Snowflake Inn crystallizes homey lodging experience
Located in the charming mountain town of Jackson, New Hampshire rests a regal structure that offers an at-home feeling for its guests. While the Snowflake Inn dominates the land on which it resides, its stature is minimized by the expansive space surrounding it. Situated on six prime acres in the heart of Jackson, the Snowflake Inn provides guests with a playground to enjoy—whether it’s a snowball fight in the winter, Frisbee in the summer, an autumn wedding, or, a walk along the river, guests will appreciate the open space that surrounds the inn.
Owned and run by veteran innkeepers, Sue and Gary Methot, the Snowflake Inn blurs the line between an inn and a humble hotel. With twenty rooms, including three suites, the inn is large enough to host intimate weddings and other special events. When you enter the Inn for the first time, and smell the scent of freshly backed cookies in the air, you feel as though you’ve arrived at grandma’s house. The Snowflake has a very homey feel, with pictures of friends, family and guests on display. You’ll also find knick knacks, mementos, board games and artificial floral embellishments on the walls and fireplace mantel…all signs that grandma is present and accounted for. There is even a grandfather clock with its hourly chimes reminding you of the time. During my stay, I saw a guest in the common area in her bathrobe; an indication of just how “at-home” she must have felt.
The king accommodations at the Snowflake are spacious, with a separate seating area. A hallway leads to the bathroom…then to the bedroom, which features a two-person Jacuzzi tub. With an emphasis on romance, two red towels are rolled up into the shape of a heart, along with a single red rose. There is also a gas fireplace and flat screen T.V. The rooms did lack a few amenities that you might find in other inns at this price point, such as a cosmetic mirror, iPod dock, individual coffee maker, and an iron (although that can be requested and brought to your room).
The common area of the inn is open with tall ceilings and large windows letting in lots of light. The focal point of the space is the stone-faced, real-wood-burning fireplace, with thick granite hearth inviting guests to sit down and warm up on a cold winter night. Guests can also warm up in the tropical indoor spa refuge. With cedar walls, candles and waterfall…it’s truly a relaxing area of the inn. Just outside the spa/pool area is a patio in which guests can toast marshmallows by a fire pit. Guests can also head up to the loft above the common area to use the full size pool table, or, play a board game. Soon you’ll be able to warm up with a workout in their new state-of-the-art gym.
Each morning you can head down to the common area for a light continental breakfast, with fresh fruit, homemade granola, along with warm baked goods, juice and coffee. In the evening there is a homemade sweet treat…often, chocolate chip cookies or brownies. If you stay over a Saturday evening, the Inn offers a wine and cheese hour.
The Snowflake Inn makes the perfect hub for an array of nearby activities. During my visit, I went on a tour to the top of Mount Washington via the auto road, which was as informative, as it was awe-inspiring. I also went kayaking down the Saco River and ended up in Maine. You can rent kayaks, canoes, tubes, etc. from the folks at Saco Bound. The put-in point is just across the street from their office; from there you paddle or float downstream and get out at a number of pre-determined takeout points where a shuttle will take you back to your car. From hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing to photography, there are so may cool activities in and around Jackson, that you’ll never get to them all in a single visit. Jackson is just the neatest little town; away from the crowds you’ll find in the larger, nearby town of Conway, N.H.
On-site at the Snowflake you’ll notice a couple of art galleries…one is dedicated to photography, while the other displays fine art and unique creations. There is also a number of great nearby restaurants. I dined at the following eateries during my visit:
Cider Co.: Located in a renovated 1890s farmhouse, this restaurant is full of character—from the rough cut wood planks, odd shaped granite tables to the old barn door…the rustic charm is undeniable. While I tried a few dishes, my entrée left the greatest impression… Grilled Blue Fin Tuna on a bed of Asian jambalaya, which consisted of jasmine rice, Chinese sausage, sugar snap peas, cabbage with chunks of fresh lobster…this was stir-fried with a blue ginger-coconut sauce. It was fantastic.
1785 Inn and Restaurant: This establishment is also situated in an old farmhouse and is positioned to take advantage of an amazing view. On a clear day diners can see Mount Washington. The 1785 is a classic fine-dining experience offering a table-side Caesar salad presentation as the server tells you step-by-step what he is doing. They have an extensive wine menu along with culinary creations that will please just about any palate—from seafood, chicken to more French inspired dishes. Even the adventurous diner will be enticed by entrees like Antelope sirloin with a cinnamon espresso rub topped with a blackberry/cabernet glaze with Brie and pinenuts.
If you’re into casual comfort food, then you’ll love Shannon Door Restaurant and Irish Pub. This is the place where the locals hang out…as well as a number of celebrities given the vast quantity of autographed photos on the walls. The menu is a bit varied, with a number of non-Irish items included, such as pizza and pasta. I asked the owner, Tommy, about this…he said, “if we only had Irish food on the menu, it would be a pretty small menu.” Shannon Door also provides live music several nights a week. And, the fourth generation of the family that started the restaurant 60 years ago just recently started working there.
Sue, Gary and the entire staff at the Snowflake Inn are very knowledgeable about the area and are more than happy to provide suggestions, directions or whatever you may need to make your stay an enjoyable one.
If you’ve ever stayed at the Snowflake Inn, please leave a comment below and share your experience.