The Best of Connecticut: The Countryside Elegance of the Mayflower Inn and Spa
In one way, writing about New England’s unparalleled Mayflower Inn and Spa is probably the easiest assignment of our literary careers. However, finding the right superlatives to describe this extraordinary property was no easy task. Let us start with the first one that comes to mind – incredible!
Nestled in a pastoral setting in rural Connecticut this exclusive 58-acre country manor resort in the Litchfield Hills is an easy two-hour drive and many light-years away from the hustle and bustle of busy Manhattan.
This bucolic countryside has not changed much since General George Washington visited northwest Connecticut in 1781. The unspoiled local towns and area’s authentic Yankee homes and antique shops have given rise to a well-deserved reputation as “America’s Antique Capital.”
It is all about elegance
Quintessential rustic the Mayflower Inn is not! This once-upon-a-time private boy’s prep school (note the height of the door knob in picture below) was built in 1894 and is now a Relais & Châteaux, Mobil 5-star, and Connecticut’s only AAA 5-diamond hotel. The Mayflower offers every imaginable luxury to please the appetites of even the fussiest of bons vivants.
The picturesque and spacious scenery surrounding the Mayflower Inn makes its limited hotel capacity of 30 rooms and suites in four buildings even more desirable. Guests have room to stretch and wander – and never feel crowded. Of course, such exclusivity comes at a price, but this resort experience is well worth it and will be remembered for a lifetime.
Our suite was in the Allerton Cottage. Completed in 2005, the Allerton is adjacent to the Mayflower Spa House that opened in 2006. Both are just a short distance from the placid Blue Heron Pond.
We were also within a few minutes walking of the Inn’s historic Mayflower House. This main building has a comfortable registration lobby, several staterooms and suites, meeting rooms, a gift shop, and the Inn’s restaurants and bar.
Each guestroom and suite at the Mayflower is designed to complement the good taste of its patrons. Ultra-luxurious rooms with the warmth of just-right colors abound. There are comfortable feather topped mattress on antique four-poster canopy beds, exquisite oriental rugs, original art, marble baths, and myriad other inspired furnishings.
The Mayflower has artfully created a place-for-living atmosphere in each of its guestrooms that reflects the natural desire for privacy and comfort in elegant surroundings. These are quarters you will not want to leave.
Our visit to the Mayflower took place in the fall when we could enjoy the autumnal colors of New England and the sound of crunching leaves beneath our feet as we explored the grounds of the Mayflower.
We arrived at the Inn in time for dinner, so our first walk was from our quarters to the dining room in the main building.
Entering the lobby of the Mayflower House is like walking into a select portrait gallery with impressive 18th and 19th century oils adorning the walls, staircase, and nearby library.
Passing additional paintings along the corridor to the dining area, one is immediately drawn to the traditionally fine style of the Main Dining Room, and the adjacent Tap Room – a great place to meet or enjoy a beverage and light pub-style meal.
Justin Ermini, Executive Chef at the Mayflower is a virtuoso of taste and culinary presentation. He favors produce, meats, and fish from local sustainable sources and blends all into a chef’s colorful canvas of classically contemporary feasts.
Be sure to engage the assistance of friendly and knowledgeable Food and Beverage Director and Sommelier, John Ciliberto while looking for the best wine to accompany your mains. The Mayflower has a deep and generous selection of wines.
Food plays a cardinal role in the Mayflower experience. Be sure to partake!
You know you are about to experience something spiritually uplifting when you first step from the outside and into the blissful registration foyer. Soft mood-enhancing music immediately accentuates and elevates a room occupied with calming shades of whites and tans.
As we stood and stared at the empty reception desk, we began to feel we were players in a fairytale black and white film depicting souls awaiting entrance into paradise.
At first glance, it appeared there were no doors exiting the divine waiting room. On further study, we noted there were indeed doors, but they were frameless, and blended into the walls in the style often seen in classical English manor houses of the elegant Victorian era.
As we took in our surroundings, and listened to the soothing refrains, we would not have been in the least bit surprised if the spa receptionist was to float down from somewhere above on gossamer wings.
This may all seem a little over-the-top when describing a Spa, but you really must see it to believe it.
The epicenter of this 20,000 square foot slice of heaven is the exquisite Garden Room. It overlooks the serene Blue Heron Pond and coppice beyond – the perfect backdrop. This room invites every guest to relax for the duration – whatever that may mean in this setting where time is graciously abandoned.
We could go on and on describing each of the amazing attributes of the Spa House, such as the exotic soaks, scrubs, aroma-therapeutic rubs, massages, Pedi-treatments, facials, yoga, etc., but that would simply take too long. Instead, we suggest you peruse the 21 pages of Spa Offerings provided by the Inn at: http://www.mayflowerinn.com/pdf/spa_offerings.pdf
Note: Be sure to ask about the indulgent and exclusive five-night Destination Spa Experience!
Neighboring the Mayflower is the Steep Rock Nature Preserve. This beautiful trust has over 4,500 acres of protected land and awaits outdoor-loving guests. There are scenic hiking and biking trails during the shirtsleeve seasons, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are available during the winter months.
Water is another of Connecticut’s natural enticements, and the Shepaug River is less than five-miles from the Mayflower. Also nearby, Lake Waramaug, the Bantam River, and the Housatonic River – waiting for hearty kayak explorers and fly fisherpersons of all ages and skill levels.
Golf and Tennis
The Mayflower has a well-designed putting green, but it does not have its own golf course. Fortunately, there are excellent public courses not far away – the 9-hole Stonybrook Golf Course and the 18-hole Fairview Farms Golf Club.
There is one tennis court on the Mayflower property.
There is a fully equipped fitness club in the Mayflower’s main building, and both indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools on the property.
“The Mayflower Inn and Spa is a luxury New England boutique hotel with historic charm. Whatever your muse, the Mayflower is sure to bestow an unforgettable experience.”
If you go
The Mayflower Inn & Spa is located at 118 Woodbury Road/Route 47 in rural Washington, Connecticut 06793. It is an easy two-hour drive from the New York airports.
We flew to New York from San Francisco on Virgin America. We find Virgin’s in-flight entertainment to be the best in the sky!
© Travels with Wayne and Judy (syndicated)
Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff
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