During the Easter break, eager for a few days of respite from the gloom of city life, I headed two and half hours north to the Berkshires to stay at Gedney Farm of New Marlborough, a bed and breakfast that offers lodging in a former barn.
The two barns of Gedney Farm were built as a showcase for the finest Percheron stallions and Jersey cattle at the beginning of the 19th century, and were reconverted in the early 1990’s by the visionary architect Robert Edson Swain. Raw and authentic barn rudiments have been preserved, such as the attractive details of a quaint gambrel roof, dormers and cupolas that evoke 19th century Normandy barns. In the first one, where charming weddings and unique events have become a signature piece of Gedney Farm, some of the old horse stanchions still hang on the wall. Old bolts and rivets adorn the doors and heavy dark beams criss-cross the high vaulted ceilings, revealing how functional elements can be successfully integrated into an elegant modern interior.
Inside, my suite was wonderfully appointed with its granite fireplace, antique yellow color, mouldings and canopy queen bed. An old painting hung on the wall that seemed to come straight out of an 18th century living room. Old books with torn cloth covers sat on a shelf. A bouquet of lavender hung on the door. Closing my eyes, it was easy to imagine that I’d been transported two centuries back. But the sturdy mattress underneath and the cozy temperature in the room were pleasant reminders of the material comforts of the 21st century. The same can be said about the modern bathroom, complete with its own Jacuzzi.
But Gedney Farm is not just a romantic getaway for stressed out adults. Kids will have a space too as most rooms have a pull-out couch. Your children can run around on the open hilly greens of Gedney, spot beavers swimming in a lake or pay a visit to Rawson Brook Farm, where dozens of baby goats take their first steps in the spring. You can witness the milking at 5 p.m. and stand around to watch how goat cheese is made using sacks that are hung from the ceiling. Horse barns are also nearby and trail rides through the woods are scheduled all day.
Morning is quite an event at Gedney Farm – you’re treated to a breakfast of fresh breads, brioches and pastries along with fresh fruit, house-made granola and a fresh pot of Barrington roast coffee and organic tea. After breakfast you can treat yourself to a visit at Mepal Manor & Spa a few minutes down the road. Yoga and pilates classes are offered every day as well as luxurious skin treatments, facials, massages and hair salon services. Or you can take on a walk in the lush woods around Mepal Manor, a beautifully restored manor house owned by the proprietors of Gedney Farm. In the afternoon, head back to Gedney for a tea party with scones and homemade jams.