The “True Story” of the IW Life Preserver


While cleaning out the basement of the 1792 portion of the inn, we ran across a life preserver.

Chef Jason and Matt, a devoted and valued 5-year kitchen crew member and man-about-inn helper, planned to dispose of it.



But seeing its age (the preserver) and remembering there was never a pool (perhaps, people swam in the pond?), we thought it would be fun to run a contest with our Facebook friends.




A huge thank you to all who responded. We planned to give one prize, but after our weekend guests and staff voted, we ended up with three clear favorites.


FIRST PRIZE, BRAGGING RIGHTS AND A $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO THE INN goes to Katherine Silta for her story – “A man and a life preserver walk into a bar. It was a dark and stormy night (as most tales begin). Nor’easter drove seagulls west and Ahab followed. Arrived at Weathersfield Inn. A whale of a time in Lucy’s Tavern. In lieu of lampshade, he wore a preserve in the Conga Line.”



SECOND PRIZE AND A $25 GIFT CERTIFICATE goes to Craig Wisniewski –

“This Life Preserver, and many like it, were sold here in Perkinsville at the Hopkins’ General Store at the turn of the century. Many residents were confused as to why, but were extremely thankful to have them when the great flood of 1927 nearly destroyed the whole town.”

(By the way, Craig married Kim Adams in 2010 at the Inn.)


“This life preserver is the actual life preserver from the USS Minnow. A little known fact is that Gilligan and the Mary Ann took a quick vacation after they were rescued. All those years on the island together and nothing but after they returned, sparks were flying. There was so much attention being paid to them they had to just get away and there is no better place to get away then The Inn at Weathersfield. Gilligan brought the life preserver plus a few other souvenirs from their time on the island with him on the trip because he was going to the Antiques Road Show as they were taping in New England. Once Gilligan was told the life preserver was worthless, he just left it in the Lincoln room. It was then brought to the basement where you just found it.”


Beehive Oven’s in full swing!

Every Saturday (and sometimes Sunday), all winter long, we’re firing up the Beehive Oven right inside the front door! Last night, Cavendish Quail with garlic, orange and fresh thyme. Tonight, scallops for a special Chef’s Table in the Wine Cellar!


Exciting Changes!

We are so pleased to announce that after 10 amazing years serving as caretakers of this fine historic inn, Jane and Dave Sandelman have transferred ownership to Marilee and Richard Spanjian. Chef Jason Tostrup and the entire staff are excited with the changes ahead. Stay tuned for the launch of our ongoing cooking classes and other tasting adventures as we grow into New England’s Premier Culinary Inn.


Tavern Night Music Kicks Off


Tony and Glenn played on the deck last night while everyone enjoyed a few Juicy Lucy burgers!!



Cavendish 6th Grade Visits the Kitchen


Chef Jason taught the 6th graders how to cook (and eat) local quail.  All part of a project where these great kids learn about growing food! Yums all around.


Donald Jurney Painting Workshop


Despite a little rain…. The renowned American landscape painter Donald Jurney conducted a ‘Plein Air’ workshop here at the inn last week.  The participants had an opportunity to watch a daily demonstration by Donald and then spend the day painting – followed by a group critique.  A good time was had by all. Filled with beautiful art, food and wine…. we hope to offer another painting workshop soon!  For more information on Donald Jurney and his incredibly inspired work visit his website.


Class Trip to NYC – Dinner at the James Beard House


On June 4th we packed up our kitchen and headed south to NYC to cook dinner at The James Beard House.  It was a fantastic experience for our entire staff and we even had a few extra minutes to enjoy city life.   What a night!! To see the full photo album – check our facebook page!!


Congratulations Julia & Rob


Julia and Rob were married at the inn on May 27th.  It was a spectacular day with lots of sunshine and plenty of smiles.  Photo courtesy of Kingdom Wedding Photography


Dreaming of New York City….


