When the rolling hills of central Massachusetts beckoned, Bronson Alcott (Louisa May’s dad) and his optimistic band of Utopians settled in and named their farm “Fruitlands,” as they planned to live off the fruits of the land. Their 1843 experiment was short-lived, but Clara Endicott Sears, a Brahmin with vision, picked up the pieces in 1914 and planted the seeds for what is now a National Historic Landmark, with more than 200 acres of preservation land and three miles of walking trails that simply define the word bucolic. Four galleries on the grounds are filled with American fine art (including Hudson River School works), Shaker, Native American, and period pieces, plus there are countless art installations throughout the property.
All that nature and art can work up an appetite. The Tea Room’s simple menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches is indeed the pause that refreshes. No culinary bells and whistles, but there’s a certain kitchen artistry at work here–in the Cobb salad, for example, which gets a twist from local beets and apple-smoked bacon, or the autumn chicken salad, laden with dried and fresh fruit, crunchy walnuts, and a just-sweet-enough maple dressing.
Restaurant open daily through October 31, museum open daily through November 15
Fruitlands Museum & Tea Room,
102 Prospect Hill Road