Tag Archives: bed & breakfast

White Barn Inn & Spa, Kennebunkport, Maine

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Location Kennebunk’s more visited neighbour, Kennebunkport, lies across the Kennebunk River on Maine’s beautiful rocky coastline, just a couple of hours drive north from Boston. It is famously the ancestral home of the political Bush family, who still own an ocean side property at Walker’s Point. The Kennebunks, as the twin villages are known, also includes the Lower Village, and once away from the beaches and coastline, art galleries, restaurants, and craft shops are set in old Colonial buildings, immersing visitors in a traditional New England townscape. All of which is close to the White Barn Inn, which is set on tall tree-lined Beach Road, just a few minutes from the sea.

Lodging Originally, the White Barn Inn’s main building was a farmhouse and its storied restaurant is made up of two barns, which were moved to adjoin the farmhouse. Reputedly the farmhouse has been an inn since the Civil War era, when it was the Boothby Guest House. In 1937, by which time it was known the Forest Hill House, an annex was built, and shortly after more guest rooms were added via the bungalow “Garden Cottages,” and May’s Cottage, a cute standalone suite, which overlooks the outdoor heated pool. The are also two riverside cottages nearby. But in total, there are just 26 rooms. Being Maine, the pool is seasonal, but the inn is year-round, basically, and only closes for a couple of weeks in January. That’s good news because it means the fireplace in the cozy living room can be throughly enjoyed during the colder months. The living room has several couches and a decanter of port and one of brandy are thoughtfully provided for guests to help themselves to. Afternoon “High Tea” is also provided there, as are coffee and teas. White Barn Inn is a Relais et Chateaux member, a luxury hotel collection with a strong culinary focus.

View of a Room: 19 Room 19 is on the second floor of the annex, just across the driveway from the main inn. The large airy room is understated classic, with a fireplace and two wonderfully comfortable armchairs. The king size bed is positioned in front of the TV and a French style dresser. The only other furniture is a desk and chair — giving the room all the necessary comforts while maintaining its spaciousness. The  en suite bathroom is equally grand in size, with a double vanity, a large shower with twin shower heads, separate loo, and an enormous tub. Its marbled floor has radiant heat and, like the bedroom, there is lots of natural light.

Restaurants and Bars The White Barn Inn’s restaurant is widely acclaimed, both for its food and the setting in this subtle, low lit old barn — or rather barns. Created in 1973, it is quite unique. The menu is prix fixe with a choice of a lengthy multi course tasting menu, or a more standard three courses. But with the chef’s wonderful tidbits, including an array of after dinner petit fours, even that option is a full tasting experience. Everything is made in-house and local produce is highlighted — even butter comes from a local dairy. Needless to say, the wine list holds treasures, and cocktails are superbly crafted — enjoy a drink at the cocktail bar, where a pianist plays standards. The expert staff deliver a classic dining experience in an evocative atmosphere. Adjacent to the dining room is the bistro, a more casual a la carte experience, where breakfast is served. In the summer, tables are set up on its porch. There is also a wine cellar where private dining can be arranged.

Info The White Barn Inn & Spa, 37 Beach Rd., Kennebunkport, Maine 04046. 207-967-2321. http://www.whitebarninn.com

Photo credit: Hotel Junkie

The Snowvillage Inn, New Hampshire, USA

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Location New Hampshire’s Snowvillage Inn is situated in woodland at the foot of Foss Mountain, just outside the village of Eaton. The inn’s location was formerly known as Snowville, which was eventually incorporated into Eaton. Set in the eastern White Mountains, Eaton isn’t far from the Maine border, and Portsmouth is less than an hour’s drive on Route 16. Because of its accessibility to Maine and New Hampshire, and to the mountains and the coast, the Snowvillage Inn is a perfect base for extensive New England explorations.

Snowvillage Chimney House lounge

Lodging Built as a summer home in 1916 by Frank Simonds, a Pulitzer Prize winning author known primarily for his five-volume history of World War I, Snowvillage Inn has operated as an inn since 1948. Despite its name, the inn is open year-round and has access to a nearby private beach. Still, the huge old fireplace in the lobby and the in-room fireplaces make it particularly cozy in winter, when guests are more likely to make use of the snowshoeing trails than anything that calls for a swimsuit. The lobby is a highly social spot to relax. There are couches, books, and games for guests’ use.

Snowvillage Bedroom

View of a Room: 16 Room 16 is in the Chimney House, just across the driveway from the main inn. The Chimney House has a large lobby with a fireplace and couch, and coffee maker. Room 16 is spacious and has its own gas fireplace and a grand queen bed fir for the princess and her pea. There are chairs and an en suite bathroom.

Snowvillage Bar

 Restaurants and Bars A full country breakfast is served each morning in the lobby area from 8-9:30 a.m., and is included in the room rate. Max’s restaurant, the main dining room, is open from 5:30-9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Hotel Junkie recommends trying Max’s. Chef Brian Anderson’s recent winter menu  included spicy “drunken” green lipped mussels steamed in a curry broth with chili and ale; giant ravioli stuffed with ricotta and porcinis, and tossed with sautéed veggies; and Moroccan spiced lamb chops accompanied by falafel. The bar, which is in the lobby, is a wonderful perch for drinks or a casual meal.

