Romantic Inns of New England

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A Collection of Luxury New England Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns

Millennials love DINE inns

Millennials flock to DINE innsWhen we in DINEcountry consider the kinds of travelers we appeal to, we’re often surprised to find that more and more younger travelers are being attracted to our 11 distinctive inns.  While Baby Boomer travelers still represent the lion’s share of those who choose inns and B&Bs over hotels and vacation rentals, we’re realizing that our 11 inns have increasing appeal to the millennial traveler.  What’s a millennial traveler?  Also known as Generation Y, researchers and statisticians use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s when referring to the “millennial generation”.  This is the youngest group of travelers choosing where to stay on their own, and they’re increasing opting to enjoy DINE inns.

We asked DINE innkeepers to help us understand this phenomenon.  Here’s what we heard:

Elopement packages at Captain's House Inn, Chatham, Cape CodFrom Captain’s House Inn:

Owned by a millennial couple, Jill and James Meyer can certainly relate to the millennial segment of the traveling public. According to Jill, “One of our biggest attractions for millennials is our elopement package.  We find that more and more, young people do not want to spend a lot of money on a wedding and would rather take that money and use it as a down payment on a home or something more lasting.  Our elopement package is a very reasonably priced way for couples to get married while still enjoying a beautiful ceremony with minimal stress.”

Recently redone, Room 16 at Chesterfield Inn appeals to millennial travlersFrom the Chesterfield Inn

Says co-owner and innkeeper, Judy Heuber, “We offer free wi-fi, iPod docking stations by the beds, breakfast in bed if they want it, and power strips so that all devices can be charged at the same time. Our rooms offer privacy and are comfortable and not “cutesy”. We also have a responsive web site that conforms automatically to whatever device is accessing it so that millennials can reserve online easily, something that they are more apt to do than older travelers (in fact they require it!). They choose us because we don’t have a lot of rules, and meet them on their own terms.”

From Manor on Golden Pond

According to Mary Ellen Shields, co-owner, it’s the Manor’s food that attracts the millennial traveler. Their trendy approach and concessions for food intolerances and preferences  is what makes the Manor on Golden Pond a choice for millennial travelers.  “We have vegetarian options, and options which are moving away from protein-at-the-center-of-the-plate,” says Mary Ellen. “In general, the menu is lighter, healthier and more globally-influenced than in the past which appeals to millennials and also to the boomer traveler.”

Rabbit Hill Inn millennial guests enjoy a Clyde River paddle tripFrom Rabbit Hill Inn

The Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, VT welcomes more and more millennial travelers each year.  Why? Because the innkeepers there cater to them.  They have learned that millenials desire variety and personalized experiences.  They have a strong craving for social spaces allowing the opportunity to mingle w/ fellow guests.  They want to feel special. They want to be pampered, but not at the expense of their privacy.  They demand value for their money. They are very interested in social media interaction prior to arrival, during and after their stay. So, what actions have Rabbit Hill Inn taken to appeal to millennial travelers?

  • Ongoing accommodation renovations: They continue to create a wide variety of décor and amenity options, appealing to varied tastes & preferences. No two guest rooms are the same. The inn offers contemporary, urban chic, and art deco styles with varied traditional styles.  Millenials enjoy new & difference lodging experiences every time they visit.
  • Social Spaces:  By design, the inn provides guests with a variety of social spaces. This includes fireplaced sitting areas, game rooms, covered porches, and a very popular cozy pub (with full bar & local craft beers on tap). Millenials flock to all these social spaces. They love to mingle with others guests, find quiet corners to read, and enjoy all the available games & puzzles.  Without doubt, the Pub is a key social space for these guests.
  • The inn provides very personalized concierge services.  Millenials want to enjoy several different experiences during their getaway (even if it is a short escape). Rabbit Hill Inn provides customized activity planning to help them experience a perfect time away. Guests are matched up with the perfect hiking or biking trails.
  • Millenials are attracted to highly interactive Social Media platforms.  They often connect with the Rabbit Hill Inn prior to their visit, expressing anticipation of their visit and asking questions. During and after their visit, they share their experiences with others.  They love the Rabbit Hill Inn’s abundant video gallery.

Each and every one of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England offer accommodations and social spaces for all travelers – millennial and older.  Next time you think about visiting a DINE inn, know that you’ll find guests of all ages, from younger to older enjoying the accommodations, personalized service and social opportunities with other guests that Distinctive Inns of New England inns are expert at providing.

