The New England region conjures images of all things quaint: covered bridges, Main Street parades, fall foliage, church steeples, lighthouses.
Homes, from classic colonials to Gilded-Age mansions, and gardens of the botanical, farm and park varieties, also have a place on that list.
Following is a rundown of the best home and garden settings throughout New England that are available to host memorable off-site group gatherings.
Boston is home to oodles of magnificent settings for receptions, including Hampshire House, a turn-of-the-century mansion located on Beacon Hill with views of the city’s Public Garden.
According to David O’Donnell, senior manager of media relations for the Greater Boston CVB, this Georgian revival townhouse, featuring ornate Italian marble, crystal chandeliers and tall
Palladian windows, can also configure banquet, theater and classroom setups.
Situated in the Berkshires is Lenox, Mass.-based The Mount, the circa-1902 home of author Edith Wharton, which can host group lunches and casual receptions on the terrace for up to 50 people, often paired with private tours of the house, gardens and grounds.
“Particularly popular are our ghost tours, which take place after normal hours in some of the eeriest parts of the estate,” said Anne K. Schuyler, The Mount’s director of visitor services.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Holyoke, Mass.-based Wistariahurst offers both home and garden settings.
“The Music Room at Wistariahurst is styled in the era of the Italian Renaissance and holds up to 120 guests,” said Michele Goldberg, director of marketing for the Greater Springfield CVB.
“The gardens at Wistariahurst Museum offer a beautiful outdoor location to host cocktail receptions, wine tastings and more.”
The area is also home to the Springfield-based Carriage House, which is located in Forest Park and features a banquet room.
Goldberg added that during warmer weather, “an elegantly draped tent, complete with chandeliers and cathedral window sides, is available for larger groups, and pavilions plus a lavish rose garden are offered within the park.”
In Connecticut’s Fairfield County, the Norwalk-based circa-1931 Gallaher Mansion and Cranbury Park features a great lawn, stone terrace, sculpture gardens and a pavilion.
“Groups of up to 100 can meet year-round inside the impressive home, including its French walnut-paneled meeting rooms,” said Scott Phelps, president of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CCSB).
Founded in 1891 in a Georgian mansion is the New Haven Lawn Club, which today houses Lawn Club Fine Catering, a catering/events service that produces events in this unique venue.
The elegant ballroom features 25-foot barreled-vaulted ceilings and will accommodate banquet, theater and reception settings, according to Phelps. Other spaces include the ballroom rotunda and a wood-paneled library.
The mansions of Newport, R.I., are the stuff of legend, and according to Tim Walsh, vice president of sales for Discover Newport, many of them “take off-site entertaining and dining to a new level.”
Among them is The Elms, a home of the Preservation Society of Newport County.
“While The Elms offers the elegance of Newport’s summer cottages, one of its special features is the enchanting sunken garden and enticing outdoor space that groups can utilize to start an evening-to-remember at this Gilded-Age mansion,” Walsh said.
The Victoria Mansion, an Italian villa in Portland, Maine, with indoor and outdoor reception space, is located within walking access to group-friendly hotels.
“There are amazing theater groups in town that can incorporate period performance arts,” said Elissa English-O’Brien, director of group marketing for Visit Portland. “Your guests can be engaged and entertained while appreciating the stunning architectural details of this mansion.”
Situated just outside of Manchester, N.H., is the historic Bedford Village Inn.
The restaurant at the inn is a restored 1800s colonial-style home where planners may arrange meetings, private dinners and cocktail receptions in one of five individually decorated dining rooms.