About a year ago, Carolyn and Charlie Hough embarked on an adventure that is paying in life dividends—and loads of wild blackberries. A chef by profession, Carolyn, along with her husband Charlie, who was recently retired, decided to purchase Cranberry Meadow Farm—once an historic c. 1797 tavern (originally known as Wilson Tavern) in Peterborough, New Hampshire—and turn it into an idyllic inn.
“We were looking for something exciting, next stage,” says Carolyn. “I always worked in the food arena and before finding this place, we looked for almost two years, starting in the North Fork of Long Island, working our way up North.” The 83-acre farm, explains Carolyn, is heavenly. It has 4 hiking trails, a swimming pool, a main garden area with 12 raised beds of vegetables and herbs, a lily and koi pond, chicken coops, and an additional garden that boasts historically recorded peonies, and a variety of edibles including elderberry bushes, lemongrass, honeysuckle, peach trees, apple trees, and raspberry bushes. Hydrangeas are aplenty and wild blackberries line the hiking trails off the main drive. In addition, the town of Peterborough, as they describe it, is ideal. It’s chock-full of artists, musicians, painters, and is the location of the renowned MacDowell artist residency program.
The actual interior of the inn itself possesses eight guest rooms outfitted with steam showers and a newly renovated state-of-the-art kitchen where Carolyn hosts seasonally-inspired cooking classes. Additional amenities include a spacious reception area perfect for large events (especially as it hosts a True Residential undercounter Wine Cabinet and a Beverage Center), a fully decked-out fitness room, and an upstairs pub room that retains its old world feel yet has modern, complementing touches such as its newly input copper bar and a True Residential Wine Cabinet and beer Beverage Dispenser. The Inn itself has also been suited with geothermal and solar power. But one of the coolest aspects of the Inn? Its rumored history as part of the Underground Railroad. The pub room/bar still has a trap door that leads to a downstairs holding area that can be accessed from two different areas on the main floor. A tunnel that led to the side of the house was previously filled in, but records of its existence live on. “We worked with a local artist to create this incredible piece of art for the space,” says Carolyn. “It symbolizes the Underground Railroad. It feels like something happened in here, it’s hauntingly beautiful.”
The kitchen, the crowning jewel of the inn, features a baking station replete with a bread and pizza oven, wall ovens, two large islands, two sinks, a range with six burners, two of our 30” Glass Door Refrigerators, and one of our 30” Freezers. The eye-catching cabinetry, which allows for plenty of storage, was fabricated by a local, highly-respected woodworker, Woody Huntington. One third of the space is dedicated to baking and the rest to creating hyper-local and seasonal meals for guests (and locals upon request), when the cooking classes are not taking place. Having started her career in a restaurant in California that specializes in working with farmers and sustainable, organic, and seasonal foods, Carolyn highlights that in her own pristine white kitchen—which she designed herself. What she doesn’t grow she sources from local farms and farmers and stores them in the True Residential designs. “The units are absolutely beautiful and they’re beautifully designed, I chose them not only for the glass door front panels, which allow me to be totally transparent—I am walking that talk too—but also because I needed a lot of space,” says Carolyn. It also grants her cooking class attendees the ability to easily grab what they need and feel comfortable working with a residential refrigerator that has commercial DNA. Countertops were outfitted in marble, not just for hygienic purposes, but because it allows for easy rolling of the dough.