After the end-of-year flurry of activity, we like nothing better than checking into a country inn with luxurious lodgings and fine dining. At these properties, there’s no need to leave your luscious digs to dine in the best restaurant in town. Why not pamper yourself — and start the New Year right — with one of these gourmand getaways?
STONEHEDGE INN, Tyngsborough About an hour’s drive is all it takes to transport you from bustling Boston to the European countryside. Flickering lanterns beckoned in distant fields as we followed the tree-lined driveway and rolling fieldstone walls to the entrance of this enchanting hideaway. Surrounded by woodlands and horse pastures, we felt as if we’d arrived at a friend’s country estate. Our room was spacious and comfortable, decorated with rich, floral fabrics and French country furnishings; an inviting whirlpool tub was tucked into a cozy alcove. The inn has 30 guest rooms, some with spa tubs, fireplaces, and balconies. But, it’s the Left Bank restaurant, home to New England’s largest wine collection, that truly impresses. A soaring wine tower, housing some of the 60,000-bottle collection, dominates the softly-lighted dining room, where French-trained chef Florent Boutet offers modern takes on classic cuisine, like the glazed leek tart, pan-seared red tuna, and tender braised beef short ribs. Be sure to check out the new, underground wine cellar, and consider a treatment at the inn’s Vinotherapy Spa.
160 Pawtucket Blvd., 978-649-4400, www.stonehedgeinnandspa.com, rooms $245- $330, entrees $27-$41
OLD INN ON THE GREEN, New Marlborough It’s hard not to be charmed by the Colonial dining room in this flawlessly restored, circa 1760 inn, with its wood-burning fireplace, paneled walls, and period antiques. The cozy dining room, where Windsor-style chairs hug white linen-topped tables, is lighted entirely by candles. The food is as elegant and comforting as the surroundings. Start with appetizers like crispy veal sweetbreads or lobster risotto, followed by the braised lamb shank with creamy mushroom polenta or the moist halibut filet with a parsnip puree. After dinner, climb the skinny stairs to your room; the five rooms at the inn, with original woodwork and antique furnishings, are historically charming without being too froufrou. Or opt for one of the more modern and spacious rooms in the Thayer House next door, some with fireplaces and spa tubs.
Route 57 Village Green, 413-229-7924, www.oldinn.com, $249-$260, entrees $29-$38, Saturday prix fixe $75
THE CHANLER AT CLIFF WALK, Newport, R.I. If you’re extravagantly romantic, you’ll love the opulent rooms at this no-expense-spared inn overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The Gilded Age mansion houses 14 unique guest rooms, and there are six private villas, individually-themed and decorated, with antique furnishings, hand-painted murals, original art, fireplaces, walk-in rain showers, and spa tubs. Expect yards of drape-y fabrics, marble and gold, and bathrooms bigger than most city apartments. Elegant glamour continues at the perfection-driven Spiced Pear restaurant, where dishes are as picture-pretty as they are tasty. Splurge with the six- or nine-course tasting menu that might include escargot served with a quail egg, wild mushrooms and a smear of foie gras emulsion, a fig and medjool salad, butter-poached lobster with red shrimp and wild mussels, or a free-range buffalo ribeye served with a root vegetable gratin and vanilla infused spaghetti squash. While you’re finishing the not-to-be-missed soufflé (we shared a cinnamon-flavored one drenched with a warm, peach bourbon anglaise), the butler will be drawing your bath, lighting candles, and sprinkling rose petals in your room.
117 Memorial Blvd., 401-847-1300, www.thechanler.com, from $229, tasting menu $98-$145, a la carte entrees $38-$42
WHITE BARN INN, Kennebunkport, Maine Who said formal, white tablecloth restaurants were dead? Dress-up, special occasion dining is alive and relevant at this inn’s five-star, five-diamond restaurant. We love the contrast: a big, rustic barn, with wood floors and soaring beams, where diners are doted on with hushed, haute service and sophisticated fare. A bevy of well-trained servers bring out dishes like the rich and creamy lobster bisque, duck consommé with a foie gras dumpling, polenta glazed scallops, and venison loin wrapped in a fluffy hazelnut crepe. Pampering continues when you check into newly-renovated rooms, with clean, contemporary design, some with marble baths, steam showers, and gas fireplaces. Continued...