This past June I headed through Connecticut from New York City to Massachusetts with an overnight at the Avon Old Farms Hotel. I was looking for a hotel with a sense of place and I found it. Avon, founded in 1645 in the Farmington Valley region of Connecticut, is an affluent area about 8 miles from Hartford. It’s a perfect hub from which to explore the region.
As I wandered through the Avon Old Farms Hotel’s hallways on a discovery quest, I thought, “Yes, this feels like classic New England.” New England themed artwork reminiscent of scenes from a Robert Frost poem of farmhouses, horses and woodlands are part of the decor that includes modern art and vases festooned with fresh flowers. Of course, portraits of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and other founding father notables are part of the mix.
The blend of American classic with touches of modern works well. Common areas are plentiful with couch and chair groupings that offer guests spots to social distance and visit. Because of the open airiness of the reception desk and lobby, and the care taken to give guests check-in directions, New England hospitality is at its finest here.
I happened to check in the beginning of June, the first weekend the hotel opened after the shut down in March. During my stay, the Avon Old Farms Hotel certainly had the perfect blend of guest comfort and safety mixed in with rest and relaxation. Hand sanitation stations and signage were at main doorways with friendly reminders to take care in shared spaces. The reminders did not impede enjoyment of the homey feel. Instead, I felt a peace of mind.
My traditional room, with its king-size, four poster canopy bed, wing back chairs, and polished wood furniture included everything I might need for a perfect night stay. The hair-dryer, coffee maker, phone, TV remote, make-up mirror and bathroom scale had stickers on them to show they were sanitized. Like the rest of the hotel, New England sensibilities are part of the room’s decor.
Original water color paintings highlight New England’s natural beauty, and the bathroom vanity accessories turned hospitality up a notch. I can’t remember the last time I saw porcelain trays and boxes used to hold toiletries. The blue floral pattern reminded me of my trip to Rye, England last year and my stay at the Old Borough Arms. What a simple touch to create a unique visual pleasure for my mini-vacation.
The bed, though, was the best. The down comforter with its soft cover and the canopy were such treats. Not all of the 156 guest rooms have beds with a canopy. It felt special to have one.
Rooms also come with a continental breakfast served the lobby. Because of COVID, this is grab and go dining. I grabbed some yogurt, a piece of fruit and breakfast bread. Coffee is served at the reception desk. You just need to ask for it.
If I had not arrived fairly late at night, I would have checked out the Tap Room. This is an elegant pub style bar with a robust drink selection. I also didn’t have time to try out Season’s Restaurant that serves up New England inspired dishes in addition to international fare. The restaurant with its expanse of windows and simple furnishings is quite lovely.
Other hotel amenities include: free WiFi, a fitness center, a business center and an outdoor pool. The pool is great. This one has an attendant, landscaping and plenty of umbrellas and lounge chairs. Its large size also allows for social distancing while taking a dip.
Although the Avon Old Farms Hotel is on a busy street, when you drive around to the back, the bustle goes away. Large, well-established leafy trees create a peaceful feel, and I imagine the fall colors are excellent here.
For folks heading to or arriving from Bradley International airport or the train station in Hartford, the shuttle is free but you do need to make arrangements in advance.