If I had one piece of advice for moms and dads looking to escape for a romantic getaway in CT at the Mayflower Inn and Spa, it would be this...
Extend the babysitter coverage and book one more day! Trust me.
The Mayflower Inn and Spa, an Auberge Collection resort, sits on 58 bucolic acres in rural Connecticut. Come spend a romantic weekend on the grounds – soak in every square inch of The Well’s 20,000 square foot spa, stretch your legs along the miles of wooded hiking, and savor each bite of the seasonally inspired tasting menu.
At the Mayflower Inn and Spa, you can be ambitiously active…or just embrace the lounge-wear and take it easy for your romantic weekend away. You can catch up on sleep and enjoy a cup of tea overlooking the gardens or woods from your private balcony. You can lay all day in the plush white lounge chairs of the spa reading a new book (remember books?!). Or you can relax by the outdoor pool and devour one of the kitchen's gourmet picnics. Alternatively, if it's more your vibe to get moving and stay active on vacation, then start your day with a sweat-burning HIIT class, and head out on a guided tour of the property's hiking trail.
We ventured to the Mayflower Inn for a 2 day mom-and-dad escape and felt fully recharged and relaxed after our visit. We slept in for the first time in…how long? We went for a hike without a diaper bag! And we even got to enjoy a meal without cutting up someone else’s food. Heaven!
The Mayflower Inn is all about laid back luxury and relaxation. You’ll leave feeling as if you’ve stayed in someone’s glorious home – not a stuffy hotel. This article will give you a tour of the property and our favorite amenities, so that you can start planning your own romantic getaway in Connecticut.
Where is the Mayflower Inn located?
The Mayflower Inn and Spa is located in the land of…Gilmore Girls.
Ah, Tuesday nights in the early 2000’s were just the best.
Did you know that the Mayflower Inn, and the surrounding towns that make up Litchfield County served as inspiration for the hit series? In fact, writer Amy Sherman-Palladino stayed at the Mayflower Inn when she was writing portions of the script! You can almost envision Lorelei and Sookie running the show behind the scenes.
However, since you can't plug "Gilmore Girls" into Google Maps, you'll want to instead keep in mind that the Mayflower Inn and Spa is located in Washington, Connecticut.
This rural country escape is about 2 hours north of NYC, 75 minutes from southern CT, and 2.5 hours if you’re driving south from Boston. Washington is one of the many small towns that make up Litchfield County, which also includes New Preston, Woodbury, Kent, and New Milford to name a few. The area is famous for its abundance of antique shops, small town stores, and charming historic homes. Don’t forget to ask the hotel for a “Gilmore Girls” cheat sheet – a list of nearby shops and restaurants that served as inspiration for different parts of the hit TV series.
For your Planning Purposes
Getting there/around: It’s best to use your own car to get to the Mayflower Inn. Once you’ve arrived, the grounds are easily walkable. The hotel does provide a car service between the main lodge to the separate cottages and/or spa if assistance is needed. If you plan to go off property to visit nearby towns or take a hike, it will be easier if you have your own transportation.
Reservation tips: The Mayflower Inn and Spa is a popular couples or girls getaway destination. If you’re planning to visit around Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day you’ll want to secure your booking in advance. Also, I highly recommend making any spa reservations as soon as possible -- you won't want to miss experiencing a treatment there!
Can you bring kids?: The Mayflower Inn and Spa is kid friendly, and in the summer when the outdoor pool is available. For children aged 7-13, there is the option to reserve a spot in the Little Laurel Camp, where kids can participate in hiking, biking and other outdoor activities.
Can you bring your fur-baby?: Your dogs can live the life of luxury at the Mayflower Inn too! There are no breed/weight restrictions, and special dog amenities are provided in the room upon arrival. There is a $150 fee associated with bringing a pet, and a maximum of 2 dogs allowed.
Who Owns the Mayflower Inn?
The Mayflower Inn has transformed from school to sanctuary over the years.
What started as a private all-boys school in the late 1800’s, morphed into a boutique inn under the Munchin family in the 1990’s, and was most recently purchased by The Auberge Collection in 2018. Auberge properties focus on providing guests with unique experiences in extraordinary destinations worldwide.
