New England

“The Coziest Inn in the World” | Our Dream New England Winter Inn

What if you took the warmest, most inviting features from great New England lodgings and put them under a single roof?

By Kim Knox Beckius

Jan 01 2018


“The Coziest Inn in the World” | Imagining Our Dream New England Winter Inn

Photo Credit : Victoria Maxfield
From the liveliest library in Vermont to the dreamiest beds in Connecticut, we’ve taken elements from some of our favorite New England inns to create our dream New England winter inn, one we’re calling “the coziest inn in the world.”
The Coziest Inn in the World | Imagining the Perfect New England Inn for Winter
Photo Credit : Victoria Maxfield

The Sociable CatRabbit Hill Inn | Lower Waterford, VT

Who wouldn’t love being greeted by this most endearing of innkeepers? Reese (named for her peanut-butter-cup-colored coat and sweet disposition) has easily fallen into the rhythms of Rabbit Hill Inn ever since showing up at the kitchen door eight years ago. When she turns her emerald gaze your way, she’s looking for an invitation to curl up beside you in a fireside armchair, to supervise as you work a Stave jigsaw puzzle, or perhaps even to sneak back to your room with you for a catnap. But come 5:30 p.m. she’ll leap onto her stool behind the bar, where her admirers wait—after all, posing for photos is a small sacrifice to make for a steady stream of fan mail and gourmet treats. 802-748-5168;

The Hobnobby ParlorThe Notchland Inn | Hart’s Location, NH

Before dinner at this White Mountains retreat, you can gather in a space that transforms strangers into friends. With its dark wood paneling, iron chandelier, and cushioned inglenook beside the imposing “Sheriff of Nottingham” fireplace, this comfy parlor still bears the Arts and Crafts handprint of its designer, Gustav Stickley, aka the Ralph Lauren of the turn of the 20th century. New England craft beer, wine, or a favorite cocktail? Order up and sip away, as tunes from yesteryear play softly in the background. Say “photo op,” and Gypsy, one of the two supremely gentle Bernese mountain dogs in residence, just might join you for a fireside portrait. 603-374-6131;

The Lively LibraryMade Inn Vermont | Burlington, VT

With big windows, gleaming wood floors, and art books and albums galore, the whimsically hip library at Made Inn Vermont is more than just a place for borrowing reading material or a ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s record to play on your in-room turntable. Settle in, pop open a can of Vermont’s coveted Heady Topper, and rediscover the tactile pleasure of flipping pages, the friendly-but-fierce fun of competition over a vintage board game, or the rewards of conversing with all types of people, like-minded or not. 802-399-2788;

The Coziest Inn in the World | Imagining the Perfect New England Inn for Winter
Photo Credit : Victoria Maxfield

The Haute FireplacesThe Pitcher Inn | Warren, VT

The crackling of a wood-burning fire entrances and soothes on such a primal level, there’s a very real risk you’ll never leave your room once the logs are blazing. Still, we can’t wait for you to see your wow-factor fireplace at the famed Pitcher Inn. Built of earthy elements—brick, fieldstone, slate, tree trunks—it’s not merely functional, but rather a one-of-a-kind spectacle designed to be the focal point of your snug and sumptuous nest. 802-496-6350;

The Dreamy BedsSpicer Mansion | Mystic, CT

Don’t count on waking up at your usual hour after drifting off on a king-size Dux bed from Swedish company Duxiana, with its mattress contoured for wonderfully deep sleep. The historic Spicer Mansion further ups the ante with snow-white, 600-thread-count sheets from Massachusetts’s own luxury-bedding specialist, Matouk, and a lambswool-angora blanket that’s as snuggly-soft as cashmere. 860-245-4621;

The Old-School QuiltsWaldo Emerson Inn | Kennebunk, ME

Before you pull back the quilt on your bed here, take a moment to appreciate its hand-stitched artistry, courtesy of Pennsylvania Mennonite quilter Mary Nolt. And should its mesmerizing patterns and craftsmanship inspire you to pick up a needle and fabric, just walk outside: There’s a quilting shop—Mainely Quilts—in the property’s carriage house, where you’ll find new and heirloom finished quilts and every supply for cozying up with a project of your own. 207-985-4250;