Celebrate July Ice Cream Month by DINEing

Ice Cream at Bishops

Michael & Heidi, guests at Rabbit Hill Inn, treat themselves to ice cream at Bishops Ice Cream after a long hike.

 I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream especially in July as the country celebrates National Ice Cream month.  Throughout DINE country guests of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England are enjoying the sweet life with some cool creamy treats. From ice cream tours to homemade ice cream served for dinner, you’ll find scrumptious ice cream treats on the breakfast and dinner table at DINE inns.  Anytime during July, and well…beyond too…we encourage you to take time out from your romantic New England getaway to cool off with some of the best ice cream you’ll find on the planet.

Here’s the scoop from some of our DINE innkeepers for the perfect way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month in DINE country.

Inn at Harbor Hill Marina

Hit the “Ice Cream Trail” in the Mystic Country region.  You won’t have to venture far from the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, there are six ice cream places right in Niantic. A true guest favorite is Gumdrops & Lollipops. In addition to Gumdrops & Frosty Treat, we here in Niantic also have Dad’s, Skipper’s, Dairy Queen and FRYO (frozen yogurt).

Captain’s House Inn

Jimmies Ice Cream, Jill Meyer photo“Ice cream is my specialty!” says Jill Meyer, innkeeper and self-proclaimed ice cream expert at Captain’s House Inn. And with three young children, you can imagine there is a fair amount of research being done in the Meyer household! Right down the street from Captain’s House Inn is Cape Cod N’ice Cream, the  first and only Ice Cream Shop on the Cape that makes ice cream fresh for you right in front of your eyes with Liquid Nitrogen.  Jill loves to blog about ice cream, and has created a number of posts on the Captain’s House Inn blog about different ice cream shops nearby.  Some of her favorites have standard creamery names like Four Seas in Centerville or The Smuggler in Dennis.  Others have very clever ice-cream themed names like Jimmies Ice Cream in Cotuit and Sundae-School in Harwich (one school where kids don’t mind going even during summer vacation).  One thing is for sure, if you need any help deciding where to go for ice cream on Cape Cod, seek out Jill. She’ll enjoy telling you all about your options, and who knows?  She might even ride along!  All for the sake of research, of course!

Homemade Ice Cream at Gateways Inn & Restaurant, Lenox, MAGateways Inn& Restaurant

Ice creams at Gateways Inn and Restaurant are not only homemade in their own kitchen, they’re also homegrown.  Look for herbs grown right in their gardens when you choose their homemade ice cream sampler with Chocolate Mint (mint is grown on premises), Strawberry Shortcake and Vanilla Bourbon (chances are the bourbon comes right from the Piano Bar too!). There’s even a sugarless vanilla ice cream.  When it was served on the Gateway’s Inn Whole Grain Berry Bread Pudding, the dessert sold out in no time!  How’s that for guilt-free ice cream?

Sweet Corn Ice Cream from Rabbit Hill InnRabbit Hill Inn

Start your ice cream filled day out with a trip to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, where you’ll have the chance to watch the famous ice cream being made and packaged and learn the history of this Vermont attraction.  Additionally after the Vermont “mother ship” of Ben and Jerry’s, Rabbit Hill Inn also sends guests to Bishops Ice Cream Shop in Littleton NH for heavenly homemade ice cream made onsite, At The Hop, an  awesome retro 50’s style ice cream parlor right next to the Brick Store & fabulous covered bridge in Bath NH or Braggs Maple Syrup Farm, home one the BEST “Maple Creamie”.  “No one should pass up the chance to have this amazing VT tradition,” says Rabbit Hill Innkeeper, Leslie Mulcahy.

After that, return to the inn and if you’re very, very lucky they may be serving up some of their famous Sweet Corn Ice Cream and homemade waffle cones.

Just in case you’re unable to visit one of the 11 DINE inns during National Ice Cream month, fear not.  Last year we featured a number of wonderful ice cream recipes on the DINE blog including that Sweet Corn Ice Cream from Rabbit Hill Inn, Lemon Basil Sorbet at Grafton Inn, Rich Vanilla Frozen Custard from Manor on Golden Pond, all topped off with fun garnish ideas from Deerfield Inn.  Click here to read all about it.

Gateways Inn dessert

Whole Grain Cherry Berry Bread Pudding with sugar free ice cream, a Gateways Inn & Restaurant specialty.


Rabbit Hill Inn homemade ice cream cones

Phyllis makes her own ice cream cones in the Rabbit Hill Inn kitchen then fills them with the sweetest homemade ice creams!

