New England dining reviews >>> Longfellow's Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA
Wayside Inn Dining Review
Traditional New England Lives at Longfellow's Wayside Inn Restaurant
Article and photo by Eric H.
Longfellow's Wayside Inn restaurant is like a greatest hits box set of traditional New England.
The Wayside Inn is old, charming, imperfect and historic, filled with rustic rooms, cozy firelight, and New England personalities in period-clothing, circa 1716, intent on serving the best Yankee pot roast and other New England fare known to humankind.
Successfully able to please the grandmother, placate the stressed out urban professional and make the family feel at home, the Wayside Inn creates a special memory for everyone looking for a traditional piece of the New England pie. It's sort of like Currierand Ives, Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kincaide all rolled into one.
Originally known as Howe's Tavern from 1716 to 1861, this beloved landmark attracted international attention as the setting for a group of fictitious characters gathering at the tavern in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's renowned 1862 book of poems, "Tales of a Wayside Inn." Howe's Tavern soon changed its name to Longfellow's Wayside Inn and the rest is history -- legendary dining and lodging, a place on the National Register of Historic Places, tours of the inn as well as the on-site Wayside Gristmill and Redstone School, built by automobile icon Henry Ford (who bought the inn in 1923).
From the moment one enters through the old, red colonial wooden structure, there's a feeling of place at this one-of-a-kind restaurant. The floors and walls may have occasional imperfections that would ruin the bold, paisley world of an HGTV interior designer, but, ultimately, the upstairs and downstairs wooden-beamed, carpeted and wood-floor dining rooms offer true New England perfection. Some rooms are large, creating a communal type of feeling, while others are tiny, creaky and set to the glow of romantic candlelight. Function rooms also provide a wonderful setting for a family, wedding party or corporate event. There's also the rustic "Old Bar Room," which reads like a colonial version of "Cheers," full of New England personality and personalities.
The aforementioned Yankee Pot Roast and other New England lunch and dinner offerings like New England clam chowder, Boston schrod, lobster pie, slow-roasted prime rib, homemade bread and deep-dish apple pie result in the apex of New England-flavored dining. Each dish offers the kind of mouthwatering regional dishes expected when dreaming of a New England meal. The Wayside Inn also offers an impressive wine list, sure to please the connoisseur as well as the person who prounounces the "t" on cabernet.
Longfellow's Wayside Inn could charge a small fortune to take advantage of diners looking for the epitome of New England dining, but its honest Yankee roots will have nothing of the kind. The Wayside Inn is actually a bargain when compared to other traditional New England restaurants. The "American Heritage" menu offers reasonably-priced complete dinners, Monday through Friday, including appetizer, entree and dessert. Of course, in the best New England traditional, the package also includes cheese and crackers, choice of potato and vegetable (very fresh), and the "Gristmill Bakery" basket, which has incredible varieties of homemade bread.
After dining, a view of the old buildings, the wide open fields and the feeling of being in another century will confirm this New England landmark's regional greatness. Longfellow's Wayside Inn's greatest New England hits will play in your mind long after your visit, as it is the definitive place to experience an authentic New England way of life.
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