“After being mesmerized by the beauty and ambiance of Inns, we started thinking about how nice it would be to live as innkeepers in one of these places.”
These were the exact words Denise and Dave Broughton, proud owners of the Wildflowers Inn in North Conway, New Hampshire, conveyed to me when I asked them why they wanted to own a B&B. In 2002 their dream was realized.
What is so interesting about this B&B is the history attached to it. Built in 1878, this cozy Victorian cottage was once the summer home of a distinguished American Constitution historian, lawyer, scholar and Civil War Veteran from Boston, Dr. James Schouler (pronounced Skooler) and his wife Emily Fuller.
Apparently, the Schoulers first visited the area in 1871; fell in love with the surroundings, particularly the magnificent view of Mount Washington, and eventually decided to purchase a disused pasture, where the B&B now sits.
What remains of the original 1878 cottage are the floors, doors, moldings, heating pipes and radiators, windows and most of the walls. Slight additions have been added, here and there, but for the most part the inn has remained intact, as pictured in an 1879 issue of The American Architect and Building News. Notice the price tag at the time – $5000, a huge sum of money at the time! It was the first of several summer residences reflecting an era when socialites from Boston and New York would rendezvous in Conway.
Wildflower Inn maintains an unhurried gentility consisting of nine guest rooms all with private baths. Each room comes with air conditioning, ceiling fans, and data port, fireplaces, hot tubs, whirlpool tubs, radios, satellite/cable TV, and telephones. In addition, there is onsite, a BBQ grill, board games, computer, copier, desk, fax machine, Internet service, library, piano, VCR, washer/dryer and a wet bar, outdoor hot tub, gazebo, electronic dart board, pool table, cribbage and chess.
A full country breakfast is a refreshing eye-opener and is included with the room rate, served in the breakfast/dining area. Complimentary soft drinks and water are always available in the fridge near the outdoor balcony. Afternoon tea and light snacks are also provided.
No matter the time of year, romance is always in season at the Wildflowers Inn. The B&B even offers a special romance package where the lucky couple is treated to a dinner and champagne in your suite. Denise and Dave can also arrange a sleigh ride where you can cuddle up and enjoy a winter’s moon.
Since acquiring the B&B, Denise indicated that there have been 5 honeymoon couples that have enjoyed their warm hospitality. One was a couple that kept everyone in the dark about their elopement. The hosts learned about the marriage in the journal that is left in their guests’ rooms eliciting comments and suggestions. Denise exclaimed: “they were a sweet young couple whose own family did not know that they just eloped. It brought tears to my eyes! Had I’d known, we would have done something special for them, like breakfast in bed, arrange for a romantic dinner out, get them a nice bouquet for their room with a card of congrats – something!!”
What makes this B&B so special and remarkable is what lies beyond it. Small villages and big mountains are everywhere to be seen. There is so much to do – usually the challenge is finding enough time to fit it all in.
Just minutes away from the inn, and a definite must, is a visit to the first man-made tourist attraction in the USA, the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Sometimes described as “the road to the sky,” it is over 142 years old, and can boast of having the first mountain climbing Cog Railway. Another great attraction is the Conway Scenic Railway where you will travel back in time. The inn is within easy reach to Alpine or Nordic skiing, hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing, swimming, horseback riding, golf, snow-shoeing, snowmobiling, or just having a mesmerizing experience watching the world go by from the gazebo at the back of the property with a spectacular view of Mount Washington.
To top the day off, romantic dining pleasures span an impressive line-up, and are within a short distance from Wildflowers Inn.
The 1785 Inn located steps away from Wildflowers Inn provides the ideal spot for a candlelight romantic tête-à-tête. Their menu ranks among the finest in the area. From the moment you step into the dinning room until the moment you leave, you will be pampered with outstanding service and treated to exquisite romantic dining.
Owners of 1785 Inn, Charlie and Becky Mallar, take immense pride in the service, hospitality and the quality of the restaurant’s various dishes that range from raspberry duckling, sherried rabbit, veal and lobster, rack of lamb to veal and shrimp. A word of caution, leave enough room to savor the mouth watering handmade desserts created under the direction of Becky.
It is no wonder it has consistently received such coveted awards such as the Golden Fork Award for 1996 through 2002, the Wine Spectator‘s “Award of Excellence” for 1986 through 2002, and the Gourmet Diners Society award.
Another great choice is Notchland Inn about 20 minutes from the Wildflowers Inn in the smallest town in New Hampshire, Hart’s Location.
The dining facilities are located within an 1860’s granite mansion on 100’s acres of incredible mountain panoramic views of Mount Crawford and Hope. Adorning the walls of the restaurant are the watercolors of the Frankenstein brothers, who were members of the Hudson River School.
Each evening at 7 P.M. the inn features a creative one sitting 5-course dinner that feels as if you are attending an intimate private dinner party rather than a traditional restaurant. Guests are seated at individual tables in a romantic fire placed dining room overlooking the magnificent gardens and ponds. The chef creates new menus each day wherein you have a choice of 2 soups, 2 appetizers, 3 entrées, salad and 3 desserts. There is also an excellent choice of wines and beers. Lily and I sampled the Polynesian Salmon and we both agreed it was unbelievably scrumptious. Other choices included Marsala pork medallions and apple mustard chicken. The dessert – well when you have to choose among bittersweet chocolate waffle, strawberry and plum sorbets or espresso pot de crème – what can you say?
Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau
North Conway, NH