 Drink wine, improve your memory

WineglassesAny time we can find info on reasons to drink wine, we at Distinctive Inns of New England stand up and take notice. Therefore we were happy when we learned that studies have shown that drinking wine won’t simply add to the festivities of your DINE getaway, it could actually save your brain and your memory too!

You know the feeling; searching for that word that just won’t come to you.  It happens and you think, “oh no, what’s happening to my brain?”  Perhaps your first inclination is not to grab for a glass of wine, but maybe it should be! Last year, research revealed on showed possible evidence that resveratrol, found in red wine, may help in preventing cognitive decline. However, the same study went on to reveal that three glasses of champagne per week could help prevent the onset of brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer´s disease.

Next time you're at one of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England, enjoy a champagne toast. In the study performed with rat who consumed champagne regularly, there was a 200 percent increase of proteins important for determining effective memory. This occurred in rats after just six weeks. According to the study, it would take about three years to achieve the same results in humans in humans

This is not the first time the bubbly has been touted for its health benefits. The same Reading team found in 2009 that champagne is good for the heart and blood circulation.

The morale of the story?  Red wine and champagne can be very good for you!  Whether you enjoy a glass while planning your DINE getaway or during your stay at any of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England, research shows that a glass of wine or a little bubbly can be good for your memory, heart and circulation. The innkeepers at Distinctive Inns of New England concur adding it’s good for the vacation too! So,next time you’re not sure, go for the Grenache in Grafton (VT) or at The Gateways, the Merlot at the Manor (on Golden Pond), the champagne at Cliffside or Captain Jefferds, or the Reisling at Rabbit Hill and enjoy a romantic New England getaway along the way too!

Most DINE inns offer the opportunity to order a little bubbly to add to your fireside chats.  Ask your innkeeper.  Shown here:  Captain's House Inn fireside champagne service.

Most DINE inns offer the opportunity to order a little bubbly to add to your fireside chats. Ask your innkeeper. Shown here: Captain’s House Inn fireside champagne service.

Best wishes for a great July 4th weekend

july_4th-whatitsaboutWhile we’re hoping that your long July 4th weekend can be spent at one of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England, we know that for some July 4th means backyard picnics and community fireworks displays!  As Tropical Storm Arthur bears down on the Coastal parts of DINEcountry, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that no matter if you’re inside or outside, your July 4th weekend will be sunny, bright, red, white and blue and spent with those you love.

For too many of these special day we lose sight of the history behind the holiday.  Commercial interests have superceded the true meaning of holidays like Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day and more.  In an effort to promote more than the hot dogs, popsicles and fireworks of July 4th or Indepedence Day, here’s a little history primer and insight into the importance of this holiday, a celebration of our independence from which it got its name.

July 4th has only been a federal holiday in the U.S.  since 1941, yet the tradition of Independence Day celebrations dates back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June of 1776, representatives of the thirteen colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle drafted and considered a resolution that declared their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of U.S.  independence,  and then two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, the historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson that made that it official. From 1776 until today, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.

July4paradeMore than just a day off of work, this holiday is celebrated with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to  family gatherings and barbecues, but we should never lose sight of the fact that the holiday also celebrates the true birth of our country. And this year, July 4th also marks another important anniversary –  the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner. According to the Washington Post, in the summer of 1814 poet Francis Scott Kay penned the words to a tune that was recycled from an old English tavern song  as he watched the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in the summer of 1814. The melody suddenly came to him again, along with new words, Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light.

Whether you spend your July 4th enjoying a relaxing romantic getaway at a DINE inn or in your backyard, we hope that the holiday is filled with plenty of food, fun and nostolgia. Here’s to a great July 4th weekend from your friends at Distinctive Inns of New England.






Foodie Fun:  A  New Hampshire to Vermont DINEtinerary

RHI-FineFiresideDining-JumpingRocksphoto-smaller - CopyWe’ve enjoyed doing some fun blogging about different itineraries among the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England. We started with one story about our most historic inns, and continued to a story about our more Southern inns and then a Maine Coastal itinerary too.  Today we’re heading North from the more southern parts of DINE country to New Hampshire and Vermont  and focusing in on two inns where food is a highlight.

While all DINE member inns serve up fabulous food for breakfast and some also offer dinner too, the Manor on Golden Pond and the Rabbit Hill Inn offer an ideal itinerary for those who define a great vacation by fab food.  Close to one another, an itinerary that includes Rabbit Hill Inn and Manor On Golden Pond offers foodies specialized classes, fun food tours and the chance to sample exquisite dining in both of the  inns’ dining rooms too. Both Manor on Golden Pond and Rabbit Hill Inn offer four diamond dining, afternoon tea, very special breakfasts and unique food activities and experiences.

