For a quick and cozy escape from Boston or New York, we check out some Connecticut country inns.
Homestead Inn & Thomas Henkelmann
420 Field Point Road, Greenwich.
Though less than an hour’s train ride from Grand Central Station, you’ll feel like you’ve shaken off every speck of the city when you pull up to this 18-room inn. Lush details and the bold use of color in the guest rooms are outdone only by the menu downstairs in the Thomas Henkelmann restaurant: the German-born, French-trained chef was named a Relais Gourmand in 2002, and his meticulous artistry goes into every bite, right down to the amuse bouche. Expect French classics but trust the seasonal specials (we chose lobster in almost every form: broth, foam, pieces).
155 Alain White Road, Morris.
The Litchfield Hills, in the state’s northwest, is Norman Rockwell territory – each turn in the road reveals another postcard-perfect scene. In the centre of it all is Winvian, a 113-acre collection of themed cottages stocked with every comfort you could want on a winter’s evening, including fireplaces and complementary gourmet-filled minibars. If you manage to drag yourself up to the main house for lunch or dinner, you won’t be sorry – chef Chris Eddy trained under Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse, and today serves up wickedly good dishes using the best ingredients the season has to offer. Black truffles, anyone?
The Mayflower Inn
118 Woodbury Road, Route 47, Washington.
Both the inn and the spa here have received the Mobil Five-Star award, hailing it as one of the most decadent destinations within driving distance of New York City. The English-style gardens, teahouse, poet’s maze, and hiking trail all scream “I’m in a Jane Austen” movie (but no one here actually screams, of course) and the spa services are impeccable and original (one program offered memoir-writing classes alongside treatments). Other offerings include a Midnight Honey Body Buzz with Warm Honey Massage and a Chocolate, Chuckles and Chi workshop that combines self-massage and meditation with – thank you, doctor – chocolate as the medicine.
New London County
The Bee & Thistle Inn
100 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.
If you’re looking for the kind of intimate inn where you’ll be greeted like a long-lost member of the family, you should meet Linnea and David Rufo at the Bee & Thistle. Built in 1756 as a private residence, the inn sits on two hectares running down to the Lieutenant River, with plenty of room to wander or even find refuge at the Florence Griswold Museum next door. During our visit, a Patrick Dougherty stickworks-sculpture was delighting kids scampering through it dressed as fairies. The nine rooms are all cozy, but better still are the bar and the couches in the drawing room, by one of the two fires. Get your blood pumping with a game of Boules (Jacques Pepin plays here), or if you’re here on a Sunday, indulge in Victorian high tea, served between 1–4 pm.
The Inn at Stonington
60 Water Street, Stonington.
As a new construction it does lack some of the authentic 18th century charm for which Stonington Village is known, but its prime waterfront position makes it a favorite among out-of-towners and locals alike. The nearby 120-metre pier is great for sea views – only second to the Harborview Room, which is the best spot for catching a jaw-dropper of a sunset. A small beach is a stone’s throw away, but winter afternoons are best spent holed up in your room with its fireplace, Frette linens and whirlpool (16 of the 18 rooms have them). The ultimate endorsement: this is where the Bee & Thistle innkeepers escaped to for a recent weekend off.