Yet another New England travel question for the pile...
March 12, 2015 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a snuggly kick-back but still a little fancy and yet not insanely expensive restorative non-kid trip within a four hour radius of Western Massachusetts. We like: beer, food, being able to toddle back to a hotel after a drinky dinner, soft lights, being able to talk about grown up things ...

...dislikes include parking lot views, people harshing our mellow, bright lights.

Would like to stay in a nice room (fancy enough to hang out in and drink a little wine) with a fireplace and a non-parking lot view near to bars to get drinks and a mildly fancy place to have dinner.

Can someone recommend anything specific? I am overwhelmed by Portland, Ogunquit, Brattleboro, Burlington, Portsmouth -- these are all places that fit the bill but there are many of them and I'm looking for these specific variables most of all: nice place with fireplace, walking distance of nice restaurants, low-key but a little bit fancy (like not looking for roadside stand type things--would like to maybe dress a little nice but not past 'nice' into 'uncomfortable'.) It's hard to take each individual city and try to figure out whether potential places meet the criteria, so I'm hoping someone has something specific to point to.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Shelburne Farms, just a bit away from Burlington. I cannot recommend this place highly enough. You stay in a Gilded Age vacation home on a working farm, still owned by the family and with original furnishings. The gardens outside the house/inn go right up to the shore on Lake Champlain. Dinner downstairs is fairly fancy and in the "farm-to-table" style, plus there are loads of comfy places to enjoy a glass of wine and a nice view and/or a book. Customer service is tippy top-notch.
posted by witchen at 9:25 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Willard St. Inn in Burlington, VT. Fireplaces in all the rooms, walkable to fab restaurants and pubs of varying degrees of fanciness (well, Vermont fanciness.)
posted by kapers at 10:14 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm fond of the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront in Portland, ME because of its great Old Port location and access to lots of good food/beverage, including the Standard Baking Company and Fore Street literally next door. Nice fireplace in the lobby, but not in the rooms. You want to book carefully though, specifically asking for an upper level room (quieter) with an unobstructed view of the bay. Protip for Portland, make reservations for restaurants in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Norwich Inn in Norwich, VT, which has its on brewery and pub is also an option. One note though, rooms and room views vary quite a bit, so ask for specifics and even photos prior to booking, to avoid disappointment. It's also cheek by jowl to Dan & Whit's. You will want a car for most stuff if you go there though. There's other good food in Norwich itself, and you are also very close to Hanover, NH, and within easy driving distance to Quechee, VT, both of which have nice places to eat. In Quechee, there is Simon Pearce.
posted by gudrun at 11:42 AM on March 12, 2015

Shelburne Farms is very nice, but you would be in a very nice house on a big demonstration farm. You'd need to drive to get to bars.

My wife and I spent a very relaxing few days at the Squam Lake Inn, in Holderness, NH, near Lake Winnipesaukee. They have rooms with fireplaces, a very nice restaurant in the inn, and several other restaurants a short walk away in town.
posted by brianogilvie at 12:16 PM on March 12, 2015

The Porches Inn. Great place in North Adams, Mass, right across the street from the Mass Museum of Contemporary Art. North Adams is still rough around the edges, but PUBLIC is a good, walkable restaurant option. Hit up Jack's Hot Dogs to rub shoulders with the locals. Next town over is Williamstown, where you'll find the Clark museum and the beautiful campus of Williams College.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:50 PM on March 12, 2015

I love Portsmouth! It is very cute and scenic but there is a lot to do - eat (good mix of nice restaurants and casual pub-types), drink (even has a brew pub!), fancy hotels and more economical hotels, plus lots to do outside or on the water. York, Maine is also extremely close if you want to take a scenic drive up the coast.
posted by linder6 at 1:31 PM on March 12, 2015

I know the folks who own the Snapdragon Inn in Windsor, VT. I can't speak to the town itself* (though having grown up in VT I'd say you might expect to drive to a restaurant or two, but enjoy the trip thoroughly), but the Inn looks amazing. The family are wonderful people, they've done amazing things with this great, historic building, and apparently run it so well that not only do they have scads of great reviews online, but even Gordon Ramsay gave the place his personal thumbs-up when he stayed a couple of years ago. If I were looking for a vacation like you describe, I'd seriously consider this place.

*I did grow up near and, for a short time, in nearby Woodstock, which is a gorgeous town and rightfully a popular destination for NE tourism. I hear the food & drink scene has gotten fantastic in recent years, too.
posted by AthenaPolias at 2:18 PM on March 12, 2015

Totally go to Portsmouth. It has everything you want. Stay at the Hotel Portsmouth . It's charming but design-y and updated. You'll be within walking distance of several craft breweries and farm-to-table restaurants, live music, great strolling, a couple of bookstores and plenty of shopping as well as outdoor stuff and beaches a little farther afield.
posted by Miko at 7:18 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have you ruled out Northampton? Amherst?
posted by bendy at 7:59 PM on March 12, 2015

Saratoga Springs, Portsmouth, Newport, and Portland are all places I've done just that.
posted by mearls at 7:18 PM on March 13, 2015

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