Historical Inn Tucked into New Hampshire's Lakes Region
When American poet and New England native John Greenleaf Whittier made his last swing through the Granite State in 1891, he settled in to lodge at the Williams Elmwood Inn—which would later become the Wakefield Inn. Today, the Federal-style bed and breakfast that dates back to 1804 has named one of its seven guest rooms after Whittier and aims for the same sense of solitude and hospitality that has drawn the wayfaring wordsmith and various famous figures to the inn for centuries. A fireplace roars in the common room, skilled specialists treat guests to in-room massages, and innkeeper Janel Martin, a classically trained chef, conjures up gourmet breakfasts each morning.
Each of the inn's seven rooms bears a historically significant moniker, a tribute to its famous guests and former innkeepers. Visitors ascend the spiral staircase to one such room, the Frost room, named after original owner William Frost, where a king-size poster bed awaits. In the morning, Martin then prepares the breakfast spread. The menu rotates but consistently includes fresh fruit, home-baked pastries, and a hot main dish. Cookies, fresh fruit, and locally roasted Black Bear Coffee are available in the dining room all day.
Martin also leads three-hour, hands-on cooking classes ($65/person), during which she instructs up to six pupils in the French culinary tradition. Martin covers techniques such as dicing, braising, broiling, and grilling before her students sit down to enjoy their creations and discuss household uses for stale baguettes.
Lakes Region, New Hampshire: Picturesque Mountain Lakes and Charming Small Towns
The 207-year-old inn resides in Sanbornville's historical district, which itself is encompassed by central New Hampshire's picturesque Lakes Region. Charming small towns such as Meredith and Wolfeboro dot the undulating shoreline around Lake Winnipesaukee, which covers 72 square miles. In downtown Meredith, merchants hawk jewelry, books, fine arts and crafts, and homemade candy at Mill Falls Marketplace, a former mill converted to an outdoor shopping plaza. Fifty-one trails wind through 220 acres of fresh, powdery snow draping the nearby Gunstock Mountain Resort, where skiers and snowboarders can admire Lake Winnipesaukee from the summit.
About 80 miles north of the inn, Franconia Notch State Park lies in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest. The state park is perhaps most famous for its former resident, the Old Man of the Mountain—a natural rock formation resembling the profile of an elderly gentleman, which unfortunately collapsed in 2003 after a powerful sneeze. Within the state park, visitors can traverse miles of cross-country skiing, snowshoe, and snowmobile trails.