For years, Peter Platt created meals that turned the Old Inn On The Green into a food destination.
“I do what I call “Inventive American cuisine,” says the executive chef. “It’s fresh, from local farmers, and nothing is too complicated or scary.”
People came from miles around to dine at the historic inn in New Marlborough, Massachusetts. Built in 1760 at a village crossroads in the Berkshires, it originally serviced travelers making the arduous trip between Albany and Boston. By the mid-20th century, New Marlborough had become a forgotten corner of the Berkshires and the inn was in a state of disrepair, but a 1970s restoration breathed new life into the venerable property. When the then-owners hired Platt as chef, people started to come to the Old Inn again.
They not only loved Platt’s food, they also loved the experience of dining by the fire in a large 18th-century room decorated with faux-primitive murals and illuminated by candlelight.
“It’s flattering light, and it makes for a lovely atmosphere,” says Platt. “It became a big draw.”
In 2005, Platt and his wife, Meredith Kennard, bought the property. They knew that the restaurant was the driver of the business, but they also believed that there was lodging potential that had not been utilized since the 19th century.
“We worked to bring the rooms up to par,” says the innkeeper.
He and his wife renovated the inn’s five upstairs bedrooms, introducing modern amenities such as air conditioning and upgraded fixtures while they furnished the rooms with antiques and country furniture. Then they bought the Thayer House, also on the village green, and did the same for that building’s six bedrooms. After almost 250 years, the inn once again housed travelers in elegant comfort and offered them delicious meals in romantic surroundings.
“We decided to keep the candlelight tradition because guests love it so much,” Platt explains. “But we do take care and keep an eye on the candles. We have no window treatments that could get near a burning candle, and we only use taper candles, which are easier to control than pillar candles.”
In the summer, when the weather is amenable, they offer al fresco dining on the canopied garden terrace off the taproom.
People come to stay and dine at the inn from all over, but Platt sees special interest in visitors from Great Britain.
“I think we have special appeal for people who love historic architecture and seek out lodging in old houses when they travel. Guests who drive here come from New York, Boston, Canada and beyond. This is an especially popular driving destination during fall foliage season. But we are also very busy during the summer and on the big holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
For those seeking out a picture-perfect New England visit, this has all the elements: a historic village green that seems lost in time, maple trees flaming in shades of red and gold, fine linens on a comfortable bed in a well-appointed room. And, the high point for food lovers, a wonderful meal served in flattering light. We should all look and feel this good.