Tech WiFi is easily accessed throughout for a fee. To the horror of some guests, there are no televisions in the public spaces or rooms. It’s so refreshing to get away from the tube; get over it.

Info The Snowvillage Inn. 136 Stewart Rd., Eaton, NH. 603-447-2818. http://www.snowvillageinn-whitemountains.com

 

Photo credit: Hotel Junkie

The Inn on Golden Pond, Holderness, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

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Location New Hampshire’s Lakes District is dominated by majestic Lake Winnipesaukee, which is bordered by small towns and includes Weirs Beach, a popular destination with all the old school trappings of a summer vacation: bars and amusement arcades; families and gaggles of youngsters on the prowl for fun.  But Squam Lakes, just several miles from Winnipesauke’s northern edge, is a more genteel and rural New Hampshire experience. That’s certainly true of Holderness, the town where The Inn on Golden Pond is situated. The inn’s name refers to the Henry and Jane Fonda starring movie “On Golden Pond,” which was filmed on the lakes. It also starred that grand New England dame, Katherine Hepburn, of course. Route 3 runs between the inn and the lake, a noisy barrier perhaps, but one that offers easy access to surrounding towns such as quaint Ashland and more commercial Meredith. Nearby is the Squam Lake Loon Society, part of the Audubon network, and the Science Center, which offers boat tours on the lake. As any local will tell you, that’s a must-do, as is a hike up Rattlesnake Mountain for terrific views. For winter sports and skiing, Waterville Valley and Loon Mountain are 30 minutes drive north.

The Hotel The building that houses the Inn on Golden Pond was built in 1879,  originally as a private home, but later in its history, rooms were rented and it was known as The Catalpas. But even before that a farm was originally situated on the property.  To the rear of the house is 50 acres of beautiful undeveloped woodland. Extensive trimmed lawns immediately surround the property and a few Adirondack chairs provide a place to pause. A screened – quite essential! – porch wraps around the front of the white clapboard Colonial style house and provides a nice place to sit and relax. The inn is quite large with eight rooms, each named for a particular native animal, which roams the woodland and the lake: There’s Raccoon’s Retreat, Goose Gulley, and the Bear’s Den, which is one of two suites. Creaking old pine boards notwithstanding, the building shows its age well, and is bright and airy with lots of natural light. On the ground floor, there’s a lovely sitting room with comfy couches, board games, and lots of reading matter, including notes on the house’s history. A small TV room is available too, as well as an office with a computer. Not all rooms have TV – but you won’t miss it. The woodland view from the inn’s windows is a more worthwhile reality show. In the afternoon, Woody the woodchuck can be seen on the lawn. Occasionally, the odd black bear will wander down, but that’s unlikely if people are around.  Otherwise, the inn is not pet friendly.

Restaurants and Bars The inn doesn’t have a restaurant, but the breakfast room is spacious and airy with windows overlooking Woody’s lawn. A hummingbird feeder hanging outside the picture window attracts those fluttering miracles. The home cooked breakfast can include anything from apple fritters to ham and Swiss cheese quiche to rhubarb coffee cake. Cereals, organic yogurts, homemade bread for toasting, and fresh fruit accompany it. (Jars and bottles of the inn’s jams and other goodies are for sale.) There’s a communal fridge in the dining room, which is thoughtfully provided for guest’s restaurant leftovers, drinks, or snacks. There’s ice too. A pod coffee and tea maker is available throughout the day.

Nearby are plenty of great places to eat, including the Inn Kitchen + Bar at The Squam Lake Inn, which is both locavore and seasonal. In Sandwich, about 15 miles away, the Corner House Inn’s pub is a cozy, traditional New England bar with local New Hampshire beers and good casual dining. The reasonably priced Common Man in Ashland has an amazing upstairs lounge and deck. Note: restaurants tend to close early in the area.

Fitness rooms, pools, and spas There is no fitness room or pool. But there is the aforementioned 50 acres of woodland to hike right on site and plenty more hiking nearby. Ticks and other bugs call the woodland home. And what about a swim in that lake? It’s somewhat invigorating outside of high summer, that’s for sure. Canoeing and kayaking is available nearby at the Squam Lakes Association, too. In winter, there’s cross-country skiing on the lake.

The nearby Manor on Golden Pond hotel has a tranquil spa.

Tech Excellent WiFi is available throughout the inn.

Highs Nature is right beside and all around you. So is comfort, including evening turn-down service.

Lows Bugs in the summer months are annoying. But that’s New England’s low point rather than the inn’s! No immediate view of Squam Lakes.

Useful websites Golden Pond Tours Experience Squam  Squam Lakes Association  Inn Kitchen + Bar at The Squam Lake Inn  Corner House Inn  Common Man Manor on Golden Pond

Rating

Design +++ Rooms ++++ Food +++ Courtesy ++++ Location ++++

Info Inn on Golden Pond, 1080 Route 3, Holderness, NH.  03245. U.S.A.

603-968-7269. 4545. innkeepers@innongoldenpond.com.

innongoldenpond.com

Photo credit: Hotel Junkie