Fall Travel Guide: Custom Weekends: Pose as a New Yorker at Your Country House

Washington, CT

“Um, there’s no cell-phone reception,” John said calmly after we had oohed and aahed our way through our first hour at the Mayflower Inn, which is the perfect vision of what a country house should look like. And I mean perfect through the eyes of even the most design-­sensitive types, who would be offended if the hydrangeas

 


“Um, there’s no cell-phone reception,” John said calmly after we had oohed and aahed our way through our first hour at the Mayflower Inn, which is the perfect vision of what a country house should look like. And I mean perfect through the eyes of even the most design-­sensitive types, who would be offended if the hydrangeas weren’t huge and buoyant, the chintz curtains weren’t cheerfully Brunschwig & Fils, and the antiques were insufficiently polished and expensive. That’s why New Yorkers love the Mayflower: The gardens and linens and spa (complete with de Kooning painting!) would satisfy Oprah, and there is no more lovely part of the world than the nearby Connecticut River Valley and Litchfield, with its ancient trees and crisp white farmhouses, which have been massaged into pristine beauty by weekend-house owners like Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, gazillionaire Henry Kravis, and Oscar de la Renta.

[sidebar]This was all good — except the cell-phone thing. There we were at the pool, with views of the valley laid out before us, sunset approaching, and John mid-­business-deal at home. “It’ll work better when we drive into town tomorrow,” I guessed, adding cheerfully, “Cocktail time!” as I darted toward the inn’s clubby little bar. Crisis averted. After dinner on the terrace (pear, frisée and mâche salad, and the most delicate organic salmon), we slept under a chintz canopy, then headed the next morning to Litchfield, where one stretch of country road reached a cell-phone tower. (Phew.) Later, we got massages down in the inn’s tiny basement spa, after we discovered that the Mayflower’s brand-new, featured-in-Vogue-and-­Vanity Fair mega-spa across the lawn isn’t open to inn guests on weekdays unless they’ve booked a spa week. Who knew? Oh well — if John could manage without his cell, I could miss a body scrub near a de Kooning.