Manor-FiresideDining2Manor On Golden Pond

If you’re coming from Boston, you’ll want to start your itinerary at the Manor On Golden Pond in Holderness, NH.  Take I-93 North to Route 3S/NH-25 right into Holderness. Overlooking Squam Lake, made famous by the film On Golden Pond, this inn could easily be mistaken for a beautiful  country manor house from the moment one drives up the driveway. The rich wood, grand and welcoming living room, and library are reminiscent of a stately British manor house.  The food fun starts at 4:00pm when a complimentary afternoon tea is served with scones and other sweet treats for all guests.  From there, move to the Three Cocks Pub, named for the collection of roosters which adorn copper bar and walls.  Whether it’s a special martini, a fine cognac or port, or a glass of wine  a full selection of just what you need to start relaxing on your foodie vacation here.

Next, it’s on to the Van Horn Dining Room.  In the winter a roaring fire welcomes you with flickering light.  Any time of year, fine linens, fresh flower and candlelight set the mood here.  You’ll dine leisurely, lingering over the evening’s offerings, accompanied by an outstanding bottle of wine from the extensive Wine Spectator list of worldwide vintages  if you wish. From appetizers to desserts, each dish is as beautifully prepared and presented as it tastes.  By special request, the chef even offers a Vegan Chef’s Tasting menu.  Dinner options are a la carte, allowing for plenty of different pairings of foods and courses.

Relaxing guest rooms offer private fireplaces and decks. After dinner, return to your room, again reminiscent of an English Manor given their names for different places in England, like the Buckingham Room and the Canterbury.  Rooms are spacious, elegantly decorated and filled with amenities like private balconies and decks, fireplaces, deep whirlpool tubs and fabulously comfortable beds.

The next morning, breakfast is another festival of food.  For those simply looking for a light bite, there is a cold buffet . For others who prefer to relax over a warm breakfast, the kitchen offers a changing menu of omelets, eggs Benedict, waffles, pancakes, crepes, French toast, and numerous egg preparations.

ManoronGoldenPond-BostonWineSchoolFor those who can’t get enough foodie fun here, try the Fork in the Road Cooking classes offered throughout the year in late fall, winter and early spring. Designed for every level, from novice to experienced, the classes will hone your culinary skills with a two-day itinerary under the tutelage of the Manor’s team of professionally trained chefs. Plan to sample the tempting dishes prepared during the classes.  The cooking school package combines  overnight stays with dinners and the classes for a total foodie immersion experience.

Need a break from food?  In the summer, take a dip in the inn’s in-ground pool, enjoy a round of tennis on the courts or year-round, savor a couples massage or plenty of other treatments at the inn’s spa too. At the center of life in Lower Waterford is the Rabbit Hill Inn.

Rabbit Hill Inn

From Holderness, jump back on 93 North once again and within about an hour, you can be at Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, VT, your next stop on the Foodie DINEtinerary.   Look to the left when you enter the front door and you’ll spy the dining room where your dinners will be filled with candlelight and exciting cuisine.  Look to the right and you’ll spy an afternoon tea service filled with yummy sweet treats and a fine collection of teas in the spacious living room.   From there, the Snooty Fox Pub rounds out the options, and you’re right back in seventh foodie heaven again.

Located in Lower Waterford, VT, the next closest option for dinner is Littleton, NH making dining at Rabbit Hill Inn not only the easiest but the most relaxing option too.  Once here, you won’t want to get back in the car.  The sense of “Ahhhhhh…..” hits guests the minute they walk in the door and meet Leslie and Brian Mulcahy, innkeepers and owners of the inn.  If you don’t get your hug from Leslie when you arrive as strangers for the first time, you’ll definitely get one when you leave as friends and then again each time you return.

With a cup of tea (in the summer time, lemonade or ice tea are added to the options, and fresh brewed coffee is always available too)and plate of desserts in hand, enjoy relaxing at one of the tables in the living room to take on any one of the Stave puzzles, made close by and cherished for their intricate pieces.   Sit in the pub, and you will soon want to take your hand at any of the intriguing puzzles or games available here too.

The Snooty Fox Pub at Rabbit Hill InnOnce cocktail hour rolls around, guests tend to congregate in the pub for one of Rabbit Hill Inn’s signature cocktails or a glass of wine or craft beer.  There’s never any shortage of great stories from the bartender and guests here too.  Ask nicely, and Brian might just make one of his Lemon Drop Martinis or a Bourbon Old Fashion.   The Chocolate Martinis are a true treat too!

