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World's Most Expensive
A Visit to The Inn at Hastings Park, A Relais Chateaux in Lexington, MA
July 2, 2015
Victoria Abbott Riccardi
This twenty-two room retreat consists of three buildings: the Main House constructed in 1888 and the former home of a prominent Lexington family; the Isaac Mulliken House, once a private residence and built in 1841; and The Barn, Isaac Mulliken's original carpentry shop.
When masterminding the inn's transformation, owners Michael and Trisha Pérez Kennealy built their vision around several key desires. In addition to wanting to preserve the heritage of the inn's buildings, the couple aimed to honor the town's place in history, where on the morning of April 19, 1775, the Lexington Minute Men fought the British Regulars sparking the start of the American Revolutionary War. Added to this mix was the couple's wish to imbue the property with a rich sense of luxury, style, and hospitality informed in part by some of the special properties they had stayed in over the years both here and abroad. Finally, the Kennealys wanted to celebrate the concept of local by furnishing the inn with goods from some of New England's most talented designers and artisans.
The Main House operates as the inn's nerve center, housing ten guestrooms, a spacious sitting room, the reception area, Artistry on the Green restaurant, and a sweet little bar. Next to the Main House you'll find The Barn, outfitted with three rooms and to its right lies the Isaac Mulliken House with nine guestrooms and a small sitting area.
Every room at the inn has a different look, best described as American chic. The Kennealys worked with local designer Robin Gannon to put a creative spin on the historical bones of each room, keeping original fireplaces when possible, but adding pops of color and modern design elements via vibrant wallpaper, colorful benches, tufted armchairs, and, cheerful surprises like a candy apple-red desk or bright orange chair. Frette bed and bath linens and rain showers indulge the senses, while locally crafted woolen blankets, dreamy mattresses, and body product offer guests a taste of New England.
A true sampling of the area's bounty can be had at Artistry on the Green, where owner Trisha Pérez Kennealy, a passionate cook and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in London, oversees the menus. Breakfast, complimentary for guests, includes fresh orange juice, strong coffee, and such offerings as sweet vanilla pancakes and duck hash topped with a poached duck egg from a nearby farm. Lunch brings local favorites, like New England quahog chowder and native lobster cobb salad, while dinner is a spellbinding affair highlighting local seafood, game, meats, and produce. Depending upon the season, you might encounter local oysters mignonette, a juicy Berkshire pork chop with roasted alliums, and a velvety lemon cheesecake to savor with some ice wine, Port, or even glass of wine off the compact, tightly curated menu.
Although the cuisine looks and tastes “black tie,” the dining room has comfy clothes feel what with the wooden Windsor chairs, bare hardwood floors, and young, cheerful staff, many of whom live in the area. The Kennealys want every guest at their inn to feel special and this includes children of all ages, who frequent the dining room.
Outside the inn, it's hard not to relive the area's history by visiting nearby Lexington Battle Green, Buckman Tavern, headquarters of the town's militia, and historic homes of luminaries, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott. The inn also sits along the Minuteman Bikeway, a beautiful 11-mile rail trail–free of cars–that winds through the woods from Lexington to Concord center. Since the inn thoughtfully provides bicycles, guests can explore the area on two wheels, including the boutiques, cafes, and gift shops of downtown Lexington before heading back to what feels like an extension of the Kennealy's gracious, elegant home.
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