The Elevated Staycation

It’s not very often that you find a dining gem in the middle of a rural town that no one in your neighborhood has heard of. Add the fact that it’s only 17 miles from your house and you’ll show up to your dinner reservation dumbfounded. “How does nobody know about this?!” is frequently muttered during your meal, in between bites of the freshest local cheese and crusty grilled bread and your sigh of happiness as your homemade pasta arrives. Part of me doesn’t want to tell you about The Grazing Room because I want to keep it to myself and impress my family and friends by inviting them to private dinners there, but part of me wants to broadcast it through the interwebs because the food is so, so good.

So, at least as of this writing, I’m willing to share my findings with you. The Colby Hill Inn is a quaint, 14-room bed and breakfast in the prettiest neighborhood in Henniker. It’s actually in a fairly residential area, but once you park your car and go inside, you’ll feel like you traveled back to 1797 (when the gorgeous home was built!). The rooms are immaculate, well-preserved, and cozy but also have central air conditioning and wi-fi. While we’re focusing on the dining in this blog post, I’d highly recommend checking out the inn, the landscaped grounds, beautiful barns for parties and weddings, and the resident goats named Annabelle, Chloe, Gertrude and Lucy, if you get the chance! The front desk also has little cups of goat treats.

Back to dinner. Their dining room accommodates 56 guests and looks out on the gardens, barns, and outdoor event space. It was beautiful in July with the flowers in bloom but I was dreaming of a fall or winter visit, too. We had spent that July day outdoors swimming in the lake, so refreshing cocktails were our first order of business. I ordered their cucumber lemonade gin cocktail which was just sweet enough and checked every box.

With our stomachs grumbling we ordered their local cheese platter to enjoy with our cocktails. This was a ridiculous amount of food for two people, but I’m the last person to complain about massive quantities of cheese. There were several varieties of local gouda, cheddar, and a creamy goat cheese. Three of the four cheeses were from New Hampshire farms and I wish I had written them down to visit! (Side note, we did not finish the cheese before our main courses arrived, so the kitchen boxed it up and we put it in the common area’s mini fridge. Is there anything better than a little night cheese, Tina Fey?!).

My stunning plate arrived and I was wholly impressed. I dove into a homemade bucatini pasta covered in beautiful herbed ricotta, which slowly melted as I ate the pasta. It came with fresh spring peas and wild mushrooms, which were still warm and covered in more fresh herbs packed with flavor.

My date’s dinner plate looked equally as appetizing, and based on the slow savoring of each bite, equally delicious. His beef tenderloin came mouth-wateringly tasty with inn-grown tiny fresh peppers, garlic, and roasted potatoes. He may or may not have licked the plate clean.

Nevermind that we could not consume another bite of food, we obviously ordered dessert. Ten minutes later, we found ourselves salivating over cream puff shells layered with different flavors of ice cream and homemade whipped cream covered in the richest warm Belgian chocolate and fresh berries. It took us eight tries to pronounce “profiteroles” but I’ll certainly be ordering it again.

The Grazing Room at Colby Hill Inn exceeded our every dining expectation. If you’re interested in visiting the “country eco retreat and dining destination,” check out their ever-changing chef’s menu here, or visit their Facebook page to learn about upcoming events and new menu items. Reservations are highly recommended. Enjoy!

Have you discovered any unique, tasty food or drinks lately? Let us know! Be sure to email us at eatdrinkplay@stayworkplay.org to share your ideas of any New Hampshire related food/drink/venue/organization that you think should be featured in “The Taste!”

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