“We have to stay at the Deerfield Inn,” said Kathie. “It’s the only place in town. We have to eat there too — no other restaurants.” She meant places that were convenient to Historic Deerfield — there actually are other places to stay and eat in the greater Deerfield area. But I’m all for convenience, especially if it means not having to get back into a car after a long drive from wherever we’d spent the previous night.
The Deerfield Inn is on Main Street, in the middle of the historic district, a few houses down from the town green and directly across the street from Historic Deerfield’s visitor center. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that. It opened in 1884 on the site of an earlier inn (that had burnt down), and had been operating ever since. It belongs to Historic Deerfield, so along with our bed and breakfast, we got free 3-month memberships to the museum. That meant we got free entry into all of their houses and exhibits.
We were a bit disappointed to find, upon checking in, that we were not in the main part of the inn. We were in the carriage house: a separate, large, red barn-like structure behind the main inn. But our disappointment lasted only until we saw the room. It was huge — probably twice as large as a room in the main inn would have been. Traveling with a friend and asking for two beds usually means giving up space. We were lucky that on this trip, the Inn at Shelburne Farms and the Deerfield Inn had space aplenty. You can’t tell from the photo, but there’s another part of the room with a seating area.
Dinner involved wandering the few feet from our room to Champney’s, their restaurant in the main inn. I’m not much of an alcohol drinker. I’d say that I average one glass of wine about every two months. But when our waitress/bartender said, “I make a great ginger martini,” I liked the sound of it. She wasn’t lying. Best. Drink. Ever. Now, every Friday afternoon, I actually consider driving the six hours from my house to Deerfield to have one.
Our experience with Champney’s food was mixed. I started with mushroom soup and Kathie started with fried oysters. Both were delicious. Then we had the same entree: roast chicken with cheddar grits and collards. I thought that the chicken was okay, but the cheddar grits could have been cheesier and the collards were a little gritty and bitter. I admit: I’m a southern grits and collards snob.
We had a better food experience at Champney at breakfast the next morning. It’s the first time I’d come across an “order anything you want off the full-service restaurant’s breakfast menu and it’s included in the price of the room” B&B breakfast. Champney’s describes itself as “farm to fork” and the breakfast made me a believer. The food looked beautiful and tasted gloriously fresh.
Service, from the three waitresses we had a Champney’s and from the inn’s front desk staff, was perfect. They’re also a dog-friendly hotel. Jack, who was on the hotel’s PR staff, was wandering the lobby as we were checking out.