In the heart of rural New Hampshire within the Lakes District, you’ll find a classically traditional inn perched on a beautiful piece of land that overlooks Pleasant Lake. The Inn at Pleasant Lake has been around since the mid-1800’s and is now under new management.
This precious property is a great choice for a long weekend away for Boston and New York City dwellers or for an extended stay if you’re looking for a relaxing and quiet week surrounded by nature. It’s also ideal if you want to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.
Set in a Cape Cod–style house built in 1790, this upscale old fashioned gem faces Pleasant Lake and Mount Kearsarge, and lies two miles from New London Barn Playhouse, a useful factoid for the culturally and artistically minded among you.
They offer complimentary wifi of course, but it’s the kind of place you may just want to do a digital detox and read that novel on your list instead or take long leisurely walks. Or, even better — sit on one of their Adirondack chairs and breathe in the lake and mountains before you, with your favorite glass of wine that is…
It’s small at only ten rooms but that’s what makes it so intimate and relaxing. All of the rooms are beautifully adorned with antiques and turn of the century decor, including elegant and classic wood furniture and en suite bathrooms, with views on all sides. The suites add separate living rooms with pull-out sofas, and some also have whirlpool tubs, desks and/or flat-screen TVs.
Hot breakfast is served in a refined restaurant every morning and afternoon tea is offered on a patio or porch. Given that I’ve lived in both England and South Africa, afternoon tea time really spoke to the Brit inside me.
What may call many of you however is not the inn itself but the natural beauty surrounding it. There’s a private beach, so if you’re trying to get away from crowds and a noisy stressful urban life, this is your New Hampshire getaway. Because there’s a limited number of rooms however, I’d recommend booking well in advance.
On the main floor, all the rooms are classically New England — think fireplaces, paintings from the turn of the century, antiques, fine printed flowered wall paper in some of the rooms, drapes and oriental throw rugs.
Despite the fact that the inside of the inn is ever so charming and inviting, my favorite part of the property is outside with its lovely courtyard, seating area and views of the lake.
Below, one of their guest rooms.
One of the unique experiences they offer is personalized upscale meals in their main dining room or sunporch depending on how many people they have booked. The number ranges from around 15 to 50 and in our case, there were around 18 people reserved on one quiet August evening where we watched the sun set as appetizers were served.
Bryan Leary is the new chef on board, who is friendly, educational and engaging — he’ll visit your table towards the end of your meal and talk to you at great length about his meal choices for the serial foodies who want to go there. Prior to the meal, he weaves you into his culinary spell by laying out each dish you’ll taste in advance just to whet your appetite.
Our favorite dish of the evening was the very first one — a sweet beet farm oven roasted purple finger eggplant and heirloom tomato soup with crispy onion and purple Opal Basil Parmesean oil. Oh so yum!!
Next up was a fresh Spring Ledge Farm Mesclun Green salad with yellow teardrop tomatoes, marinated cucumbers, Toasted Pignolias, crumbled goat cheese and saved prosciutto tossed in a Dijon Champagne Vinaigrette.
To cleanse your palette, he included a white peach sorbet as an entremezzo — the white peaches are from Melicks Town Farm in New Jersey. I asked as I was curious just how many of their ingredients are locally sourced.
Whatever Bryan doesn’t get from the Kearsarge Food Hub, he gets from nearby farms including Spring Ledge Farm, Sweet Beet Farm, Battles Farm, Cavendish Farm, Blue Ox Farm, Stone Cipher Farm, Song Away Farm, Sanders Seafood Market and Pineland Farms. We applaud their efforts for farm-t0-table best practices and trying to keep it as organic as possible.
In our case, entrees included a choice of Roasted USDA Beef Tenderloin with a Sweet Onion Madeira Mushroom Demi Sweet Pea Puree, with Micro Greens and Grilled Asparagus or a Pan-Seared Red Snapper with a Mango Basil Beurre Blanc, Chive Oil, Crab Salad, Sauteed Blue Ox Farm Pole Beans and fresh garlic. Of course, we had to try them both and while the snapper incredibly fresh and delicious, the tenderloin melted in my mouth, so it gets my top vote.
Dessert was a Tiramisu Cheesecake with espresso, amaretto and a cookie crumble with Raspberry Coulis and creme fraiche. This personalized dining experience is a fixe price and reservations must be made in advance as there is only a one set time seating.