Have a Romantic Dinner at Lower Waterford's World-Renowned Rabbit Hill Inn | 7 Nights Spotlight | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Have a Romantic Dinner at Lower Waterford's World-Renowned Rabbit Hill Inn

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Rabbit Hill Inn - BRENT HARREWYN
  • Brent Harrewyn
  • Rabbit Hill Inn

What started as a vacation led to an unexpected vocation for Leslie and Brian Mulcahy. In the early 1990s, when they were living in Rhode Island and working in the corporate world, the married couple traveled to Vermont's Northeast Kingdom for a stay at the romantic Rabbit Hill Inn.

Rabbit Hill Inn - BRENT HARREWYN
  • Brent Harrewyn
  • Rabbit Hill Inn

The 19-room bed-and-breakfast dates back to 1795, and it became a frequent destination for the Mulcahys. Leslie still recalls an appetizer she enjoyed at Rabbit Hill more than 25 years ago: smoked-chicken-and-goat-cheese ravioli. "I'll never forget it," she said.

The Mulcahys, now in their late fifties, befriended the innkeepers and soon decided to make a life change: In 1994, they moved to Waterford to help run the biz. When the owners retired three years later, the Mulcahys purchased the property; they've been running the inn ever since.

"It wasn't by design or intention," Leslie said. "It unfolded chapter by chapter very serendipitously." And the story continues. In 2017, Travel + Leisure ranked Rabbit Hill among the top 100 hotels in the world — and No. 6 in the U.S.

Location Details Rabbit Hill Inn
48 Lower Waterford Rd.
Northeast Kingdom
Lower Waterford, VT
802-748-5168
closed: Wed.
American (New)

Not staying overnight? Day visitors can get a taste of the hospitality at dinnertime. Every table in the intimate dining room is reserved for one party per evening. Meals unfold at a leisurely pace, making diners feel both at home and like special guests. As a gas fireplace flickers, supper starts with a loaf of oatmeal-molasses bread warm from the oven, presented on a cutting board with a pat of butter shaped like a rabbit.

Brain and Leslie Mulcahy - BRENT HARREWYN
  • Brent Harrewyn
  • Brain and Leslie Mulcahy

Executive chef Andrew Hunter's offerings range from traditional to contemporary, American to Asian. On a late November weekend, appetizers were as varied as turkey-vegetable soup and red-snapper sashimi. Entrées included a goat cheese gnudi with vegetables and a creative yet comforting Moroccan lamb ragout with chickpea cavatelli, feta, greens and a poached egg.

Rabbit Hill sits on a small rise amid a cluster of white clapboard buildings, across from the town church and library, in a village that's home to fewer than 100 people. A moonlit walk in light snow, or a stroll as the sun sinks late on a summer evening, stretches a memorable meal into a getaway.

This article was originally published in 7 Nights: The Seven Days Guide to Vermont Restaurants & Bars in April 2018.

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