Living in the Boston area, when was the last time you drank tap water that tasted better than bottled? And for that matter, when was the last time you spent an evening NOT watching television? When was the last time you put together a puzzle?
As one of the chosen destinations in the popular book, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” winding down is the name of the game at the Rabbit Hill Inn, where luxury meets downtime and old-fashioned romance, if that’s what you want. And the tap water is spring water. Whether solo or as a couple, a weekend spent in this Northern Vermont hideaway is just what the doctor ordered for many, including the Innkeepers, Leslie and Brian Mulcahy.
Since 1795, this quaint inn (located in a village with a current population of 72) has been re-named from The Samuel Hodby Tavern, to The Valley House in 1855, running as an inn until 1912, when the Bowman’s converted it into a private home — until 1919, when Mr. & Mrs. J.W. Davies (wife is Marian Lombard Davies from Reading, Mass.) purchased the so-named Valley House Inn with monies from a landslide invention of homogenization they brought from Europe to the U.S. Once in the small village, the couple bought up almost all the property in Lower Waterbury, Vermont, and kept the main house of the inn as a private home — until they sold the estate in 1957.
The new owners converted the cozy, yet spacious home into the Rabbit Hill Inn, named for the tobogganing hill’s rabbit warrens and hutches. It was sold five more times until 1994, when guests Leslie and Brian Mulcahy of Rhode Island became Assistant Innkeepers – and finally, in 1997, the couple purchased the Inn they’ve been happily running for about 18 years.
Within its 19 rooms today — one with a hidden door, many offer updated amenities such as jacuzzi’s and gas fireplaces. The Music Room, which is where my husband and I stayed, has a pump organ which was once part of the church across the way, a gas fireplace, four-poster bed with crocheted canopy, and several designer details that sing music – a mini-harp and artwork in the same theme.
Yes, the service is impeccable, with friendly faces greeting you every step inside. Yes, the menu in the dining room has consistenly earned four-diamonds and yes, the rooms are cleaned as if newly renovated. But th real feel of the deal at Rabbit Hill Inn is in the Federal Parlor that connects to the lounge (that was once a dance floor), where you’ll find smal tables to put together puzzles galore to pass the time without much effort. And on Saturdays from 2-4:30 p.m., this area is where you’ll want to be. Sometimes venison stew is served, but this time we enjoyed seafood chowder, fresh buns and vanilla tea. The chowder was kept warm in a cast iron pot that hung on an iron rod connected in the wood fireplace. Cozy, charming, cast back in time, we relaxed for tea-time five hours after a hearty breakfast at Rabbit Hill Inn, and a morning spent driving to nearby attractions, such as Goodrich’s Maple Farm and Cabot Creamery.
Click here for the conclusion of my visit to Northern Vermont.