We’ve enjoyed doing some fun blogging about different itineraries among the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England. We started with one story about our most historic inns, and continued to a story about our more Southern inns and then a Maine Coastal itinerary too. Today we’re heading North from the more southern parts of DINE country to New Hampshire and Vermont and focusing in on two inns where food is a highlight.
While all DINE member inns serve up fabulous food for breakfast and some also offer dinner too, the Manor on Golden Pond and the Rabbit Hill Inn offer an ideal itinerary for those who define a great vacation by fab food. Close to one another, an itinerary that includes Rabbit Hill Inn and Manor On Golden Pond offers foodies specialized classes, fun food tours and the chance to sample exquisite dining in both of the inns’ dining rooms too. Both Manor on Golden Pond and Rabbit Hill Inn offer four diamond dining, afternoon tea, very special breakfasts and unique food activities and experiences.
If you’re coming from Boston, you’ll want to start your itinerary at the Manor On Golden Pond in Holderness, NH. Take I-93 North to Route 3S/NH-25 right into Holderness. Overlooking Squam Lake, made famous by the film On Golden Pond, this inn could easily be mistaken for a beautiful country manor house from the moment one drives up the driveway. The rich wood, grand and welcoming living room, and library are reminiscent of a stately British manor house. The food fun starts at 4:00pm when a complimentary afternoon tea is served with scones and other sweet treats for all guests. From there, move to the Three Cocks Pub, named for the collection of roosters which adorn copper bar and walls. Whether it’s a special martini, a fine cognac or port, or a glass of wine a full selection of just what you need to start relaxing on your foodie vacation here.
Next, it’s on to the Van Horn Dining Room. In the winter a roaring fire welcomes you with flickering light. Any time of year, fine linens, fresh flower and candlelight set the mood here. You’ll dine leisurely, lingering over the evening’s offerings, accompanied by an outstanding bottle of wine from the extensive Wine Spectator list of worldwide vintages if you wish. From appetizers to desserts, each dish is as beautifully prepared and presented as it tastes. By special request, the chef even offers a Vegan Chef’s Tasting menu. Dinner options are a la carte, allowing for plenty of different pairings of foods and courses.
After dinner, return to your room, again reminiscent of an English Manor given their names for different places in England, like the Buckingham Room and the Canterbury. Rooms are spacious, elegantly decorated and filled with amenities like private balconies and decks, fireplaces, deep whirlpool tubs and fabulously comfortable beds.
The next morning, breakfast is another festival of food. For those simply looking for a light bite, there is a cold buffet . For others who prefer to relax over a warm breakfast, the kitchen offers a changing menu of omelets, eggs Benedict, waffles, pancakes, crepes, French toast, and numerous egg preparations.
For those who can’t get enough foodie fun here, try the Fork in the Road Cooking classes offered throughout the year in late fall, winter and early spring. Designed for every level, from novice to experienced, the classes will hone your culinary skills with a two-day itinerary under the tutelage of the Manor’s team of professionally trained chefs. Plan to sample the tempting dishes prepared during the classes. The cooking school package combines overnight stays with dinners and the classes for a total foodie immersion experience.
Need a break from food? In the summer, take a dip in the inn’s in-ground pool, enjoy a round of tennis on the courts or year-round, savor a couples massage or plenty of other treatments at the inn’s spa too.
Rabbit Hill Inn
From Holderness, jump back on 93 North once again and within about an hour, you can be at Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, VT, your next stop on the Foodie DINEtinerary. Look to the left when you enter the front door and you’ll spy the dining room where your dinners will be filled with candlelight and exciting cuisine. Look to the right and you’ll spy an afternoon tea service filled with yummy sweet treats and a fine collection of teas in the spacious living room. From there, the Snooty Fox Pub rounds out the options, and you’re right back in seventh foodie heaven again.
Located in Lower Waterford, VT, the next closest option for dinner is Littleton, NH making dining at Rabbit Hill Inn not only the easiest but the most relaxing option too. Once here, you won’t want to get back in the car. The sense of “Ahhhhhh…..” hits guests the minute they walk in the door and meet Leslie and Brian Mulcahy, innkeepers and owners of the inn. If you don’t get your hug from Leslie when you arrive as strangers for the first time, you’ll definitely get one when you leave as friends and then again each time you return.
With a cup of tea (in the summer time, lemonade or ice tea are added to the options, and fresh brewed coffee is always available too)and plate of desserts in hand, enjoy relaxing at one of the tables in the living room to take on any one of the Stave puzzles, made close by and cherished for their intricate pieces. Sit in the pub, and you will soon want to take your hand at any of the intriguing puzzles or games available here too.
Once cocktail hour rolls around, guests tend to congregate in the pub for one of Rabbit Hill Inn’s signature cocktails or a glass of wine or craft beer. There’s never any shortage of great stories from the bartender and guests here too. Ask nicely, and Brian might just make one of his Lemon Drop Martinis or a Bourbon Old Fashion. The Chocolate Martinis are a true treat too!
Next, it’s on to dinner in the dining room, with a lovely fire and a culinary adventure ahead. Choose from the small plate, large plate or sweet plate menu. Most choose one option from each. Rabbit Hill Inn went from a prix fixe to an a la carte menu about a year ago to allow diners the option for as little or as much as they like. The focus here is on fresh and handmade. From the soups to the sauces to the pastas and the ice creams, the magic happens right in the Rabbit Hill Inn’s kitchen. Fresh Vermont produce, meats and inn-grown spices are utilized, and when the ingedients don’t come from within 20 miles, they come from as close as possible. Adventurous combinations and unusual options are a highlight here, allowing not only you but your taste buds to have a vacation from your everyday options.
Return to a beautifully decorated and in some cases a themed room. There’s even one with a secret door and a truly private location too. With fabulous whirlpool tubs, showers for two and fireplaces, and the most comfy beds around, a perfect night’s sleep after a fabulous foodie day is assured here.
Arise for breakfast the next morning and you’ll have the chance to try Phyllis’s pastry prowess! Pastry Chef Phyllis offers up everything from her signature donuts to fabulous muffins, guests simply must leave all diets behind and try one or more of these treats. The same Vermont fresh ingredients and fun creativity goes into breakfast at the Rabbit Hill Inn, along with the bunny-shaped butter pats. You know there’s not a detail overlooked in the kitchen or anywhere here and plenty of rabbits to entertain you, everywhere. See how many you can count!
Ask about the customized foodie itineraries that Rabbit Hill Inn has developed. Follow the map created by Leslie and you’ll visit a cool collection of specialty foods from the Cabot Cheese to the Ben & Jerry’s factories and some much smaller places in-between. From syrups to smoothies, this custom self-guided tour will offer the ideal culinary caper.
Be sure to keep coming back to the DINE blog, as we add more DINEtineraries throughout the year. Whether it’s New England romantic getaways or culinary cavorting, you can be assured that there’s a DINE inn that’s ideal for you getaway needs. And to create your own itinerary, consult this handy DINE locator map for proximity of inn to inn.