Inns across New England are upping their culinary game with new chefs, renovated dining rooms and a fresh set of cooking classes. We took a look at a half-dozen—one in each New England state—that really stand out.
Woodstock Inn 14 The Green, Woodstock, Vermont (888-338-2745) woodstockinn.com
Tucked a way in the Green Mountains, Vermont’s Woodstock Inn is embracing its love for farm-to-table dining even more with the renovation of its Red Barns at Kelly Way Gardens. The two 1800s-era barns sit on the inn’s 3-acre organic farm, which will make use of its 200 varieties of produce for classes, culinary demonstrations and themed dinners taking place from May to October.
Executive chef Rhys Lewis (formerly of the Williamsburg Inn) helms the happenings in the new 11,000-square-foot kitchen studio, featuring Bosch double wall ovens and rustic decor crafted from reclaimed materials, including salvaged chandeliers and countertops made from wood repurposed from bowling alley lanes. On Sundays in July and August, Lewis will lead the Red Barn Dinner Series, planning three courses of seasonally inspired fare for up to 44 guests in tandem with local businesses such as WhistlePig Rye Whiskey and the specialty farms in the Vermont Cheese Council. “Vermont’s really made of a collection of small artisans,” says general manager Gary Thulander. “We can all get together to create a really unique experience.” These intimate gatherings allow guests a front-row seat to watch chef Lewis in action and listen to the featured guest speaker.
Lewis will also team up with master gardener Benjamin Pauly for the weekly Garden Tour and Tasting Series, starting in June. During the two-hour event, Pauly will give guests the dirty details on topics like organic gardening and planting for pollinators, followed by a culinary demonstration that highlights one garden-grown produce served three different ways. With crops such as asparagus, berries and the inn’s own 55 tomato varieties, participants will have the opportunity to experience a range of seasonal fare.
And the Red Barns aren’t the only thing new at the Woodstock Inn. All 142 rooms and suites were refreshed and refurnished, providing a relaxing retreat for guests after they enjoy a flower arranging class or the inn’s new Elemental Bike Park, which showcases 6.2 miles of mountain biking tracks that cyclists can race down starting in July. “Woodstock is a four-season place,” Thulander says. “It really provides that sense of place and personalized service that New England is known for.”
NEW ENGLAND TRAVEL 2018: CONNECTICUT | RHODE ISLAND | NEW HAMPSHIRE | MASSACHUSETTS | VERMONT | MAINE