The Coziest Inn in the World | Imagining the Perfect New England Inn for Winter
Photo Credit : Victoria Maxfield

The Hot Tubs with a ViewThe Wentworth | Jackson, NH

At the touch of a button, a hot tub becomes a swirling cauldron for soothing sore muscles and fostering a better night’s sleep. Add the words “private” and “outdoor,” and the experience turns downright heavenly. At the Wentworth, each of these tubs is unique: Yours might have LED lights that make the frothy water glow, or a wall-mounted TV that ensures you won’t miss the game or a favorite show. Pull the shades if you crave privacy; leave them open for views of the storybook village of Jackson or the mountains. You’ll feel tucked inside your own romantic snow globe if powdery flurries start to fall. 603-383-9700;

The Eye-Opening Breakfast in BedWolf Cove Inn | Poland, ME

Breakfast arrives just as early light casts a shimmer across frozen Tripp Lake, a scene perfectly framed by the picture windows in your room. Pour yourself a mug of coffee made with beans slow-batch-roasted in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain, and let your head fall back against the super-cuddly Comphy-brand pillowcases. Did you order the sweet entrée or the savory one? Bananas Foster French toast drizzled with syrup from Sawyer’s Maple Farm, or basted eggs over mushroom hash with maple sausage from A Wee Bit Farm? Each day, the local-ingredient-focused choices are just that difficult. So here’s a little secret: You’re allowed to request both. 207-998-4976;

The Buffet of Hot ChocolateBlantyre | Lenox, MA

French Valrhona semisweet and Belgian Callebaut white chocolate, bittersweet South American cocoa beans, hazelnutty Italian Gianduja: The culinary wizards at this luxury hotel blend fine ingredients from afar into half a dozen tempting selections. Served with or without the amped-up warmth of a liqueur, these interactive mugfuls invite you to swirl in fresh whipped cream and torch-toasted house-made marshmallows. If you venture out for frosty adventures, on returning you can vanquish the chill with a sip. 413-637-3556;

The Delectable DiningThe White Hart | Salisbury, CT

English-born chef Annie Wayte showcases local ingredients year-round, and in deep winter she relies on the Hudson Valley’s indoor growers for her bright, bold flavors. Dinner in the dining room is a Friday-and-Saturday-only treat, but complimentary continental breakfast and two additional on-site eateries ensure that you could be snowed in for a week and never eat the same thing twice. Cheery, communal White Hart Provisions serves coffee concoctions and quirky café fare, while the pubby Tap Room offers a comfort-food cavalcade of soups, fish and chips, burgers, and steaks. And the bar’s six taps dispense only beers that meet Wayte’s lofty standards. 860-435-0030;

The Round-the-Clock TreatsChristopher Dodge House | Providence, RI

We bet quite a few guests have been tempted to smuggle the cookie jar from the foyer back to their room. But why, really, when just-baked goodies are constantly restocked in this mansion’s country-cozy common room? Perhaps there’ll be walnut cake when you pour yourself a cup of tea and sit by the petite gas stove in the afternoon … cinnamon-streusel coffee cake when the midnight munchies strike … warm muffins when you wake at sunrise. The gifted bakers here love to experiment with King Arthur extracts and seasonal fruit, so you never know what you’ll find. The only thing that’s certain: They can’t refill the cookie jar if it’s not where it belongs. 401-351-6111;

The Ultra-Soothing SpaCastle Hill Inn | Newport, RI

Two mansion rooms and a small hall have been thoughtfully transformed into the Retreat by Farmaesthetics, an intimate spa whose name reflects its collaboration with Rhode Island’s own pioneering all-natural skin-care line. Farmaesthetics’s hands-on founder and formulator Brenda Brock has created facial, massage, and saltwater-soak experiences that soothe body and spirit with farm-grown herbs, flowers, grains, and aromatic oils. By the light of toasty gas fireplaces in the waiting and treatment rooms—and with a storm-churned ocean in view—your only job here is to melt into a state of utter relaxation. 401-849-3800;