Next, it’s on to dinner in the dining room, with a lovely fire and a culinary adventure ahead. Choose from the small plate, large plate or sweet plate menu.  Most choose one option from each. Rabbit Hill Inn went from a prix fixe to an a la carte menu about a year ago to allow diners the option for as little or as much as they like.  The focus here is on fresh and handmade. From the soups to the sauces to the pastas and the ice creams, the magic happens right in the Rabbit Hill Inn’s kitchen. Fresh Vermont produce, meats and inn-grown spices are utilized, and when the ingedients don’t come from within 20 miles, they come from as close as possible.  Adventurous combinations and unusual options are a highlight here, allowing not only you but your taste buds to have a vacation from your everyday options.

Rabbit Hill Inn - warm up with a soft blanket, tea and warm fireplaceReturn to a beautifully decorated and in some cases a themed room.  There’s even one with a secret door and a truly private location too.  With fabulous whirlpool tubs, showers for two and fireplaces, and the most comfy beds around, a perfect night’s sleep after a fabulous foodie day is assured here.

Arise for breakfast the next morning and you’ll have the chance to try Phyllis’s pastry prowess!  Pastry Chef Phyllis offers up everything from her signature donuts to fabulous muffins, guests simply must leave all diets behind and try one or more of these treats.  The same Vermont fresh ingredients and fun creativity goes into breakfast at the Rabbit Hill Inn, along with the bunny-shaped butter pats.  You know there’s not a detail overlooked in the kitchen or anywhere here and plenty of rabbits to entertain you, everywhere.  See how many you can count!

Ask about the customized foodie itineraries that Rabbit Hill Inn has developed.  Follow the map created by Leslie and you’ll visit a cool collection of specialty foods from the Cabot Cheese to the Ben & Jerry’s factories and some much smaller places in-between.  From syrups to smoothies, this custom self-guided tour will offer the ideal culinary caper.

Be sure to keep coming back to the DINE blog, as we add more DINEtineraries throughout the year.  Whether it’s New England romantic getaways or culinary cavorting, you can be assured that there’s a DINE inn that’s ideal for you getaway needs.  And to create your own itinerary, consult this handy DINE locator map for proximity of inn to inn.

The Secret Loft at Rabbit Hill Inn.

Berry Good Recipes from Distinctive Inns of New England

As we get to the end of June, we come closer and closer to that berry delicious time of year when strawberries, blueberries and raspberries fill our baskets and delight our desserts.  While the ideal way to enjoy berries is at breakfast, afternoon tea or dinner at one of the 11 DINE member inns, we know you probably won’t be enjoying that favorite place  in New England for romantic getaway every weekend.  So, we’ve gone through our recipe files to bring you some “berry” good recipes for wonderful fruit-filled desserts, compliments of Distinctive Inns of New England. When in berry season, join us in making some “berry” good desserts!

After picking a bumper crop of strawberries, what does Captain’s House Inn do? They make strawberry soup!  It’s simple and delicious!  Try it.

Yummy strawberries picked from the gardens at Captain's House Inn.

Yummy strawberries picked from the gardens at Captain’s House Inn.

Strawberry Soup from Captain’s  House Inn


2 cups Sour Cream

1 12 ounce bag frozen strawberries, thawed

3 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons vanilla


Combine sour cream, strawberries, honey and vanilla.  Blend in food processor until smooth.  Garnish with fresh mint and serve cold. Serves 6

And here’s a great idea for a beautiful dessert that’s sure to be a hit throughout the summer from Chesterfield Inn.

Fresh Berry Trifle from Chesterfield Inn

First, make the sponge cake and custard sauce, as follows.

Sponge Cake

12 eggs, separated

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1/2 cup rum or Triple Sec

Beat egg whites to soft peaks and add 1 cup sugar. Add the other 1 cup sugar to the yolks and beat til light colored. Stir in flour, and booze, gently. Fold in the whipped egg whites. Butter a full size sheet pan. Put parchment on pan, and butter that. Spread batter in pan. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes. Cool on rack before removing from pan.

Custard Sauce

9 egg yolks

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 cups milk, scalded

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl over a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes until blended and light colored. Slowly add hot milk and stir over the heat with a wooden spoon. Custard is done when it coats the back of a spoon. Remove heat, add vanilla, and cool over a bowl of ice. Refrigerate.

