Mount Washington Hotel | Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Mount Washington Hotel

This week I am heading up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to spend Thanksgiving in a charming cabin. I will also be back at Mount Washington Hotel for a nice meal and a drink or two. With that in mind, I'm looking back at my stay at the gorgeous resort only last month.

In the hotel's palatial lobby

Mount Washington Hotel, which opened in 1902, is part of the grand, turn-of-the-century resort tradition. Wealthy, city families spent entire summers in these resorts, trading in the urban heat and congestion for cool mountain breezes and scenic vistas.

The hotel's balcony

A balcony with a view

It's impossible to convey just how breathtaking the resort and its surroundings are when you first come upon them. Leaving our families at home for yet another of our travel adventures, my best friend, Emily, and I were stunned at the majestic presence of the resort as we drove up to it. The pristine white resort, with its imperial bearing, sat amongst the mountains like a king on a throne.

Emily and I doing our selfie thing in the lobby restroom, as we are wont to do!

Our beautiful room had a gorgeous, mountain view and two comfy queen beds.

The view from our room

We loved all the period details in the room and bathroom!

A hotel as old as this will always come with a ghost story. This is what drew Emily and I to it in the first place. The rumored resident ghost at the Mount Washington Hotel is referred to as the princess. Carolyn Stickney (aka the princess) was the wife of the man who dreamed up this hotel, Joseph Stickney. Unfortunately, he died only a year after it opened, and Carolyn later married a European prince. Even after her remarriage, she spent summers at the grand hotel. She was known to stand at the balcony overlooking the main dining room to see what the other guests were wearing, and if she felt she was outdone by anyone else, she'd change her clothes to be the best dressed woman at the dining table.

A portrait of the princess looking over her balcony

The hotel lobby

One of the most unique features of the Mount Washington Hotel is The Cave, a basement level prohibition speakeasy. Drinks are still served after-hours in this hidden, dark, interesting space.

At the entrance of The Cave.

A prohibition set-up in the Cave

Mount Washington Hotel is an impressive beauty. There is so much to explore in all the historic rooms and striking details found wherever you turn, that you almost don't want to leave, even to see the natural beauty of the area. And it is rather cozy to just view nature from the comfortable chairs of the hotel's porches!

Though we never encountered any ghostly visitors, the hotel's atmosphere has a special way of transporting you to another time and place. It is an enchanting, old, grand resort that has cast its spell on us, and we'll return to its turn-of-the-century charm for years to come!


Thanksgiving Cocktail | Cinnamon Toast Cocktail

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I wanted to make a completely decadent dessert cocktail for after the meal. So, this week it's a cinnamon toast cocktail! Not only is cinnamon one of my favorite flavors, the rich spice fits in nicely with a Thanksgiving menu.

4 oz Rumchata
2 oz vanilla vodka
1/2-3/4 oz Fireball whiskey
spoonful of powdered sugar
cinnamon and sugar mix for glass rim

Dip glass rim into water or simple syrup. Then coat rim in cinnamon and sugar mix. Pour Rumchata, vanilla vodka, fireball whiskey, and powdered sugar into ice-filled shaker. Shake well. Pour into glass and add a pinch of the cinnamon, sugar mix to the top of the drink.

Enjoy! I plan on making this cocktail for everyone at the cabin on Thursday and I can't wait. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


A Night at Longfellow's Wayside Inn | Sudbury, Massachusetts

Earlier this year I wrote an article for Yankee Magazine online about the rumored ghost, Jerusha Howe, at Longfellow's Wayside Inn. The area she is said to frequent the most is room #9, her former bedroom.

I don't know what to call myself when it comes to ghosts, a hopeful skeptic or a skeptical believer, but whatever you want to call it, I take every claim with a grain of salt, especially when a ghost comes with a name and a whole story behind it. If there are ghosts, I wonder, how does everyone seem to know it's this particular person and for this particular reason they are haunting a place? Most reported ghost encounters are fleeting, vague, and without explanation given to the witness from the supernatural source. Though I am a skeptic and prefer to take all natural explanations into account first, I have always been endlessly curious about the paranormal, history, and all things spooky. I am drawn to it like a moth to flame; and so it was probably destined from the onset of writing the Yankee Magazine article that I would stay a night in Jerusha's room at some point.

As with almost all my adventures, especially of the spooky variety, I brought my best friend, Emily, with me. We booked a room, she came in from South Carolina, and off we went to the beautiful Wayside Inn. Haunted or not, the Wayside Inn is one of my favorite places in the world. I could spend hours wandering its grounds or sitting in its 300 year old bar room. I highly recommend anyone visiting the Boston area to go out of their way to visit the Wayside Inn for a drink, a meal, or an overnight stay. You won't regret it!

The barn at the Wayside Inn was an especially beautiful sight during our October visit.

The Grist Mill at the Wayside Inn provides at beautiful backdrop for photos or a stroll.

The old Redstone Schoolhouse and the Martha Mary Chapel are both on the Wayside Inn property.