Not really a dream.  Our dinner at the James Beard House in New York is just 2 weeks away on June 4th.  We are starting to assemble all our goodies from wild edibles to wine. Ramps have been harvested, pickled and pesto’d.  Want more info?  Here’s a link to our press release


Spring Wedding


Congratulations to Monique and Mark.  Perfect couple, perfect weather… a great day.  We wish you all the happiness in the world!






Inn at Weathersfield MorelsChef, while out with his son, harvests an amazing crop of morels.  The Spiderman lunchbox never had it soooo good.


Trout Season


Yesterday we hosted the launch of a new line of clothing called ‘Troutwear’.  Great people, clothes, music and food filled the inn.  Interested learning more about Troutwear?





Open for the Season

Inn at Weathersfield Tarragon

Spring has arrived and our renewal has begun!  The garden is showing off her gifts carried over from the winter.


Spring Break is Coming


We are starting the long process of getting ready for spring break. That means not only cleaning and repairs but looking forward to the summer months.

We have lots of events planned for the summer – everything from a Community Picnic to our Farm Dinner Weekend.  Our last night of dinner service is March 30 and we’ll reopen Thursday May 3rd!!


Raptor Ridge Wine Dinner


Last night we hosted a fantastic wine dinner with our friends from Raptor Ridge Winery.  Fun was had by all.  Here are some pix from the festivities!Paella "On Fire"


Renegade Spinach Soup

Check out the guys hard at work making “Renegade” Spinach soup.  Why the name you ask? Renegade is the variety of spinach that is grown by Cogers Sugarhouse Gardens…. and if you come in for dinner and there is spinach on the menu… you can bet its Renegade!!!  Here’s a link to the Youtube Video….



A ‘Must See’ on your next visit…

Just up the hill from the inn is Wood’s Cider Mill.  A place that always amazes us.  In spring the sugar house pumps out steam and the most delicious maple syrup around.  In the fall their antique cider press is making delicious cider from local heirloom apples.  That cider then goes into the maple evaporator and voila! Cider Jelly is born!.  Here’s a great article that ran in this week’s Free Press all about Tina and Willis and their wonderful products.

If you haven’t yet visited them – next time you are at the inn, ask us for directions – we’ll make sure you get there!


Winding down….

Well – we are at the very last week of our ‘Summer/Fall’ season – and what a season its been.  Lots of happy celebrations and great meals served on the deck…. we met lots of new friends and saw lots of old friends too.  And now we hear the forecast for snow on Thursday!  Wow…time to wax up the skis and dig out the mittens.  Here’s a little look back at the season (just a few of the many weddings this last season!)

Weddings at the Inn


Chicken under a Brick

At long last – a return to the blog with a very special recipe!  One of our most requested recipes (and most ordered dishes).  Chicken under a Brick is cooked in ‘the old style’ – and literally under a brick.  So fire up your stove, get a good heavy piece of masonry and get cooking!!

