Five Favorite New England Inns
Meals are served family-style, and Beth makes everything from scratch. On one summer evening, a dozen guests plus family sat down to roast turkey, zucchini casserole, salads fresh from the garden, pumpkin muffins, and just-picked sweet corn. After the main course, kids disappeared and adults lingered over blueberry pie with homemade raspberry ice cream.
This rambling, 1825 clapboard farmhouse has seven guestrooms that accommodate visitors in numerous ways. From rockers on the porch you can hear the gurgle of the White River, good for trout fishing as well as swimming. A portion of the farm’s 230 acres also runs straight uphill, into Green Mountain National Forest, connecting with trails for mountain biking and hiking. This valley alone once held 40 dairy farms, but Liberty Hill is now the last. As for the warmth of the “farm hospitality” extended here, it’s as prodigious as Beth’s cooking, hard to believe.
A Sense of Harmony
Guest House at Field Farm
554 Sloan Road
In Williamstown, Massachusetts, first impressions of the flat-roofed Guest House at Field Farm are underwhelming. Then you step through the front door and see Mount Greylock. The high, wide-shouldered mountain is framed in multiple picture windows, and, instead of competing, the uncluttered rooms — furnished in gleaming 1950s chrome, solid colors, and glowing wood — complement the view.
“In a lot of places you’re not allowed to sit in anything by these designers,” innkeeper Ole Retlev tells me, waving at chairs by Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner. The fluid glass-topped coffee table is by Isamu Noguchi, the couch by Vladimir Kagan, and that’s an original Eames chair.
This “modernist” house, with its many windows and decks, heated floors, and recessed lighting, was designed in 1948 by Edwin Goodell Jr. as a home for Lawrence Bloedel and his wife, Eleanor. A 1923 Williams College graduate and heir to a Pacific Northwest lumber fortune, Bloedel lived here quietly, devoting himself to collecting American art, including works by Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keefe, and Marsden Hartley, and to designing and building much of the furniture in his house.
Lawrence Bloedel died in 1976; upon Eleanor’s death in 1984, their art collection was divided between New York’s Whitney Museum and the Williams College Museum of Art, which in addition acquired the sculptures positioned around the house and along the path to the swimming pool. Williams College also owns some of the paintings hanging in this house and in “The Folly,” a modernist glass-and-shingle masterpiece (formerly a guesthouse) designed by Ulrich Franzen, by the pond.
Field Farm was bequeathed to the Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit conservation group whose mission is to preserve parcels of land “which possess uncommon beauty and more than refreshing power,” much as an art museum holds pictures. Now 316 acres, the Field Farm reservation includes fields and meadows, woods, marshland, and an unusual area in which streams disappear into limestone caves. Its four miles of walking trails are open to the public.
The initial plan was to raze the house. Luckily David and Judy Loomis, who had meticulously restored Williamstown’s 18th-century River Bend Farm as a bed-and-breakfast, suggested a similar use for Field Farm. And now that the 1950s are historic, the era’s architecture and craftsmanship command new respect. Guests at Field Farm understand why. The five bedrooms, some with fireplaces and decks, are furnished with the same care and detail as are the common spaces. There’s a sense of harmony, inside and out.
The Best View Around
The Claremont Hotel
22 Claremont Road
Southwest Harbor, ME