When a romantic weekend getaway unexpectedly morphed into a girl’s road-trip, I found myself in New Hampshire’s Lake District. With one of my closest female friends at the wheel, we planned to spend the next four days exploring the state. I have a theory about road-trips: that the most memorable moments often happen somewhere in the middle. However, as soon as we stepped through the doors of our first stop — the historic Pickering House Inn — we were instantly smitten.
Located a two hour drive from Boston Logan Airport in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, The Pickering House Inn is a historic property with a modern, luxe twist. Originally built in 1813, the Inn is the result of a two-year renovation of a local landmark known as “The Yellow House” — the former homestead of Daniel Pickering, a once prominent community member of Wolfeboro. When the property was slated for demolition in 2015, owners Peter and Patty Cooke purchased the inn with the intention of bringing it back to life. The end product is a space that has everything you’d expect from a quaint, historic bed and breakfast but with the chic design sense and amenities you’d find in a luxury boutique hotel.
Each of the ten spacious guest rooms are designed to be a quiet haven with distinct personalities, unique décor and surprising touches. All rooms feature upscale amenities such as luxurious bathrooms, individually controlled heat and AC, and top-of-the-line mattresses and linens. Our room was bright, airy and elegant (the bed was so comfortable it was hard to get up after a quick pre-dinner siesta!)
The Pickering House Inn strikes the perfect balance between an intimate romantic retreat and a sophisticated shared space. On the main floor of the Inn you’ll find several inviting common areas, including the “Gathering Kitchen.” Part working kitchen, part restaurant space, this cozy and stylish area (the kitchen island is made of 200 year old reclaimed maple) is used to host cooking classes, wine and spirit tastings, special dinners and daily breakfast for guests. During our stay, we were lucky to catch one of their signature “Cooking Class Dinners” which included a cooking demonstration followed by a four course meal with their Executive Chef.
Steps away from the Gathering Kitchen, guests can take advantage of the Inn’s stunning porch or one of its two patios with fire pits. The cozy Library and Living Room offer the perfect setting to relax in front of the fire with a glass of local wine and your beloved.
However, the piece de resistance at the Pickering House Inn is the attached fully restored 1800’s barn. The gorgeous rustic space is used for community chef dinners, special events and — you guessed it — weddings.
The 40’ x 60’ open space with haylofts, features heating and air-conditioning, bathrooms, a built in service bar and a stunning sweeping central staircase. The soaring ceilings paired with the exposed wood give the space a warm and inviting feel; making it the perfect venue for hosting an elegant, rustic wedding and/or rehearsal dinner. As Patty Cooke points out, “we’ve captured and maintained a rustic feel, but it’s clearly a step up from barns where the cows just walked out!”
(Photo credit: Rodeo & Company Photography)
To create the perfect wedding weekend, the Pickering House Inn requires that the entire property — including the 10-room Pickering House Inn – be reserved for a minimum of two nights. This allows you and your guests to have exclusive use of the Inn, which includes the use of the barn for one 5-hour event, a variety of seating options & furnishings, decorative string lighting and an on-site event manager throughout the event.
(Photo credit: Mark Spooner)
“For the smaller weddings, we have a culinary team who does the food and for larger [events], we have our approved caterers — some of the best in New England. For many of these events, we also customize menus to host the rehearsal dinner, a farewell brunch or even just a welcome cocktail party,” says Patty.
(Photo credit: Rodeo & Company Photography)
Whether you’re celebrating your nuptials or simply looking for a romantic retreat, the Cooke’s are committed to their guest’s relaxation and wellbeing. As Patty explains to me, “our world is crazy; being in surroundings that make you feel wonderful is key. That is what I wanted these buildings to be.”
We think they’ve succeeded.
Simone Paget is a food, travel and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast of Canada. She’s a nationally syndicated sex and relationship columnist for the Toronto Sun and the author of the blog SkinnyDip.ca. Her work has appeared in/on publications such as the Washington Post, Elle Canada, and The Toronto Star.