by Wayne and Judy Bayliff on 09/06/11 at 6:23 pm
Rock Hall is the perfect getaway destination. It is an intimate and luxurious country inn that is well situated off the beaten path in picturesque northwestern Connecticut.
Rock Hall was originally designed in 1912 as a country home for a steamship company heir. The unique private manor is now an exclusive country inn catering to discriminating travelers.
Distinctive and apart
The home was designed by Addison Mizner, the celebrated architect most known for his work in Florida where he made famous the Spanish Revival style that established the sui generis aspect and aura of tony Palm Beach. Over the years, much of Florida has been converted from pre-20s shingle dwellings to the Spanish design — thanks to Mr. Mizner.
Rock Hall is the only surviving piece of social architecture in the Northern United States designed by Mizner – that alone makes it a worthwhile place to see.
Small, elegant, and remote
There are four distinct sleeping rooms at Rock Hall. The small number of guestrooms gives one the perception of being in a very private resort where guests feel like they are part of a family rather than temporary visitors.
The congenial owner/innkeepers Stella and Michael Somers add to the wondrous sense of comfort and informality at the lodge as they easily move among the guests seated before the considerable hearth with afternoon cocktails and remarkable hors d’oeuvres.
A place that does not forget
Sitting alone in the huge parlor, we found the house to have both a restful and a haunting quality. Listening in the quiet, we easily conjured up sounds and visions of social gatherings in the 1920s with summer’s fading sunlight shimmering through the glass along the staircase and through the original wavy windowpanes.
The inn’s period antiques sat seemingly wanting to reminisce about warm night conversations from those early years. Times when well-to-do houseguests blithely mingled and talked through billowing layers of cigar smoke about the latest Broadway plays and current events. It all surely happened at Rock Hall – in this now silent room.
If you have musical talent, take a turn at the grand piano in the same room – you just might find ready vocal accompaniment among the other guests – and spirits. Cole Porter or Jerome Kern tunes would be apropos as they most certainly filled the air in good times in the long forgotten past of this magnificent manor.