What’s Inn Your Christmas Package?




I come from the generation that gets many of its best ideas and memories from TV. So it may not be surprising that when I think of this season, I think of John-Boy Walton and his grandpa, wearing homemade scarves to protect against the cold, venturing out into the forest to pick out and chop down the family Christmas tree. That evening, the family would gather, share cookies and cider and camaraderie, and maybe head back outside for a few minutes of ice skating before calling it a night. Does this sound like the sort of holiday so perfect that it could only exist on TV? Think again! Many of New Hampshire’s B&Bs and inns offer packages this time of year that include — in addition to the requisite cozy hearth and window panes lightly frosted with snow — everything from sleigh rides to ice skating to cookie walks. And yes — you can chop down your own Christmas tree. The season kicks off with special Thanksgiving offerings throughout the state — these tend to focus on family and food. And oh, the food! — Henniker’s Colby Hill Inn promises that you’ll wake up to the heavenly smell of pumpkin pies baking in the oven, and the Snowvillage Inn near North Conway offers classes in creating your own Thanksgiving and holiday treats that will be remembered forever. If you find the seasonal spirit hasn’t kicked in just yet, the Inn at Crystal Lake in Eaton Center has just the solution with its perfect “Get Ready for the Holidays” deal Nov. 18-20. The 1884 Greek Revival style, three-story inn — it began as a residence, then boarding home, and has lived its life as a camp and as a co-ed boarding school — offers a complete dinner with wine, cooking demos and crafts fair. Life can be happily contemplated in any of the common rooms, including a large library with fireplace or a media room fully equipped with DVDs and big-screen television. You might also have occasion to induce owner Tim Ostendorf to sing a bit — he’s a trained opera singer. And, you’ll go home with a Christmas wreath. What better way to get into the spirit? Once you’re in the spirit, where else would you be inspired to chop down your own tree but in the little town of Bethlehem? The Adair Inn — a 200-acre property with rooms named for the mountains you can find through its windows — sits next to The Rocks, a Christmas tree farm run responsibly by the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests. You can harvest your own tree, or you can choose one and have it cut down and shipped to you. The Adair is a 10-room inn (there’s also a cottage available for rent) that has served as a getaway for 75 years. Standard amenities include fleece bathrobes, reading chairs in every room, CD players and, of course, chocolates. But there’s more: afternoon tea (perhaps the best way to recharge and relax after a hard day of chopping and shopping). And on winter weekends, how about a horse-drawn carriage ride? (This is limited, so ask ahead.) The Rocks next door also offers cross-country trails, and Bethlehem is conveniently situated near a bunch of downhill areas (Cannon Mountain, Loon, Bretton Woods). If your ideal season includes less frosty air and more culinary indulgence, there’s the December Inn to Inn Cookie Tour, put together by inns in the White Mountains (including the Inn at Crystal Lake). This is a highly serious competition — you’ll find none of that “oh let’s just buy some of those pretty packaged cookies and pretend we made them ourselves” here — and for visitors, the tour is no chore. For about $25 (the cost is included in the packages offered by many properties in the area, including the Inn at Jackson, the Darby Field Inn in Albany), you go from inn to inn, collecting samples and hospitality. And you go home with a cookie cookbook and a very, very satisfied sweet tooth. The Waltons couldn’t do it better. NH Victoria Shouldis is a freelance writer who lives in Concord. ! Many of New Hampshire’s B&Bs and inns offer packages this time of year that include — in addition to the requisite cozy hearth and window panes lightly frosted with snow — everything from sleigh rides to ice skating to cookie walks. And yes — you can chop down your own Christmas tree. The season kicks off with special Thanksgiving offerings throughout the state — these tend to focus on family and food. And oh, the food! — Henniker’s Colby Hill Inn promises that you’ll wake up to the heavenly smell of pumpkin pies baking in the oven, and the Snowvillage Inn near North Conway offers classes in creating your own Thanksgiving and holiday treats that will be remembered forever. If you find the seasonal spirit hasn’t kicked in just yet, the Inn at Crystal Lake in Eaton Center has just the solution with its perfect “Get Ready for the Holidays” deal Nov. 18-20. The 1884 Greek Revival style, three-story inn — it began as a residence, then boarding home, and has lived its life as a camp and as a co-ed boarding school — offers a complete dinner with wine, cooking demos and crafts fair. Life can be happily contemplated in any of the common rooms, including a large library with fireplace or a media room fully equipped with DVDs and big-screen television. You might also have occasion to induce owner Tim Ostendorf to sing a bit — he’s a trained opera singer. And, you’ll go home with a Christmas wreath. What better way to get into the spirit? Once you’re in the spirit, where else would you be inspired to chop down your own tree but in the little town of Bethlehem? The Adair Inn — a 200-acre property with rooms named for the mountains you can find through its windows — sits next to The Rocks, a Christmas tree farm run responsibly by the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests. You can harvest your own tree, or you can choose one and have it cut down and shipped to you. The Adair is a 10-room inn (there’s also a cottage available for rent) that has served as a getaway for 75 years. Standard amenities include fleece bathrobes, reading chairs in every room, CD players and, of course, chocolates. But there’s more: afternoon tea (perhaps the best way to recharge and relax after a hard day of chopping and shopping). And on winter weekends, how about a horse-drawn carriage ride? (This is limited, so ask ahead.) The Rocks next door also offers cross-country trails, and Bethlehem is conveniently situated near a bunch of downhill areas (Cannon Mountain, Loon, Bretton Woods). If your ideal season includes less frosty air and more culinary indulgence, there’s the December Inn to Inn Cookie Tour, put together by inns in the White Mountains (including the Inn at Crystal Lake). This is a highly serious competition — you’ll find none of that “oh let’s just buy some of those pretty packaged cookies and pretend we made them ourselves” here — and for visitors, the tour is no chore. For about $25 (the cost is included in the packages offered by many properties in the area, including the Inn at Jackson, the Darby Field Inn in Albany), you go from inn to inn, collecting samples and hospitality. And you go home with a cookie cookbook and a very, very satisfied sweet tooth. The Waltons couldn’t do it better. NH Victoria Shouldis is a freelance writer who lives in Concord.
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