This particular property is a hidden gem tucked in the hillside of rural CT, but has worked its way into the luxury travel spotlight. It’s been recognized by Travel and Leisure as one of the best spa locations in New England. Their focus on health and wellness, coupled with stellar service make it a perfect pick if you’re looking for a relaxing and romantic getaway on the East Coast.
Who decorated the Mayflower Inn?
It’s not typical for a hotel's interiors to get their own special shout-out in a review; however, the interiors by Celerie Kemble are integral to the guest experience.
When you pull into the entrance of the Mayflower Inn, your eyes will rest upon the traditional New England architecture – with its inviting porch and colonial aesthetic, the historic inn has that “home not hotel” look.
However, when you walk through the wooden front door, be prepared to blink your eyes and do a double take.
Kemble creatively married together bold, patterned interiors with nods to the traditional New England framework. Geometric wallpaper dances across the foyer bringing the entryway to life. Bright, sunshine-yellow rooms light up the antique furnishings in the sitting rooms. Whimsical Alice-in-Wonderland style mirrors decorate the wooden pub and bar. As you walk through the inn and eventually into your own room, you’ll feel as if you never left the gardens outside. Unique floral elements - like flowered wallpaper or flower inspired artwork – adorn each room. And...no two rooms are alike. You may even enjoy the visual sensory experience walking from room to room just as much as the other amenities on site!
The Mayflower Inn Amenities
You could easily arrive at the Mayflower for a weekend and never leave the property, just spending the time exploring the grounds and taking in the countryside air. Here are a few favorite guest experiences you’ll want to incorporate in your itinerary for your romantic getaway in CT.
Check In / Welcome
When you arrive at Mayflower Inn, you’ll enter the historic main house where a refreshing welcome drink awaits. As you sip and unwind, you may find yourself exploring the intimate yet welcoming lobby area. The lobby is filled with bright patterned prints, and comfortable sofas.
Take a minute to venture into the yellow reading room, which has board games, newspapers, and refreshments. Forgot a book? No problem - the hotel has shelves filled with classics, as well as a rare book section where you can purchase one to leaf through.
Step into the hotel's charming gift shop, The Huntress, which is filled with hand selected items sourced from local shops and antique collections.
Before you leave the lobby, head to the library, which is secretly tucked behind a wood burning fireplace. There are wall-to-wall bookshelves, comfortable chairs around the fire, and a cozy window seat where you can curl up and enjoy a your new read!
Does the Mayflower Inn Have a Spa?
A big “Yes!” to this question -- and if you’re questioning whether or not you’re a “spa person,” I can promise that you most certainly will be after experiencing one of the best New England spas, as named by Travel and Leisure.
Visiting The Well at the Mayflower Inn truly feels like you’ve settled in a sanctuary for the day. The entire 20,000 square foot facility oozes cleanliness, relaxation, health, and rest.
When you enter, you are kindly asked (as only a spa would do) to kick off your shoes. You’ll then tour the locker room, where they have everything you could possibly need to go from spa to supper. There are steamy showers, hair products at the ready, and skin products to sample -- you'll conveniently find these at spa gift shop when you finish up. I give 100% credit to The Well for upgrading my husband's nightly skin routine from "nothing" to "okay, I'm going to moisturize my face." Bravo!
When you've finished exploring the locker room, it's time to actually enjoy the space. The Well has mastered how to deliver a wellness experience for those that both like to relax and those that like to run around. You can rest and recharge in whatever way you decide your body and mind needs.
Are you a wake up and go person? Then sign up for a HIIT class, challenge your core in the yoga studio, work on toning muscles through water conditioning in the heated indoor pool, or hop on a Peloton bike to work up a quick sweat,
If you’d rather rest and unwind, then you can spend the day reading in the bright, light filled reading room. Then indulge in a deep tissue massage that targets the lymphatic system, and further unwind in the steam room and hot tub. The Well also offers meditation classes, and individual sleep coaching from their team of experts.
Be prepared to budget a few hours to fully enjoy the facilities and offered experiences – and don’t be surprised if you end up spending the entire day in your bathrobe!
