beyond the secret garden is the entrance to the suite in the barn. these rooms are reserved for reid's very special guests. a canopy bed commands a view of the secret garden and there is a private kitchen and bath. it's hard to imagine there is a working barn on the other side of the wall. when we leave the hidden bedroom and make our way back through the secret garden, we come upon the entrance to the barn. cobwebs shroud the rafters, and the ground is covered with woodchips, sawdust and mud. yet it is all strangely beautiful.
The East Parlor
this first floor room in the wing offers views of the patio and the bamboo garden. morning light makes this a perfect place for a second cup of coffee and the paper. antiques and period curios mix happily with the decorative, hand-painted corner china capboard, the bathroom's contemporary fixtures and the luxurious 18" thick queen-sized mattress. small side tables and lamps turn the room into a private and cozy retreat by evening.
The Tap Room Suite
above the tap room is a guest bedroom that beautifully illustrates reid's sense of space and style. the room has a pitched ceiling that joins the walls barely five feet from the floor. where conventional wisdom might dictate the use of small scale furniture so as not to overpower the room, reid installed a large bed with a canopy that precisely mimics the curve of the ceiling. with an open, fishnet-weave tester, or canopy cover, the effect is almost airy.
The Parlor Chamber
the parlor chamber, with a view of main street-laid out along the 17th century indian path that once led to new london-is furnished with a high pencil post cherry-wood connecticut bedstead complete with canopy. at the foot of the bed is a six board storage chest with a neatly scalloped skirt. a small queen anne period looking glass graces one wall, a sampler worked by sally talcott in 1787 another.
The Kitchen Loft
the kitchen loom loft offers a view of the two acres of lawn and gardens at the rear of the house. it is furnished with two beds of the sort that would have been used in the loft in the 18th century. they are single, low-post beds of the type collectors call hired-men's beds. in keeping with the style of beds, the room also has a three drawer blanket chest with ball feet, a simple six board chest in red paint and ladder-back chairs that retain their original color.
Butternut Farm was built by Jonathan Hale, beginning in 1720. Innkeeper Don Reid acquired the house in 1959 and began painstakingly restoring the interior of this classic colonial home to its original condition by exposing the original wide brick fireplaces, uncovering the broad floorboards and removing later paint from the wealth of paneling on many of the rooms' walls. Hand-hammered hinges and other hardware, eight paneled fireplaces, handsome summer beams, and cornice detailing are but a few of the many fine features. Visitors come simply to see the extraordinary collection of eighteenth-century Connecticut antiques. Cherry six board chests, candlestands, ball-foot "hired-man" beds, pencilpost cherry beds, gateleg tables, candlesticks, early eighteenth-century banister-back chairs, pewter, and a fine collection of English Delft are but a sampling.