Wednesday, January 1, 2014
the COLONIAL Inn in historic Concord, MA.
Happy New Years day to you and yours! Welcome 2014!
Nate and I chose to go to the COLONIAL Inn in historic Concord, MA. The New Year's Eve package, for us, consisted of: hotel room overnight stay for two, 3 course dinner, the New Year's Eve party with Champagne toast at midnight and live entertainment, an A La Carte New Year's Day Brunch (drinks were not included other than the champagne toast).
Stepping into this building can present one with 2 different experiences depending on the entrance you use! We chose the front entrance armed with the rejuvenating spirit of the New Year, a deep routed appreciation for history and the written word and an open mind in reference to the inns' permanent eidolic guests...
The main desk is in the original part of the building, I believe, which dates back to 1716. The original part of this building is beautifully decorated in antiques of all sorts; from chandeliers to oil lamp holders that have been reworked to use electricity but still look as though they might be original or at least of that time period. Walls and rooms are also adorned with glass cases containing authentic antique guest lists. There are beautiful paintings hung in most rooms.
They also decorated (in at least one spot in the front facing wall of the original building) with pen and ink type illustrations of what one might have seen looking out those very windows back in the earliest days of the inn. One can't help but imagine what the everyday lives of those people must have been like.
There is also a small shop where one can purchase books written by Henry David Thoreau who actually resided there from 1835 to 1837. To be able to buy and enjoy literary works is something we all enjoy - regardless of one's literary style of preference. To be able to buy the book in the place where that author actually lived is something else entirely!
We went to the front desk and were greeted by two members of the staff. The best way to describe the staff (whether front desk, wine steward or waitstaff) is professional. They were all informative in their respective positions and courteous in their manner. I inquired about the famous room 24 but that room had already been booked. We were given room 208 which was not only large and very clean but also provided us with free WiFi and a large screen TV; since the Boston Bruins had a game that night my husband was very happy! For those of us more focused on the holiday the inn offered multiple sitting rooms and a tavern. We went out for a walk around Concord but quickly returned as the temperature started to dip towards freezing.
The dinner menu for this New Year's Eve package consisted of 2 courses followed by unlimited dessert at the buffet for a total of 3 courses. I'm not sure if they offered substitutions - my guess is yes but we didn't ask. They have a wine steward available to give advice or to make a recommendation; the least expensive bottle, I believe, priced approximately in the high $30.00 range. Cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages were available.
I chose the Sea Scallops, Maple Parsnip Puree, Sauteed Spinach & Truffle followed by Salmon, Sweet Potato-Crab Hash, Sage and Cranberry Gastrique - it was heavenly! Nate chose Braised Beef Short Ribs, Pommes Puree, Wild Mushroom & Mulled Red Wine followed by the Prime Rib, Roasted Gold Potato, Green Beans, Crispy Shallots, Au Jus. This is probably frowned on in polite society, but ... , Nate and I like to share our meals. I have a 4 year certificate in Culinary Arts and Nate worked as a cook for years. No one makes prime rib like Nate; we both agreed that all of these dishes were exceptional! Portions were good and presentation was also exceptional!
I have listed the 2013 New Year's Eve package dinner menu (which the CONCORD'S COLONIAL Inn's Director of Food & Beverage was kind enough to provide for me in spite that I requested this after the fact that we stayed there and on a busy holiday - a further indication of the quality of the staff) below as a comment.
Dessert consisted of your choice from a very large and elegant buffet! The staff also encouraged you to go for seconds or take a doggy bag home for later. I recommend the chocolate bread pudding severed hot with cold whipped cream!
Following dinner, we were off to the main event - dancing in the new year! The seating was comfortable surrounding a dance floor and live band - Wendee Glick & Friends. Party hats and favors were handed out by the staff and the dancing began! Midnight eventually came followed by a champagne toast to welcome the New Year!
That night, I started to wonder about what life was like during the early 1700's. About the two wounded soldiers that died in that room supposedly surrounded by red coats! What was the life of the lady in the kitchen like; the one that is said to visit the kitchens periodically and move things around. We had walked in the vicinity of room 24 hoping to see something. I even got a free application for my Kindle Fire HD - a ghost detector! Unfortunately, we got a ghost free room! Maybe next time we will see something. It is all part of the experience when staying at the CONCORD'S COLONIAL Inn.
The New Year's Day Brunch was even more impressive than dinner! The staff issued reservations for guests but prior to that time you could walk around the inn and sit in one of the sitting rooms. I suddenly found myself wishing our kids and their families lived closer and could have experienced this with us. The Inn is just that kind of a place and many families present were doing just that.
Brunch was buffet style and offered everything from oysters to fresh omelets. There was a separate chef who made your omelet as you watched. There were also other chefs at different stations; there was a fruit station with chilled fresh fruit, a bread station with everything from croissant to muffins, a meat station, ... The woman at the table next to us stated that the squash ravioli was very good!
There was another table behind us that took away part of our experience with their rudeness. My Nate stepped away for from the table to make a second trip to the buffet. During that short amount of time (10 minutes or so) they had the waiter return something at least 4 times! The toast was too light, the toast was too dark, this was too warm, this was too cold, ... We were served by two different members of the waitstaff two separate meals at two different times of the day on a very busy day of the year. The food was exceptional and the waiters and waitresses made you feel at ease and festive - as though you were a regular. This left me feeling sorry for the waiter, who had also waited on us and had done a great job! Then I realized I felt sorrier for these guests. When you stay at an inn like this, you are paying for an experience - not for the right to be cross and complain for no other reason than the fact that you can get away with it! I just felt they paid and attended but missed the point!
Deep pockets and purses can determine allot in the outcome of one's life, but not in the quality of one's character - that remains a personal choice. Economies rise and fall; jobs and fortunes can be lost in an instant. A person's character remains, or so I believe. Our acts toward ourselves and others are what truly define us. We should all make an effort to treat each other better in the years to come. We should all make an effort to get to know the people we come in contact with in the course of our lives. Every relationship, no matter how inconsequential at that time, starts with a smile or a greeting - both of which cost us nothing.
The cost of our holiday at CONCORD'S COLONIAL Inn - $299.00 US . We didn't experience any ghostly apparitions but, with all that was included, a truly great experience!
- just One Opinion