get too comfortable. Instead, she conquered one challenge after another, ultimately becoming a certified engineer, assistant innkeeper at a bed and breakfast, cook, cat mom and more by the time she turned 26 years old.

Her key to success? “Getting a solid eight to ten hours of sleep every night, and keeping a positive attitude,” Danielle grins. The only thing getting in between Danielle and her sleep is her precious cat Newton, who she has been taking care of since 2013. That same year she became the assistant innkeeper at Lang House on Main Street in Burlington, VT after graduating from UVM with a degree in engineering.

Some may question why she decided to continue working at an inn even though she had an engineering degree, but Danielle saw it as a perfect opportunity to continue her education. She was able to gain hands-on experience in the hospitality industry — leading her to conquer yet another field of work and grow both professionally and personally.

As assistant innkeeper, Danielle manages and schedules a staff of at least eight employees, programs room rates and availability, accounts daily room revenue and ensures Lang House upholds and exceeds industry standards. After the full-time chef quit, Danielle stepped up and began planning and cooking breakfast for up to 26 guests, without having any formal culinary training.

Day after day, Danielle helps to create dishes that consistently warrant praise and compliments — even inquiries on her (non-existent) professional instruction. While these are some of her most prominent duties, Danielle is also the go-to woman to resolve any problem or question that may come up at the inn.

“Thank you for breakfast, it was wonderful!” exclaims a guest as they pass by the kitchen.

“No, thank YOU, it was my pleasure!” Danielle replies, always looking up from whatever mixing, sautéing or flipping she’s in the middle of to make eye contact and smile, a simple way to ensure satisfied customers.

Even though she has accomplished so much so young, Danielle doesn’t plan on idling anytime soon. Up next? Purchasing (and possibly designing) her first house and accumulating many more animals. She knows staying happy and healthy will allow her to accomplish anything she sets her mind to and she’s proof that you can do it as well.