New England's Best Historic Inns
Guests are invited to walk or snowshoe up the hill behind the inn–past the cows, cashmere goats, pigs, and four-story red barn–up to the hilltop meadow, with its view down the valley. Breakfast features eggs from the farm’s chickens.
Thanksgiving weekend is a big event here, with open studios on both sides of the Connecticut River, sponsored by the Walpole Artisans Cooperative (details at walpoleartisans.org/tour.html). The village also offers destination dining at L. A. Burdick’s bistro and chocolate shop.
THREE MOUNTAIN INN
Standing as it does on Route 30 in the middle of Jamaica, Vermont, it’s likely that the Three Mountain Inn has taken in travelers since the 1790s. Certainly the inn’s Old Keeping Room looks the part. There’s a large continuously lit hearth, deeply hued 22-inch wide-pine paneling, and a cozy corner bar. There’s also pottery, multicolored glass, and rustic furniture, all made by craftspeople working within steps of the inn. Many of the striking paintings throughout the common rooms are from the Elaine Beckwith Gallery on the northern edge of the village.
Two small, elegant dining rooms with working fireplaces are the setting for innkeeper Ed Dorta-Duque’s four-course prix-fixe dinners and sumptuous breakfasts. Guestrooms, many with gas fireplaces, are divided between the original inn and neighboring Robinson House. In the garden there’s also luxurious Sage Cottage.
From the highway, Jamaica flies by in an instant–yet it lingers as you browse its shops or follow the road from the back door down across the West River to the hiking and cross-country ski trails in Jamaica State Park. On Thanksgiving weekend, nearby Putney hosts one of New England’s standout open-studio tours (details at putneycrafts.com), and in December ski trails open up on Stratton Mountain, just 10 miles distant.
HENRY FARM INN
There’s an out-in-the-country feel to the Henry Farm Inn in Chester, Vermont. Now a B&B, it was built in the late 1700s as a stagecoach stop on the Green Mountain Turnpike, today a quiet road on the edge of town. Inside there’s a warm welcome from hosts Patricia and Paul Dexter and a fire in the guest parlor.
This is a central-hall Federal home with a spacious feel throughout. It retains its wide-pine floorboards and original paneling. The nine sunny guestrooms include two on the first floor plus second-floor suites with kitchen/sitting rooms, good for families. All rooms are furnished tastefully with historic wallpapers and comfortable antiques. What you notice are the quilts and the views. After a full breakfast in the fireplaced dining room, guests may work it off skiing or snowshoeing out the back door and up around through the woods and meadow. And for old-time holiday revelry, Chester’s “Overture to Christmas” (December 10 this year) can’t be beat (details at yourplaceinvermont.com).
See a slide show and a list of additional top historic New England inns.