 To assemble the Trifle:

Slice and and sugar 1 quart strawberries. Layer with 1 pint of blueberries and 1 pint raspberries with the sliced sponge and custard sauce in a clear glass bowl. Top with whipped cream. Serve chilled. Yum!

Nancy Stafford picks fresh berries to be served at the Cliffside Inn.

Nancy Stafford picks fresh berries to be served at the Cliffside Inn.

Summer updates and news from DINE inns

As we move closer and closer to the first day of summer, we wanted to share some tidbits of news from the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England.  From new and blooming gardens to renovated guest rooms, entertainments and a significant birthday here and there, there’s plenty of news to tell.  For those seeking the perfect romantic New England vacation destination this summer or just a little getaway, the Distinctive Inns of New England are ready and waiting with welcoming hospitality and some new offerings to go with it!



The Cliffside Inn has recently welcomed their new summer intern, Vlad, and are looking forward to his fiancé, Tatiana (who worked at the Cliffside Inn last summer) joining him.  Vlad and Tatiana are from a little former Soviet Union country, Moldova.   Look for Vlad and Tatiana over the next three months helping in the yard, and with cooking and housekeeping.  Welcome to Newport, Vlad and Tatiana.

The Gateways Inn & Restaurant recently announced a new  summer lunchtime presentation series called AMERICA’S MUSICAL GREATS.  The series will feature prominent keynote speakers Martin Bookspan, Harvey Granat and Jeremy Yudkin presenting insight into such musical greats as Gershwin, Bernstein, Copeland and many more.   The programs will be presented on Sundays and Wednesdays starting  July 13.  All shows will be limited in seating; first come first to sit. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The Price does not include lunch, which will be served immediately following the presentations.  Click here for a complete schedule.


The Chesterfield Inn has created a whole new look for Room 23.  It’s located in the Wetherby building and includes a gas fireplace, beautiful new bed, wing chairs, and private bath. There’s also a private garden terrace where guests can choose to enjoy a very romantic breakfast for two or even decide to enjoy a private candlelight dinner delivered to this lovely setting.

The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina wants everyone to know that the State of Connecticut “Fan Favorite Town” contest for 2014 has begun. As a reminder, your help and votes last year helped Niantic and the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina capture this honorary title. Casting a vote this year could earn you a FREE 4-night stay at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina this year, so go out and cast your vote, and please share with your facebook friends and get them to vote too. You can vote here: 

New shower in Northern Lights.

In February, while James and Jill of the Captain’s House Inn were on vacation, a pipe burst in the Lydia Harding Suite causing water damage in all three rooms in the Stables building. They worked quickly to repair the damage and made lemons out of lemonade by updating the three rooms with beautiful new hardwood floors, new wall coverings and more.  The bedroom in Wild Hunter went from blue to red; a nice change while maintaining the character of the room.   Look for new wallpaper and a lovely tiled shower in  Northern Light, and the new carpet in the Lydia Harding Suite is so soft, you might just decide to sleep on it!

The Rabbit Hill Inn has added a new garden in back of the inn.  The new garden is located below the shuffleboard court and features assorted miniature ornamental trees, perennials, and edible flowers which you can see in the garden and possibly on your plates in the dining room!

The Manor on Golden Pond recently hosted the winners of the Select Registry 2013 Vacation of a Lifetime.  Michael Hubbard and Sossi Chungrian from Montreal were chosen from 49,853 entries as one of the grand prize winners of the 2013 Vacation of a Lifetime from Select Registry Distinguished Inns in Canada and the United States entitling them to  a free night at all of the nearly 350 Select Registry inns across the United States and Canada. While in New Hampshire, they chose to stay at the Manor on Golden Pond.  Click here to read more.

DeerfieldInn-porchThe Deerfield Inn is celebrating its 130th birthday throughout July and having survived floods, droughts, and hoards of grasshoppers, they have reason to celebrate their legacy!  As their gift to their guests, some rooms have been made available in July for just $130. Afternoon tea and cookies, a full country inn breakfast, and free passes to the museum houses of Historic Deerfield are all part of your stay when you visit this historic inn, one of New England’s original historic inns. 

The 2nd Annual Grafton Food Festival, July 12-13th.

The Grafton Inn is gearing up for the 2nd Annual Grafton Food Festival taking place  July 12-13, 2014.  Look forward to tastings, cooking demos, giveaways, farmers market and a great lodging package to go with it!

Both the Maine inns,  Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden and Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport are tending to their gardens and oh how lovely they are.  While the blooms are not necessary new, each year the gardens come up a little more colorful and a little more beautiful too.  You won’t want to miss them this summer!

