BRADFORD, N.H. - It was nearly 9 o'clock on a rainy Friday night, and it had been some time since we had seen an illuminated building on the back roads we were traveling to the Rosewood Country Inn. The innkeepers had promised they would leave a note with our room key if we arrived after 8, but prospects for supper were looking dimmer by the mile.
Once we entered the inn's brightly lighted parlor, however, we found not only a warm note of welcome but also a list of local restaurants with distances and directions. We wouldn't have to go to bed hungry after all.
The welcome is typical of the thoughtfulness displayed by Lesley and Dick Marquis, formerly of Woonsocket, R.I., who have owned the inn for 16 years. Other thoughtful amenities include CD players with soothing instrumental CDs provided and a guest pantry with complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Soda, popcorn, bottled water, and snacks are offered for a small fee, with all proceeds donated to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The striking, three-story Victorian building, which hosted such early Hollywood luminaries as Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford, sits on 12 acres with a stream, pond, and waterfall. In mid-October, the surrounding woods were ablaze in gold and red. Guests can hike trails on the property and snowshoe or cross-country ski in winter.
Lesley Marquis is the chef and decorator, and her attention to detail is evident inside and out. Candles beam from every window, and the property is artfully ornamented with just the right mass of flowers here, grouping of twig furniture there. Inside, the common rooms are elegant and welcoming. The large windowed breakfast room was decorated in fall colors of gold and coral, with pumpkin centerpieces on the tables. By Christmas, she said, the decor would be entirely different.
Our room, Moondancer, was tucked beneath double dormers on the third floor. Long and narrow, it nonetheless felt spacious. The color scheme of sage and mauve was soothing, and delicate stencils on the off-white walls created a garden effect. We loved the two wide, cushioned window seats overlooking the back of the property. They were perfect spots to curl up and read, and with the windows open we could hear the rustle of leaves and the soft rush of the waterfall.
The room featured a queen-size sleigh bed, two wingback chairs, a gas fireplace, and a dresser. There were a few tasteful prints on the walls and accent pieces such as a lady's high-button shoe filled with silk flowers, but the effect was not overly decorated or fussy.
The roomy bath had a walk-in shower with two showerheads, two wood vanities topped with gilt-framed mirrors, and a hair dryer. The inn's high-end rooms offer Jacuzzis for two.
Breakfasts were a treat for the eye and the palate: chilled honeydew soup and Belgian waffles with bananas and walnut praline sauce one day and poached pears with raspberry kiwi sauce and a tomato-basil frittata the next. Lesley emerged from the kitchen to welcome guests and share recipes.
We were surprised to see a full bar off the breakfast room, until Lesley explained that the inn is a popular venue for small weddings (up to 60 guests), with its picturesque gazebo, waterfall, and arched bridges over the stream. The bar is usually open in the late afternoon and early evening for guests.
Darlene and Anthony Munoz of Ventura, Calif., visiting New England in the fall for the first time, found the inn "just the most beautiful spot" to see the foliage. "The innkeepers are so friendly," Darlene Munoz said. "It's like going back in time."
Ellen Albanese can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.