Pools, Picnics, Gardens, and Greens
From May to October, there is an outdoor pool, which overlooks the Poet’s Maze and main inn. You can lounge under the warm sun, and enjoy a picnic lunch under the apple tree arranged by the hotel. Afterwards, meander through the Poet’s Maze or check out Shakespeare’s Garden. You’ll most definitely feel as if you’ve landed in the English countryside peeking through these gardens. Finish your day with a friendly tennis match before heading to dinner.
Get Active! Hiking and Biking On Property
The Mayflower Inn and Spa has 58 acres it calls home. Enjoy a beautiful morning or afternoon walk on the property’s 1.2 mile hike through woods and around the Blue Heron pond. The hotel can also arrange for a guided birding walks. It’s the perfect way to stretch your legs and get some fresh air without having to get in the car.
You can also explore the rolling hills of Litchfield County by bike. The hotel can assist in planning a self-guided tour of the area, or you can ride with a guide, visiting apple orchards and nearby towns. There are even ways to customize the trip if traveling with kids.
S'mores By The Fire
At night, grab a cozy sweater and pop out to the fire pits located near the Shakespeare Garden. Mayflower Inn provides s’more kits, where you can roast some gooey treats for enjoyment in the crisp countryside air.
The Mayflower Inn Accomodations
With 28 guest rooms and 7 suites, the Mayflower Inn has a little something for everyone. Whether you’re traveling as a couple for a romantic getaway in CT, or exploring the area with a family or larger group, you’re going to sleep quite comfortably at the Mayflower Inn. Here are the room types to choose from:
- Guest Rooms: If traveling with 2-3 people, you can choose from Classic King Rooms, The Premium guest rooms or Signature Guest rooms. We stayed in a Classic King on our first trip and found it incredibly comfortable and inviting. This year we tried the Signature Guest Room -- each one has a private porch and fireplace in the room, which really made for a cozy countryside feel in the Fall.
- Signature Suites: The Mayflower Suite, Signature King Suite with Library, and Premium King Suite all offer guests ample space, making them favorable options if traveling with a larger group. There are separated living areas for increased comfort, and spacious bathrooms. These accommodations overlook the gardens or woods.
While each room is unique, they share some common design elements and amenities. Every room has a complimentary tray of snacks curated from local stores. When we visited last summer, there were berries from the garden and local cheese samples. This year, we found apples from the apple tree, “healthy” cookies, and a powerbar made from superfoods. That was my favorite!
There are also portable speakers in each room that you can take with you throughout the property – plop it down next to your picnic on the ground, or take on an on-site hike.
- If staying in the historic inn, request a room on the 3rd floor and with views of the Shakespeare garden
- We stayed in a Classic King on our first visit in the Main Inn, and a Signature King with Fireplace for the second. Both rooms were incredibly beautiful, but having the fireplace and private porch really felt cozy during our chilly fall visit. In other words, it was worth the splurge!
- If selecting a Signature King with Fireplace, request room 42 by the spa. The views of the woods made it feel as if we were sleeping in a treehouse
- The Mayflower Suite has an additional half or full bath - it’s a great option if traveling with kids if you need the extra space.
Mayflower Inn Restaurants
Foodies, you’re going to have fun feasting.
Chef Cortney Burns has taken the Mayflower on a new culinary journey, which highlights local ingredients, and lets the food from the chef’s garden shine. Just as interior designer Celerie Kemble wove garden inspiration into the interiors, Chef Burns also lets the garden influence every element of the menu.
Have you ever tasted a salad composed solely of 30 herbs?
It’s a thing, and dang tasty might I add.
You’re going to eat healthy without even knowing it. Chef Burns pickles, dehydrates, dry chars and ferments her veggies. Then sequences the meal so that each dish crescendos and before you know it, you’re ending with “pear-fection.” (The actual name of her pear themed dessert).
Here’s what you need to know for mapping out your eating experience with Chef Burns.
There are two restaurants on site:
- Tap Room - The Tap Room is the pub-style dining option where you can enjoy a drink by the original oak bar, or have casual bites by the fireplace. The atmosphere is lively and inviting, and is the perfect cozy spot to connect over cocktails for your romantic getaway in Connecticut.
