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The Mansion at Bald Hill
We’ve figured out why it’s really called the Quiet Corner: When you visit, you’re too awestruck by the beauty surrounding you to say a word. With rivers and lakes, forests and farms, B&Bs and antiques shops aplenty, it’s hard to find a more charming and peaceful area of the state. And there’s no better time to visit the northeast corner than fall, when the foliage is in all its glory.
For your home away from home, it’s gotta be the Mansion at Bald Hill, a historic landmark in South Woodstock. This secluded B&B is hidden from the road by dense woods and accessed by a long, winding driveway, but once you arrive at the mansion you’re greeted by everything a mansion should have—open space, white columns, stone walls and lush gardens. With four stories and 21 rooms, the 13,000-square-foot mansion was built by heiress Roxanna
Wentworth Bowen in 1892 and used as her summer home. It’s now serving as a B&B with six spacious rooms (three of which are suites), including the Bald Hill Suite, a comfortable room with a fireplace, king-sized bed, window seat, private bath with a claw-foot tub, and an adjoining room with a pull-out sofa.
There’s also an onsite restaurant—a recent addition by the new management, co-owners Joel Theriaque and Scott Plantier (who double as incredibly talented chefs), and general manager Janet Waterman. Dining is spread out through different rooms on the first floor and on the terrace. We especially love dining in the formal library, decorated in green and gold and featuring a fireplace (one of thirteen in the house) and floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with books, photos and other keepsakes. The food is, in a word, terrific. The native sweet corn salad and baked onion soup au gratin are great starters, and standout entrées include the grilled nine-ounce filet mignon, pan-seared diver scallops with jumbo shrimp and sesame-seared tuna. Whatever you order, add on a side of lobster mac ’n’ cheese—you won’t be disappointed. After dinner, enjoy a drink or two at the bar in the sitting room adjacent to the library.
In the morning, head downstairs for a great breakfast, freshly prepared by Scott and Joel and served in the sitting room. Enjoy scones, muffins, fruit and yogurt parfait, plus a main dish such as the delectable Bananas Foster French toast with bacon.
While it’d be easy to spend the entire weekend at the mansion (and believe us, you’ll be tempted), there’s plenty around for those who want to venture out. Nearby attractions include Roseland Cottage, a National Historic Landmark that was once the summer home of philanthropist Henry C. Bowen and his family. Available for tours, the cottage will also host its Fine Arts and Crafts Festival Oct. 16-17. Be sure to also check out Roseland Park, a serene spot with more than 60 acres of wooded land set along Roseland Lake, where the Bowens used to host their annual Fourth of July parties.
For an authentic British tea shop experience, visit Mrs. Bridge’s Pantry, which offers a tearoom serving lunch and a shop carrying giftware, tea and other food items. Antiquers, you might want to spend some quality time perusing McClellan Elms Antiques for early country, folk art, Americana and primitive antiques.
Taylor Brooke Winery, on the Connecticut Wine Trail, is also right down the road. After a tasting and a self-guided tour of the vineyard, toast a lovely fall weekend with a glass of their own Autumn Raspberry.
And here’s a unique way to check out the fall foliage: up in the air. Head to Brighter Skies Ballooning for a spectacular sunrise or presunset balloon flight, complete with breakfast and champagne. Experiencing the breathtaking scenery of northeastern Connecticut from the basket of a big, beautiful hot-air balloon is something you’ll never forget.
For more information, call (860) 974-3456 or visit mansionatbaldhill.com.