Most of the evening, Emily and I spent our time in the old bar room. We had meant to eat a full dinner in one of the dining rooms, but the welcoming, cozy ambiance of the bar room, especially as we sat by the fireplace, kept us from wanting to leave (you can read another post I wrote about the Wayside Inn Bar room here). So, we ordered drinks and snacks there instead.

Longfellow's Wayside Inn Bar Room

After relaxing by the fire, our hunger satisfied, we descended up the old, steep staircase to room #9, our 18th century sleeping quarters for the night.

There is a definite feeling to the old room, but I wouldn't know what to call that feeling. Some may interpret the feeling as spirit, while others may say it's the dark corners, squeaky floorboards, and low ceilings of an old room. Living in a home that is over two hundred years old, I am well aware of the tricks old places can play on your mind. I am also aware of a certain sense of history and a feeling of centuries of lives having been lived that fills an old room with an indescribable atmosphere. I always find that environment intoxicating.

Room 9 is famous for being sort of the headquarters of the Secret Drawer Society at Wayside Inn. It started back in the 1950's and has grown into a really fun tradition. Guests will write of their experiences in the room, paranormal or not, and hide their notes throughout the room. Some even leave little treasures for future guests to take home. Emily and I spent a good portion of the night exploring every nook and cranny, reading notes, many filled with clues, from years past.

Other than the unique atmosphere of the room, nothing out of the ordinary happened through most of the evening. We quietly read notes and chatted. It wasn't until we put everything away and lay still that anything odd happened. A party that had been going on downstairs died away in the wee hours of the night and a hush fell over the inn. We silently got ready for bed, but the stillness was broken when a loud metal jangling was heard from a tiny closet in the room. It was as if someone had run their hand across the hangers, causing them to crash into one another.

The small closet, where the noise came from.

As we settled in for the night, our eyes were wide open and alert, we both saw something I can only describe as looking like a very fast moving fly, but surrounded by light, dart all around the room. This happened for quite awhile, and I'd never seen anything like it. Then I looked over at Emily, who appeared to be almost in shock, which gave me a fright. That's when she told me that something had just touched her arm, a light, feather-like touch, sweeping up her forearm.

The rest of the night was quiet and I slept soundly. I still don't know what to make of what happened, as my skeptical side always has a way of challenging my believing side. I know it was out of the ordinary and possibly something supernatural, but I also know there could be natural causes to this too. This is one of the reasons I love to visit these places with Emily. She has an easier time of noticing these things and believing, and as Mulder from X-Files would say, I want to believe.

Whatever the cause of the happenings that night, neither of us felt anything negative was going on. It was a comfortable room, that didn't feel at all scary. In fact, we both would love to spend another night there in the future, and perhaps see if we encounter any other strange occurrences.

One of the wonderful features of staying a night in the Wayside Inn is their delicious breakfast in the morning, which is included in your stay. Emily and I picked whatever we wanted from the extensive menu and it was one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time.

Staying at the Wayside Inn is a whole experience, and not just another night at hotel. I can not recommend this place enough. It is pure New England and worth every penny, and for those not willing to brave staying in a room rumored to be haunted, the Wayside Inn also offers newer, more typical inn rooms. For those of you wiling to stay a night in room 9, Emily and I left a little treasure to be found, and if you find it, let us know! (Emily posted a video on our stay and the hidden treasure on her instagram.)

Beautiful Wayside Inn


Cocktail Saturday | Zombie's Delight

Tonight's drink is one that I indulged in a lot last year. It was my favorite. This year, I lean more toward wine, cider, or ale based cocktails. I find that heavier or spicer drinks are more up my alley this year, as a slightly more experience drinker. Even still, Zombie's Delight is a good one, especially for a spooky looking drink at parties!

1 1/2 oz vodka
1 1/2 oz coconut rum
1 1/2 oz peach schnapps
1 1/2 oz sour apple schnapps
1 1/2 oz sour mix

For rim:
corn syrup
red food coloring

Mix corn syrup and food coloring in a bowl. Dip a martini glass in the bowl and let the mixture drip down for a moment. Pour vodka, rum, both schnapps, and sour mix into an ice-filled shaker and shake vigorously. Add to your martini glass.

Enjoy your spooky Zombie's Delight! Happy Halloween and cheers!


New England Autumn Village

I don't have to travel far for bucolic, autumn scenes. In fact my favorite place to take in the season is in my very own village.

Stepping out, to explore the village

Amherst Village seems to primp and preen itself every autumn until it is the very vision of a New England Fall Village postcard. Each historic house invites a gathering of pumpkins or mums on its porch. Wreaths in vibrant, fall hues or spooky Halloween colors adorn each old door. The trees then take their cue and begin their bursting of firework color on each limb.

I'm in love with this home's spider theme

I always enjoy a walk through the village, but the fleeting, brilliant moment of autumn, will always remain my favorite.

Join me on another autumn tour of my village next time, as I explore the old burying grounds.