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The scenic Litchfield Hills region, covering the corner of northwest Connecticut, is home to several historic inns and restaurants. One of the very best is the Hopkins Inn in the small, picture-postcard village of Warren (pop. around 1,400). Settled in 1737, its attractions include a small state park, a charming one-room schoolhouse, a winery, and the handsome, 264-year-old Warren Congregational Church. And despite its tiny size, Warren has had some notable residents indeed, including film director Miloš Forman and writers Philip Roth and Francine du Plessix Gray.
It also has a lovely, 656-acre body of water, Lake Waramaug, and it's overlooking this as well as the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, that this inn was opened in 1847 as the Hopkins Place, a summer boarding house. It operated as such until 1941 when it closed for the duration of World War II. It reopened again as the Hopkins Inn in 1945 and has been providing delicious meals and comfort to travelers ever since. The current congenial owners, Franz and Beth Schober, have operated the inn for more than 40 years.
Tasty American & Central European Fare
The Inn’s Victorian dining room has sweeping views of the lake and mountains, and in good weather, guests can enjoy al fresco dining on an expansive flagstone terrace comfortably sheltered beneath a grand chestnut tree.
In season, the dining room is full of guests from near and far all gathering to savor Franz Schober's authentic Austrian cuisine. But there are also many menu selections that are distinctly American in tradition and flavor. Both the menu and wine list are deep (more than 150 wines!), and we only wish we had time to sample all that they offer. But you can read what we missed by perusing the menu here.
As we waited to be seated for dinner, we enjoyed a cleansing libation in the Tavern Room where the roaring fire provided a cozy atmosphere for chatting with fellow guests. Though the dining room was busy, our table was promptly ready for our 7 pm reservation.
Selecting an entrée from the dazzling menu was difficult, but Judy chose the broiled halibut with pineapple salsa served with vegetables and wild rice.
Wayne also selected from the sea, and had broiled sea scallops in a garlic butter sauce joined by a medley of perfectly cooked vegetables.
Since neither of us had chosen an authentic Austrian main dish, for dessert we felt obliged to try the homemade apple strudel with vanilla sauce. Delicious!
After dinner, it was back to the Tavern Room for a nightcap and pleasant conversation with a charming German couple touring Connecticut for the first time.
(Keep in mind that the restaurant is open from late March to January 1 each year. In the off season, the inn operates as a bed and breakfast.)
The Guest Rooms
Twelve guest rooms and two apartments are open all year. Ours was number 15. It was charming and immediately won us over with its elegant simplicity. Exactly what we had hoped for in a pre-Civil War era roadhouse on the back roads of tony Litchfield Hills.
The period furnishings hearkened back to an earlier time, and as we stood gazing at the lake from one of our four windows, we wondered who else, from a long-gone era, might have stood in this very spot captivated as we were by the lovely view. The bed was superbly comfortable, and we fell asleep listening to the leaves rustling in the autumn breeze.
The Winery Next Door
The entrance to the inn and restaurant is on the right side of the building. A few hundred feet from the lantern is the delightful Hopkins Vineyard.
It is a separate enterprise not owned by the Innkeepers, but how nice to have a winery as a neighbor!
We did not partake of any offered samples, but judging by the number of customers at the winery's sample bar, the harvest must have been quite exceptional. And they often hold special events including tastings, pairings, and live music.
The Lake Beach
It was chilly during our visit, so we did not venture down to the lake, but the inn has a private beach on the lake just a short distance away. We are certain the sandy beach and the refreshing lake provide the perfect place to pass a warm summer day in Connecticut.
If You Go
The Hopkins Inn is at 22 Hopkins Road in Warren. It's about a two-hour drive from New York City and about two hours and 45 minutes from Boston. Either is a lovely drive.
Again, for more information and reservations, check out the inn's website.
The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any entity.
Copyright © 2019 Visit great vacation destinations with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos Copyright © 2019 Judy Bayliff
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