We spent so much time browsing the boutiques of New Preston that we almost missed our dinner reservation at the White Hart Inn. It’s a lovely, winding cruise by the Housatonic up to the westernmost corner of the state. The town of Salisbury is a classic New England village with white churches and stately homes, plus several boarding schools, giving off a distinctly can’t-be-more-Connecticut-than-this air. The inn itself is an unprepossessing building and the public rooms are lovely, a mix of minimalism and Yankee restraint with a touch of modern thrown in. And, in typical big-house, little-house, back-house, barn vernacular, it seems to wind on forever. Always smart to share that it’s a special occasion (our 30th anniversary!), we were led to an upgraded suite in an antique house behind the Inn. Our bags arrived along with a welcome glass of prosecco. We settled in to a fresh version of an old inn, complete with marble-clad bathroom, two flat screen TVs, a fridge stocked with local Harney & Sons iced teas, and a cushy bed that gave us the best night’s sleep we’d had in ages (I wish I had snooped to see the brand of mattress!). I was thrilled to get out of the house after a month in my Lazy Boy (a necessity after rotator cuff surgery!), and the environs suited me fine. There are two dining options at the Inn; the more formal Dining Room and a cozy fire lit Tavern. We chose the Dining Room (we were celebrating after all), but both restaurants offered the same menu of mainly locally sourced products, prepared simply but elegantly. The room is large and spare with lovely details and plenty of space between tables so we couldn’t eavesdrop on our neighbors. I was smitten by the flora and fauna wallpaper above the wainscoting. So much so, that I had to turn to my friend and interior designer Hannah Childs to identify it! It’s Schumacher Chenonceau, based on a 17th century Persian Damask. The menu was appealing, but now the bad news. At 6:30 they were sold out of both my chosen appetizer (salmon mousse) and my entree (quail stuffed with farro and chorizo). I settled on salmon and lentils with a lovely mousseline sauce and chunks of rutabaga. No complaints here, but it was a dish I almost could have made at home. My husband’s swordfish with fresh salsa and wild rice was a better choice. However, another glass of prosecco and dessert of warm strawberry rhubarb crumble with a scoop of house-made ice cream cheered me right up. The Tavern room was bustling with families and fun as we passed by, and next time, I think we’ll eat there. While we briefly considered a round of Speed Scrabble in the cozy game room, fitted out with green leather Chesterfields and tavern tables, we’d had a long day of driving, shopping, and eating, and turned in early. Breakfast is included in the room, and you order it at “Provisions,” a modern take on a general store, on the side of the Inn. This sweet nook with an English accent offers up croissants, Bacon Buttys (an English version of a breakfast sandwich), and toast with all manner of toppings, from Marmite to Nutella. The strong cappuccino was perfect, and there are shelves of local products to peruse while you wait. While an overnight was just what the doctor ordered (literally), I could imagine holing up here for a week to put finishing touches on a piece of writing (Malcolm Gladwell apparently is an investor), setting out for a hike on the Appalachian trail, or a bike ride through the bucolic hamlets (bikes are available in all sizes). Or, more likely, an afternoon on the expansive porch watching the little world of Salisbury go by. Reservations for rooms, dining and more info here: www.whitehartinn.com D Dining Room and fantastic wallpaper! Tavern Room Another Room for Tavern Dining It’s hard to improve upon strawberry rhubarb crumble! The Porch Try my recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp here.