- Garden Room - The Garden Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with special brunch menus available on the weekend, and a tasting menu offered Friday - Sunday. The tasting menu is where you’ll really see Chef Burns show off her unique cooking techniques. Some favorite dishes of ours included slow roasted carrots with green tahini, and sprouted rye bread and smoked roe. This was followed by a spotlight on the squash portion of the meal – squash ricotta galette that just about melted in our mouths, kabocha squash soups, and a delicata squash salad. Next came a branzino with fennel and herb salad, and the “pear-fection” dessert didn’t last longer than 2 minutes on my plate. They rolled me out of there!
What Towns are in Litchfield County?
The towns of Litchfield County are right out of a feel good tv show or movie. Quite literally – for anyone who may have skipped the section above - Welcome to Gilmore Girls.
Litchfield county includes Washington Depot, New Preston, Woodbury, Litchfield, Kent, New Milford, Cornwall, and Salisbury (to name a few). These charming CT towns are antiquing hot spots, but also have boutique stores that carry a hand-picked collection of clothes, home goods, and other items.
Here are some of our favorite towns and shops, as well as ones we have bookmarked to visit next time.
New Preston is a 10 minute drive from the Mayflower Inn and has some of my favorite shops in the area. When you first pull onto Main Street you may mistakenly assume you’ll only need 30 minutes to “see it all" -- however, don’t be surprised if a few hours pass by! By the time you check out the home goods and clothing at Plain Goods, J. Seitz and Co, and Pergola, hunt for treasures at Dawn Hill Antiques, and grab a soup/sandwich from The Smithy Cafe, half the day may have leisurely rolled by.
Litchfield is where you'll find the town green and gazebo that inspired Gilmore Girls, as well as more local boutiques to stroll through. Go shopping for clothes at R. Derwin Clothiers, search for antiques in CP Farmhouse or Jeffery Tillou Antiques, or pick up a gift for the little ones at The Silly Sprout.
Hikes in Litchfield County
Although I live in CT myself, I can say with certainty that driving to Litchfield County sure makes me feel like I’m not in Kansas anymore. Each time we’ve visited the Mayflower Inn, it has felt as if we’re trekking to northern Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine…but with a lot less driving! The countryside air and access to the scenic outdoors is just what you’ll be searching for on your romantic getaway to CT.
If you like to stretch your legs and stay active while on vacation, then check out some of these hikes where you can enjoy the nature and scenery of rural Connecticut.
Hidden Valley Preserve has miles of hiking trails and lookout points. Be sure to check out the Thoreau suspension bridge and the Hidden Valley lookout for some beautiful views!
Lake Waramaug State Park
In the summer months the lake is filled with boaters, kayakers and swimmers. There are hiking trails that surround the lake too. The Waramaug trail is an easy 1 mile hike that has views of the water from Waramaug rock.
Steep Rock Preserve
5 minutes from Mayflower Inn is Steep Rock Preserve, which has miles of walking trails along the riverbank. The trail is mostly flat and easy, but there are a few small sections that live up to the name – Steep Rock! During the hike you’ll want to be on the lookout for the railroad tunnel, which was constructed in the late 1800’s (but is no longer in operation). When we finally found it, we felt as if we had stumbled upon the Bat Cave!
If you've decided to give the tasting menu at The Garden Room a try (you won't regret it), then I recommend requesting Brandon to be your server.
He brings just as much enthusiasm to food, as Buddy the Elf does for Christmas. We enjoyed his stories of each dish and his passion behind it -- he became part of our culinary journey that night, and deserves an Oscar for his performance!
That's a Wrap
The Mayflower Inn and Spa has figured out the secret sauce – provide a welcoming and comfortable home away from home, with an on site spa sanctuary, and unforgettable food -- and all of sudden visiting the Mayflower each year is now a traveler's tradition. It’s a hidden gem packed with the punch of luxurious pampering. If you're searching for that peaceful place to enjoy a romantic getaway, then your search is finally over. Enjoy the glimpses into Gilmore Girls, take it slow in the spa, and have fun exploring each small town. Till next time Mayflower!
I hope this article has inspired your own romantic getaway to the Mayflower Inn and Spa in Washington, CT. If you have any questions, or your own travel tips, please leave them in the comments below. Also, don't forget to sign up for the monthly newsletter, packed with travel tips, upcoming news, and access to FREE destination itineraries.
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