New England Getaways
A culinary road trip with inns that date to the eighteenth century, woodsy spas, fine tucked-away eateries and shops, and New England vistas unfolding around every bend: the perfect recipe for relaxation and gourmand romance.
Fall is for hitting the road. Highways yawn; trees are painted russet; a beach picnic becomes a secluded table for two. Our map started with the idea of butternut soup by the fireplace of a historic hotel. After diligent research, we unearthed several New England inns where dining is worth every calorie. We also found nearby restaurants, cooking schools and gourmet shops for a true culinary adventure.
The Inn at
1342 Route 106,
Rooms start at $139.They say you shouldn’t fall in love with someone’s potential, but Jane and David Sandelman would disagree. They swooned over a boarded-up former stagecoach stop. “I wouldn’t call us impulsive people,” says Jane. “But we knew we’d regret it if we didn’t buy this place.” Six weeks after closing, they debuted to a sold-out crowd. “We opened the front doors,” says Jane, “and the painters were going out the back!” They continue to sell out, earning accolades from Bon Appetit to Wine Spectator for what Jane calls “good food without the attitude. There’s no dress code here,” she shrugs, in uniform flannel and cords. She was flattered by a Fodor’s review that pegged the place for precisely what it aspires to be: nothing fancy but perfectly comfortable.
Much of the inn dates to the late 1800s. A fieldstone fireplace anchors the dining room, and an original beehive oven occasionally gets fired up for artisan dinners. As guests relax on the tavern deck with a cognac, their hosts appear with marshmallows and graham crackers for s’mores over the fire pit. Twelve rooms have different features, such as spa showers, towel warmers and antique clawfoot tubs. With fifteen fireplaces and twenty-one acres, the inn makes others green with envy (and is the epitome of green as Vermont’s first hotel with an EV-charging station for electric cars).
As a business partner with the Sandelmans, chef Jason Tostrup has a vested interest in every dish. He worked for top chefs such as Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten before finding innkeepers who shared his philosophy of regional cuisine using local ingredients and were based in an agrarian community where “his soul could be connected to the land.” Jason and Jane grow much of the restaurant’s produce in the garden, and guests can head off with a picnic, a cooler and a map to nearby farms to gather the same beef, cheese, cider, apples and eggs served at the inn. Private party tasting menus happen in the wine cellar (near the root cellar where Tostrup cures prosciutto, sopressata and other charcuteries, along with tomato jam and ramp puree). Custom dinners have paired artisan cheeses and honey, or beer and exotic mushrooms, where the mushrooms were grown in beer mash.
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