A lot of us feel fortunate if we have enough time off or the financial means to take even one big trip every year. As a person who loves to travel, and who aspires to see as much of the world as possible, I am all too familiar with the challenges of getting away. There are few things that make me happier than visiting new places. In fact, if given the choice between a new diamond ring and a trip to Europe, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter. However, considering that vacations away from the North American continent haven’t exactly been the norm over the past few years, in order to satisfy my wanderlust I have embraced the idea of using just about any excuse (birthdays, anniversaries, Groundhog Day) to explore some of the places close by that are really quite impressive.
Lexington, just a short trip from the Merrimack Valley, is one of these places. Today a bedroom community for well-off professionals, the town, along with nearby Concord, is known historically as the birthplace of the American Revolution, where, on April 19, 1775, the Battle of Lexington was fought on the local green. Minute Man National Historical Park, located in Lexington, Concord and Lincoln, has preserved many of the historic sites relating to that event — must sees for anyone lucky enough to live nearby, and certainly satisfying for those of us who long to discover new and fascinating places.
Another wonderful aspect of traveling for me, of course, is having the opportunity to stay in unique and beautiful hotels and inns. Happily, Lexington has one of these as well.
My daughter, Madelaine, and I recently spent a night at The Inn at Hastings Park. The inn, which has 22 guest rooms, opened in February 2014 and is comprised of three historic buildings constructed in the 1800s, including a former nursing home, a barn and a private residence. The property blends seamlessly into its historic Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood, a short walk from Lexington’s downtown shops and restaurants.
The inn’s interiors are elegant and modern, yet still manage to pay homage to the town’s Colonial roots. I was especially impressed by the regional origins of many of the inn’s design elements. The tables and chairs in the inn’s restaurant, Artistry on the Green, are a funky play on Colonial furniture created by O&G Studio in Warren, R.I., and the hand-printed wallpapers — found in some common areas and guest rooms —were created by Sister Parish Design of Larchmont, N.Y., and Peter Fasano of Great Barrington. Even the inn’s mattresses were custom made by a company in Boston.
Madelaine and I stayed in one of three rooms in the barn building, a bright and airy space with a king-size bed, pullout sofa, gas fireplace and a luxurious bathroom complete with a soaking tub, walk-in shower and white marble tile. Most of the guest rooms at Hastings Park have king-size beds, but only a few have desk space large enough for a laptop, so if you need to work while you’re there, be sure to request one of them.
Much like the inn’s decor, the ingredients used at Artistry on the Green are nearly all regionally sourced. Madelaine, not typically a seafood lover, devoured her roasted sea bass, and my pan-seared duck breast was perfectly cooked — one of the better versions of this dish I’ve had. The restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, is a popular spot for Lexington locals, so if you plan to eat dinner there during your stay, I’d recommend making a reservation.
Lexington is a great place to visit anytime of year, but April is particularly special, and not just because of the arrival of spring. The national park’s annual re-enactments of the events that led up to the beginning of the American Revolution in April 1775 draw thousands of people from around the world each year. You can witness the capping of the Liberty Pole, Paul Revere’s historic capture, and the main event, the re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington, takes place at dawn on Patriots’ Day, which falls on April 20 this year.
The Inn at Hastings Park: Lexington, Mass. / (781) 301-6660 / InnAtHastingsPark.com
Minute Man National Historical Park Visitor Center:
Lincoln, Mass. / (978) 369-6993 / NPS.gov/MIMA