Gorgeous gardens at Captain Jefferds Inn

Gorgeous gardens at Captain Jefferds Inn

An aerial view of the garden paths at Camden Maine Stay Inn.

An aerial view of the garden paths at Camden Maine Stay Inn.


Life is short.  Take the vacation.

LifeisShort.LiveitUpThere’s a commercial running on the radio for a company that makes manufactured homes in Maine.  It takes a bold approach.  It says “Life is Short. Build the House”. That’s it.  Nothing more.  Just that simple message is enough to cause listeners to take pause and think about that notion.  Amazingly, just yesterday immediately following that ad came another one where a woman talked about the sudden death of a friend, and her “a ha” moment came when she realized that life is short and she should buy life insurance from AIG.   Having been hit over the head with two “life is short” messages in a row, makes one start to think.

Chances are you spend the greatest amount of  time worrying about how to juggle everything – work, kids, aging parents, husband/wife, perhaps pets, and oh yes, yourself.  And chances are “you” usually come in last, or not at all.   Yet when you think about what really counts in the end, it’s the very people and experiences you worry about that matter most.  Not things.  Not work.  No one lies on their deathbed wishing they spend more time in the office.

We’re in the travel business. Each of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England is in the business of making experiences that really matter to you. Everyday  DINE innkeeepers’  lives are dedicated to creating memories that will be remembered long after the vacation has ended.   We create the glow that lives on with romantic getaways and culinary vacations.  Here in DINE country we kick start romances, host the start of a life together with weddings, elopements and honeymoons, we’ve even been known to save some marriages or to provide solace when death do thee part.  We know how important these memories are and how fleeting the time for vacations can be.

Life is short.  Take the vacation.Most of all, we agree with the ads on the radio.  You never know what can happen.  Life really is short; you never know what’s around the corner, so now is the time to enjoy it.  Seize the day.  Take the vacation.  Throw convention aside and invest in you, your experiences and your soul mate.   Sure, go ahead, plan ahead for a time when you can get away, but don’t let convention get in the way.  You get to come first once in a while.

We encourage you to open your calendar to tomorrow or the next day and write this reminder:  “Life is short.  Take the vacation”.   The DINE member inns will be waiting for your call and looking forward to offering you a little “me” time.  Take some time to sit in the rocker and just talk about what matters.  Take the vacation.

How do DINE gardens grow – Part 2

Last week we took you on an armchair tour of four of the Distinctive Inns of New England’s gardens.  This week, we’re heading to Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts! While reading and photos help to give you an idea of the beauty of our gardens, seeing them in person is really the way to go.  Have you planned your June getaway to any of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England?  Now is the time to come while days are warm, nights are cool (perfect for snuggling) and gardens are just beginning to bloom.  We hope your next New England romantic getaway will be to one of the Distinctive Inns of New England.

Let’s start this week’s garden tour in Newport, RI where the Cliffside Inn has been busy planting.  While it’s still a bit early, spring has sprung beautifully at the Cliffside Inn as color abounds.  We’ll never forget the gorgeous rose bushes there that were still in bloom during our visit in November. We’re still waiting on those, but throughout the summer and fall you’ll have that to look forward to also!

Azalea bushes at Cliffside Inn.

Azalea bushes in full bloom at Cliffside Inn.

Magnolias at Cliffside Inn, Newport, RI

The Magnolias are getting ready to bloom. Soon Cliffside Inn will be a sea of pink flowers.

Spring gardens at Cliffside Inn, Newport, RI

Spring gardens in front of the Cliffside Inn, getting ready to burst into bloom.

Next, our garden tour takes us to stately Lenox, MA where the Berkshire Mountains are aglow in the spring green of May.  The Gateways Inn & Restaurant is getting ready for their spring planting throughout the grounds.  In the meantime, planters next to the front door offer guests a warm welcome to the inn, restaurant and Piano Bar! Stop by for a single malt or some light fare after a show, and watch their schedule for live entertainment!

Gateways Inn entrance, Lenox, MA

Here’s a long view of the entrance to Gateways Inn with planters just filled for spring!

Gateways Inn, flowering bushes, Lenox, MA

Stand on the other side of the entry, and you’ll see flowering bushes in full bloom.

Finally, today’s tour will take us to Lower Waterford, VT and the Rabbit Hill Inn.  Known for its beautiful grounds, Leslie and Brian are adding yet another garden this year.  The new garden will be located in the back yard, below the shuffleboard court and will feature assorted miniature ornamental trees, perennials, & edible flowers.  Here’s a photo of Phase I – the planting phase, of course accomplished in the rain very recently, along with another photo of Brian’s annual trek to pick out the most perfect hanging baskets.

