With the arrival of spring, my thoughts invariably turn to the dune-fringed coastline, wooded hills and idyllic villages of New England. As a British friend once remarked, “In July and August, I can’t imagine why Americans would want to go anywhere else in the world.”
Ultimately, its location is what makes [The Wauwinet] so special. Set on a peninsula between Nantucket Bay and a surf-swept Atlantic beach, the inn is virtually surrounded by water, and the breeze never loses its sea-salt tang. True, the accommodations tend to be on the small side — Bayview Bedrooms #301, #302 and #303 on the third floor are the most desirable — but the public areas are inviting, and the seafood and New American cuisine in Topper’s restaurant are invariably delicious.
Given its Italianate grandeur, describing [Wheatleigh] as an “inn” is stretching the definition just a tad. But as there are just 19 rooms and suites, the designation is perhaps semi-justified. Located in Lenox, Massachusetts, and surrounded by 22 acres of parkland designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the hotel offers second-floor Junior Suites with balconies that afford memorable views of the wooded landscape. In The Dining Room, chef Jeffrey Thompson presents a menu of superb French/ American cuisine. Wheatleigh is just a short walk from Tanglewood.
Centered on a 1795 farmhouse that was Sinclair Lewis’ wedding gift to his wife, Dorothy, [Twin Farms] is a magical Vermont retreat with just 20 distinctive lodgings, surrounded by 300 acres of meadows and woodlands. Chef Ted Ask’s seasonal, locally sourced cuisine is deservedly renowned, as is the 30,000-bottle wine cellar, which contains a collection of Bordeaux dating to 1810. A wonderful spa features signature products from England’s Arcania Apothecary. Personally, I always try to find time for a blissful soak in the 104-degree Japanese furo tub.
Set beside a stream in the charming Vermont village of Warren, The Pitcher Inn has just 11 distinctive accommodations (two of which are two-bedroom suites housed within a barn). My favorite rooms are “Lodge,” “Mountain,” “Trout” and “Ski,” but most feature antique furniture, woodburning fireplaces and Jacuzzi baths. A fine restaurant serves modern American cuisine. The list ofoutdooractivitiesisvirtuallyendless—including skiing at nearby Sugarbush — but as I generally stay in summer, I pack a fly rod with which to pester the local trout.
Just five minutes’ walk from the center of Kennebunkport, Maine, The White Barn Inn offers 26 rooms, suites and cottages with a thoroughly traditional ambience. (The 12 rooms in the Main House are the smallest, while the most lavish accommodations are provided by the recently renovated May’s Cottage.) While I appreciate the inn’s sophisticated comfort, the highlight of my numerous stays has invariably been dinner in the justly acclaimed restaurant. There, the chef presents specialties such as pan-seared day boat scallops with a Port wine reduction, and lobster with homemade fettuccine and cognac butter sauce. The accompanying 27-page wine list is superb.
Illustrations ©Melissa Colson