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Thanksgiving at a Country Inn

by Barbara Rogers

Nov 24, 2019

Stillman Rogers

Destinations / North America

Whether your Thanksgiving will be dinner for two and you can’t face the prospect of all that leftover turkey or you’d just love to have a family holiday when you’re not orchestrating a major production, country inns can come to the rescue. They are filled with traditional charm and old-fashioned hospitality, and many have outstanding dining rooms that make them destinations of their own. Most serve traditional Thanksgiving dinners with all the fixings, and no leftovers for you to store or dishes to wash.


New England is famed for its country inns, so there’s plenty of choices, and if you travel any distance, you can combine dinner with an overnight or longer stay and make it a mini vacation.


Deerfield Inn

Set amid beautifully preserved colonial homes, Deerfield Inn is actually part of the open-air museum village of Historic Deerfield, in central Massachusetts. Guests are welcomed by a warming blaze in the lobby fireplace, and the entire inn rings of traditional holiday hospitality.  The inn is known for its farm-to-table cuisine based on local ingredients, and the annual Thanksgiving dinner is a celebration of the local harvest. This year, for those who live nearby, the inn is offering “turkey to go” dinners. You can book online to combine Thanksgiving dinner with a two-night stay and save $100 off your second night.


Oxford House Inn

The lovely bungalow-style Oxford House Inn, in Fryeburg, Maine, is small and best known for its dining room. They outdo themselves at Thanksgiving, serving a full-course traditional turkey dinner with extras to please even those who don’t like turkey. Thanksgiving dinner might begin with a first course of pumpkin ravioli, and, in addition to the turkey and fixings, might be pan-roasted halibut or grilled salmon.


The Wentworth

In the center of the lovely village of Jackson, in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, The Wentworth blurs the line between country inn and grand hotel. One of the few remaining of the region’s elegant resort hotels, it is smaller and has an intimate warmth of an inn. One of its oldest traditions is the annual Thanksgiving dinner. Respecting the inn’s farm-to-table ethic of provisioning from local sources, appetizer choices include foraged forest mushrooms under a buttery pastry, and the second course is a butternut squash bisque made with apple cider. The turkey was raised in Jackson, and there are alternative choices for the no-turkey set. Carrying on with seasonal ingredients are the desserts: apple galette, pumpkin ice cream and maple sweet potato pecan pie.


Winter at The Wentworth Inn, Jackson. Photo: Stillman Rogers


Old Inn on the Green

The most atmospheric surroundings for Thanksgiving dinner are in the candle-lit dining rooms of the Old Inn on the Green in the Berkshire town of Marlborough, Massachusetts. The wood-paneled dining rooms are highlighted by murals in the traditional style of 18th-century itinerant artists and are lit entirely by candles and firelight. Wrought-iron chandeliers, sconces and tabletop candles cast a mellow glow, and large fireplaces make diners feel as though they’d stepped back to the inn’s origins in the 1700s. The chef creates a multicourse Thanksgiving dinner respecting all the traditions, but with his own distinctive flair.


Old Inn On The Green. Photo: Stillman Rogers


Think of it — no turkey to roast and pies to bake, no week of dinners based on leftover turkey, no dishes and roasting pans to wash. Most of these inns have suites or adjoining rooms for kids, so why not break with tradition and take a mini vacation with your family?


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