The days are growing shorter and the leaves are turning in shifting patterns of red, orange, and yellow. There is no better place than New England to enjoy the changing seasons.
The Nehemiah Brainerd House Bed and Breakfast in the lower Connecticut River Valley is the perfect place from which to watch the dazzling show. The inn sits on five acres of woodlands that overlook the Connecticut River and a magnificent forest beyond.
The Brainerd House is a fully restored eighteenth century residence located in the charming village of Haddam, Connecticut. As we entered the home, we remarked that it is not often that one has an opportunity to stay in a lodging that was constructed before the American Revolution.
When a home is built circa 1765, it is understood that it has a long history. The affable innkeepers of the Brainerd House took us on a journey through those many years, and we found one story of particular interest.
In 1932, the Brainerd House was purchased by American author Katharine Brush. In that year, she moved the original beamed house off its Saybrook Road frontage and back into the acreage closer to the trees. She also added two wings to enlarge the small building, thereby making its present use as a bed and breakfast possible.
Brush was born in Middletown, Connecticut in 1905. She had early success as an author with her short stories appearing in Harper’s Magazine, Collier’s Weekly, and Cosmopolitan. Her later works included novels that were made into films in the 30s and 40s staring Hollywood luminaries such as Judy Garland, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, and Fred MacMurray.
There is a desk in the living room at Brainerd House that is dedicated to the author. Watched over by her beguiling photo, the desk contains copies of her novels, as well as an Underwood typewriter and Bell telephone from the period. Ms. Brush died in 1952. If she were to haunt Brainerd House, she would be a most talented and comely ghost indeed.
In 2002, the house was converted from a private residence into a boutique bed and breakfast inn by Owner/Innkeepers Maryan and Jeff Muthersbaugh. They have done a thorough and thoughtful job of renovating this elegant historic home so that it now provides all the modern comforts to travelers who enjoy a sense of time and place in their accommodations.
Choice in guestrooms
The house has two well-appointed guestrooms and one guest suite in the main house.
In addition, just in back of the main building and secluded in the woods lies a most charming and comfortable cottage.
The Laurel Cottage
Reminiscent of “On Golden Pond,” this enchanting little bungalow nestled in the pines bestows on its guests a feeling of sanctuary, and coming home.
The cottage is equipped with an ample kitchen fortified with cooking paraphernalia, cutlery, utensils, and breakfast starters like coffee and tea. There is also plenty of space to provision other meals for a stay of any duration.
Room for a family of four
Fully restored in 2008, the cottage is replete with antiques and interesting furnishings including a vintage brass double bed in the main room.
The all-season porch also has a pull out queen-sized sofa bed. The porch has doors that can separate it from the main room when privacy is desired.
The cottage is heated in winter, but a glowing gas fire in the rock hearth provides a more romantic setting. There is central air should lazy summer days require cooling.
Guests will enjoy the full bathroom with its enticing double pedestal soaking tub and a separate shower.
The owners have not forgotten modern conveniences in their restoration. The cottage has a flat screen HD TV, as well as wireless internet access.
The bungalow’s adjoining stone terrace invites friends and relations to enjoy al fresco dining and a hardy chat besides a sizzling stone gas grill, or in quiet times, a good book in a lounge chair set beneath a nearby shade tree. This is relaxation at its very finest.
Innkeepers with a touch
Jeff and Maryan Muthersbaugh have created a place that remembers another time, but also provides modern comforts that appeal to contemporary persuasions.
Maryan has a superb sense of furnishing, and Jeff serves on the Board of Trustees for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and is particularly well qualified to orchestrate the authentic ambiance in their country inn.
Middlesex County Connecticut is lovely any time of year. Skiing, boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, and biking are all there to enjoy. The famous Goodspeed Opera House is minutes away, and the ever-fascinating Gillette’s Castle (State Park) is just a short drive. For those interested in gaming, the expansive Foxwoods Resort Casino is less than one-hour away.
Slip into a more gracious era. Relax in the magic of another time. We recommend the Nehemiah Brainerd House to anyone with an affinity for the cordial trappings of an earlier New England.
As you can see from our photos, our last stay at the Brainerd House was during the holiday season. Autumn at the House is indeed fantastic, but it is an equally delightful place to spend Christmas in Connecticut.
If you go
For more pictures and information about Nehemiah Brainerd House look *here*
Pets and children under the age of 13 are not allowed in this elegant non-smoking bed and breakfast home. When you see the antiques and treasured amenities, you will understand why.
Here is a list of Examiner articles about Connecticut that you may enjoy by Wayne and Judy. Click on the title to read:
© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff
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