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.
Mountain View Grand 101 Mountain View Road, Whitefield, New Hampshire (855-837-2100) mountainviewgrand.com
The history of this 141-room inn in Whitefield, New Hampshire, dates back more than 150 years, and its wine cellar was renovated nearly two decades ago. But it wasn’t until this year that a tiny, 12-seat room off that wine cellar came into its own.
“It’s a room that we can just dedicate to pushing culinary limits as far as northern New England goes. We offer it not just as a room, but as an experience. It can be up to 12 people. They can eat off a couple of prix fixe menus, or if they want to let us drive, we can create a super-micro-seasonal menu just for that party. Or they have the option for me to call them and find out what they are interested in, so it’s completely customized,” executive chef Nathan Varney says. “We were using it for private dining, but there was no wine in the room. It was all glass, and you could see into the wine cellar. We had a room that hadn’t grown into its own body yet. It was just very awkward, like a teenager, and we didn’t know what to do with it.”
The dining experience takes place on a custom-made wooden table that sports tree stumps as legs and includes dishes like the imaginative forest floor that combines branches collected from the property, a housemade tea and dry ice. It promises to be a bit more avant-garde than the rest of Mountain View Grand’s culinary settings, which includes the casual clubhouse as well as the Harvest Tavern and the 1865 Wine Cellar. That 6,000-bottle cellar features a four-course menu for guests 15 and older with dishes like foie gras ganache served with pickled Cape cranberries, charred bread and maple as well as duck confit with confit apple and potatoes. Despite their subtle differences, all of the spots hew closely to Varney’s farm-to-table ethos.
“You should be treating a carrot with the same respect that you would treat a filet of beef,” Varney says. “Both were raised by a farmer and both take a lot of energy to happen.”
It’s easy for guests to have a similar respect for the entire property, which includes views of the White Mountains and a waterfall terrace from many of the rooms and luxury suites. You can relax with spa services that range from a wild lime scalp treatment to a seaweed gel body wrap or you can get moving in the fitness center, indoor/outdoor pools and even a 9-hole golf course—all the easier to work up an appetite.
NEW ENGLAND TRAVEL 2018: CONNECTICUT | RHODE ISLAND | NEW HAMPSHIRE | MASSACHUSETTS | VERMONT | MAINE