Antique brass dock lanterns hang from the rough wooden beams that intersperse the dining room at Afton House Inn. They serve a purpose greater than their illuminative function, however. They are symbolic reminders of the Inn’s past, when its founders relied on far-off lamplight to navigate the banks of the St. Croix River. This Reserve selection invites you to follow the lights and explore the cuisine of Afton House Inn with a three-course dinner for two. The dinner includes the following:
- Two salads
- Two entrees
- Two desserts
Owner Kathy Jarvis describes the dining room as both rustic and romantic, although it doesn’t take an insider to identify these themes. The earth-toned environment is speckled with antiques and framed photographs commemorating 145 years of history, with candlelit settings and gleaming wine glasses adding an ambiance ideal for intimate conversation.
The menu follows suit, striking a balance between comfort and elegance in dishes such as the coffee-braised peppercorn short rib, which begins in a 24-hour brine with coffee, brown sugar, and guajillo chili. It is Ms. Jarvis’s favorite item on the menu, and in her words, “fantastic.” For Reserve diners, the house offers to prepare its specialty short ribs in an off-the-menu fashion with housemade horseradish. “We want to provide them with something special,” Jarvis says, “something that we don’t do every day.” Diners may also select other entrees from the prix fixe menu, which will be shaped around seasonal ingredients.
Dessert at Afton House Inn also changes as the St. Croix Valley takes on fiery autumn hues. Diners will be provided with several options, which have been known to include apple-walnut bread pudding, black russian bundt cake, and housemade chocolate truffles. As an after-dinner accent, Reserve diners will receive a complimentary cordial tasting at Swirl, the in-house wine bar, which regularly hosts tastings with winemakers and uses glasses shaped specifically to complement the flavor notes of each wine and the hand shape of each drinker.
Afton House Inn
Dozens of deluxe rooms roost within Afton House Inn's historic walls, where guests relax amid antique furniture and sate hungers in onsite restaurants. The beneficiaries of thoughtful renovations, deluxe rooms feature en suite jacuzzis, gas fireplaces, TVs, and balconies that overlook the St. Croix River, home to passing cruises and vacationing albatrosses. Antiques and oriental rugs lend each room its own distinctive charm, whereas downstairs, Current Restaurant embraces modernity. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients conspire in seafood-centric entrees and small plates on an approachable menu. Diners sample gluten-free pan-seared scallops with baby bok choy under gilded ruby-red ceiling lights while debating Heidegger’s theory on ordering dessert before dinner.