Take a break from your usual routine this holiday season at one of these fantastic local hotels and inns.
If you’re looking for a respite from the hectic pace of the holidays, need a place to put up visiting family, or think it’s about time you spent a romantic evening with your spouse, look no farther than these unique Merrimack Valley properties. They offer relaxing and elegant getaways without requiring a long drive.
( Shown top of page ) Located on the campus of Phillips Academy, the Andover Inn is a hidden pearl. Offering the amenities of an upscale, branded hotel in an exclusive and historic atmosphere, the inn’s 30 newly-renovated and spacious guest rooms have flat-screen TVs and glass-enclosed showers. The lobby’s contemporary decor is a nice complement to the inn’s classic New England setting. Within walking distance of downtown Andover’s restaurants and shops and Phillips’ acclaimed Addison Gallery of American Art, the inn is also adjacent to the Cochran Wildlife Sanctuary’s 65 acres of woodlands and walking trails — a great opportunity for bird lovers.
Samuel’s, Andover Inn’s full-service restaurant, offers a traditional New England menu that includes locally sourced seafood, produce and meats. Diners can eat in the formal dining room, or in the more relaxed setting of Samuel’s tavern. The bar at Samuel’s, with its comfortable high-back chairs, is a great place to have a long talk or catch a game.
UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center
High ceilings, big windows and water views adorn the rooms of the University of Massachusetts Lowell Inn & Conference Center, a full-service hotel on the banks of the Concord River.The ICC boasts over 200 rooms, a restaurant and 15,000 square feet of event space. UMass Lowell bought the building in 2009 and designed it to be both a hotel and dorm space, so during the school year it is separated into two parts. Visitors stay in 31 inn-style rooms on the first two floors while UMass Lowell students occupy floors three through nine, which are separated off from the rest of the hotel. After graduation in May, the student floors are converted into traditional hotel rooms for the public.
The ICC commands views of the city on one side and the lower locks of the Pawtucket Canal on the other. Many rooms have patios or windows overlooking the falls. A walking bridge over the river connects visitors to downtown, including the Boarding House Park, museums, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. “The national park is right outside our door. We’re are uniquely accessible to all that Lowell has to offer,” Scalesse said.
The ICC also has its own restaurant and lounge, 50 Warren, with outdoor seating facing the river. 50 Warren Lounge is open to the general public, serving dinner every night. “We have a very pretty view, so it’s really a nice night out,” said Scalesse. “On Friday nights throughout the summer, come listen to our live entertainment. Have a drink. Sample a special and sit out there and see how pretty it is.”
The only hotel in downtown Lowell, the ICC helps bring revenue to the city and university, Scalesse says. Many school events, non-profit galas, and summer conferences are held here. Conferences often have a career link to the university. The ICC also hosts community events like the acts in the Lowell Summer Music Series and Lowell Folk Festival. Scalesse says the ICC staff work with community organizers to show people Lowell is worth visiting.
Tiffany Gardens Bed & Breakfast
Located on a secluded residential street, Tiffany Gardens Bed & Breakfast offers two well-appointed guest rooms, each with a private deck that overlooks the stunning, natural setting of the inn. Innkeepers Kathy and Jim McMahon use organic and locally sourced ingredients in their daily preparation of breakfast, which includes fresh muffins. Rooms include laptop computers and miniature refrigerators.
A 12-minute drive from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Tiffany Gardens is also just a few minutes away from Londonderry’s famed Tupelo Music Hall. Also close by is Moonlight Meadery, a local producer of honey-based wines, offering tours and tastings to Tiffany Gardens’ guests. Other nearby attractions include LaBelle Winery in Amherst, N.H., Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, N.H., and Merrimack Premium Outlets in Merrimack, N.H.