Rabbit Hill Inn garden, Lower Waterford, VT

Phase I of the new garden – Planting! One good thing about the rain this spring – the plants love it!

Hanging baskets at Rabbit Hill Inn, Lower Waterford, VT

Brian picks out the perfect hanging baskets at Sullivan’s Greenhouse & Nursery.

Spring has fully sprung, the grass is fully riz, now we’re hoping that #DINEcountry is where you is!  We know that the sun will shine throughout June.  Mother Nature owes it to us!  Choose between 11 DINE member inns for your next getaway. Each one features beautiful blooms and gorgeous rooms!  Drive safely on your way up!

How do DINE gardens grow

We’re going to take a break from DINEtineraries this week and move to some exquisite photos of gardens, popping into bloom in #DINEcountry.  With an unusually cold winter and spring, the gardens at the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England are a bit behind, but Mother Nature played catch up for a few days recently and warm sunshine helped to make those gardens pop.  Spring time has definitely come to Northern New England DINE inns, and summer is on it’s way to reaching our Southern DINE members.  Time to start planning your spring and summer getaways to DINEcountry!

As you know, the job of an innkeeper requires multiple skills and multi-tasking.  Little did you know, however, that some of our innkeepers are also talented photographers.  Claudio Latanza, innkeeper and co-owner of the Camden Maine Stay not only maintains beautiful gardens, but he sure knows how to capture the beauty of his flowers in photos.  You’ll see gardens like this as you roam the trails through the extensive gardens here.

Delicate flowers are found throughout the gardens at Camden Maine Stay Inn.

Delicate daffodils and tulips are found throughout Camden Maine Stay Inn’s gardens. Photos by Claudio Latanza.

Fiddlehead ferns at Camden Maine Stay Inn.

Fiddleheads aren’t just pretty in the garden, they are a delicacy on the plate too.

Camden Maine Stay Inn's gardens are filled with beautiful tulips.

Tulips covered in morning dew at Camden Maine Stay Inn.

Moving South and West, we look forward each year to the flowering trees that surround the patio at Chesterfield Inn.  Seemingly flowering a little later this year, they’re just about in full bloom and what a pretty painting in pink they make!  Chesterfield Inn innkeeper, Judy Heuber,  is the accomplished photographer that gets credit for these photos.

Pretty in pink trees surround the patio at Chesterfield Inn.

Pink flowering crab apple trees surround the patio at Chesterfield Inn.

Purple phlox are found throughout the garden walkways at Chesterfield Inn.

Purple phlox line the walkways at the Chesterfield Inn.

It’s only approximately a 45 minute drive from the Chesterfield Inn to the Deerfield Inn, even though three states are involved!  Located just 5 miles from the New Hampshire-Vermont border, from the Chesterfield Inn, head into Vermont then south into Western Massachusetts, where you’ll similarly find beautiful blooms throughout Historic Deerfield.  Innkeeper Jane Howard gets the honors for these beautiful photos capturing the blooms in store for you at the Deerfield Inn.

Lillies of the Valley at Deerfield Inn

Even after a 5-foot wall of water wiped out everything in it’s path with Hurricane Irene in 2011, these delicate Lilies of the Valley have come back to Deerfield Inn.

Lilacs on the front desk at the Deerfield Inn.

Lilacs picked from bushes near the inn are found on the front desk at the Deerfield Inn.

Gardens are tucked between the buildings at the Deerfield Inn.

Look for gardens tucked amidst the buildings at the Deerfield Inn.

And lastly, on Cape Cod, gardens are in full swing.  The Captain’s House Inn started planting a little earlier than its northern colleagues, and as they get ready for the busy summer season in Chatham, gardens take a high priority as photos here were taken by innkeeper and co-owner Jill Meyer show.

Gardens at Captain's House Inn.

Flowering gardens are well underway at Captain’s House Inn.

Heirloom tomatoes being planted at Captain's House Inn.

Lynne Meyer, innkeeper and co-owner James Meyer’s Mom, plants heirloom tomatoes raised on Cape Cod. Look forward to some of these tomatoes on breakfast plates later in the summer.

Water feature at Captain's House Inn.

Everyone loves this water feature at Captain’s House Inn.

This is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit #DINEcountry.  While your gardens may call your green thumb at this time of year, let the Distinctive Inns of New England’s gardens beckon you for a relaxing getaway.  Stay tuned to this blog for more photos from DINE gardens.