Chicken Under a Brick

Boiled Cider Glazed Chicken under a Brick with Green Peppercorn Mashers

By Chef Jason Tostrup

For the chicken

1 Whole Chicken or 4 skin on chicken breasts

½ cup cup orange juice

½ cup fresh cider

2 tbs hot sauce


2 bricks wrapped in foil

For the pan glaze

¼ cup Woods Boiled Cider

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 each minced Shallots

1 branch fresh Thyme

1 pinch Chili Flakes

For the spice mix

place in spice grinder and grind

  • 4 tbl Fennel seed
  • 2 tbl black pepper
  • 2 tbl coriander seed
  • 2 tbl brown mustard seed
  • 4 each cloves
  • 4 each juniper berry
  1. Split chicken in half. Remove wing , back bone, leg and thigh bone. Place half chicken skin side up and gently press down on the breast bone to flatten breast. Place chicken in baking pan to marinate over night( roast chicken bones for stock)
  2. Whisk orange juice, cider and hot sauce together and pour over chicken. Let marinate overnight or at least 5 hours.
  3. To cook chicken, Set oven to 400. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Place two large saute pans on stove top over high heat. Season chicken with salt and enough ground spices just to lightly cover. (You will have extra spices left from the mix)
  4. Place oil into hot pan,-using tongs place chicken in pan skin side down.
  5. Next place foil wrapped brick on top of each chicken and gently press down.
  6. Let chicken brown on the stove top for 2-3 minutes , then place in hot oven and bake for 15-20 min.
  7. Remove chicken from oven take off the bricks. Their should be no pink meat showing.
  8. To finish flip chicken in pan so that the skin side is now up. Add shallots, thyme, boiled Cider and balsamic balsamic vinegar. Using a spatula or spoon, mix all the ingredients the chicken pan. Making sure to get all the pan drippings and chicken flavor from the bottom of the pan.
  9. Place chicken over mashed potatoes and and drizzle with Boiled Cider Glaze.

For the mashers

2 lb Yukon gold potatoes

2 lbs Russet potatoes

1 cup cream 3 tbl green peppercorns (preferred in can or brine)

1/2cup Cream

2 sticks Butter

½ cup Sour Cream

  1. Peel, cut and boil potatoes together in the same pot until potatoes are fork tender.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, and in separate pot, bring to boil cream, butter and whole green peppercorns. Once butter has melted, place mixture in blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Using hand-mixer or potato masher mix potatoes add peppercorn mixture and sour cream and continue to mix until smooth. Season with salt to your taste.
  4. For an extra flavor you can grate fresh nutmeg into your potatoes!

A Very Busy Summer

Well – things have been really busy here.  Have barely had a minute to update the blog and website.  We have had some terrific weddings and events (yoga weekend) and now we are preparing for our 7th Annual Farm Dinner on August 21.  (Still a few rooms and tickets left)

Here are some photos of our recent brides and grooms – great parties – great people!!


Congratulations Stephanie and Jeff!!

Halibut Ceviche Hors Doeuvres

Stephanie and Jeff visited the inn a few years ago when they were still ‘courting’.  Several months ago I got a one line email from Jeff asking about weddings at the inn.   Next thing I knew we were planning a winter wedding!!  A few emails, a visit for dinner and we had one beautiful wedding planned.  Stephanie’s custom touches turned our dining room in to an elegant space.

It was a beautiful March winter day yesterday.  Just as the sun set, 46 friends gathered in our living room to celebrate the marriage of Stephanie and Jeff.  Then on to a great cocktail hour with lots of  ‘Lemontinis’, ‘Cider Slammers’ and passed hors d’oeuvres like this tasty halibut ceviche !  Then…the delicious dinner followed by merriment  into the night…

The Weathersfield Family wishes you guys all the happiness in the world!!


The Seasonal Kitchen

Woods Cider Jelly at The Inn at Weathersfield

I just received a PDF of an article that Jason wrote for Edible Green Mountain Magazine.  Its all about Willis and Tina Wood and their apple products.  Kudos to Jason for writing such a beautiful piece.

As I read the article again this morning I got to thinking about how lucky we are here at the inn.  We have the freedom to play a little…test our theories…learn from our successes and failures.   We get to meet new people, try new (old) products and constantly evolve.  Chef Jason is a classic example of someone who is constantly renewing himself, reinventing his cuisine and inspiring those around him.  Give this article a read – I’ll bet you will  feel inspired to look at something in a new way today – or maybe make a loaf of Grandma Ida’s Oatmeal Bread.


A Vermont Winter Wedding

Rehearsal Dinner

A winter wedding has to be among the list of my favorite things.  Small and intimate – so romantic.  This weekend we hosted Anna & David and their families for a wedding celebration.  The weekend was full of champagne, smiles & flowers.  Not a dry eye in the house.  Chef designed a perfect 6 course dinner in the wine cellar with wines paired to each course. We wish Anna & David a very, very happy future – filled with lots of celebration!

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