The Oldest Restaurant In New Hampshire Has a Truly Incredible History
Today New Hampshire is a tourist destination, full of hotels and restaurants ready to serve. But when the Granite State was settled nearly 400 years ago, it was a wilderness frontier where only the bravest would travel. Yet the state’s oldest restaurant (which also happens to be a hotel and bar) and trace its history back almost that far. And boy, what a history. This restaurant has presidential connections, hidden art, and nearly 300years of stories hidden in its walls.
The Hancock Inn in Hancock, near the Monadnock Valley, was founded in 1789, when the area was becoming an important trade route between Vermont and Boston.
The inn served rum, offered accommodation to travelers, and made a lively business for itself. But in 1829 Squire Patten, a New Hampshire senator, bought it. Patten was a friend of Franklin Pierce, the New Hampshire senator who would become president.
During that time the inn was known for its delicious homemade food, and grand balls - both of which it is still known for today! It is said that Patten hand-cooked all the food over a fire, until a stove was installed in the 1850s.
A ballroom on the second floor kept guests entertained. Glass bottles hidden in the ceiling accentuated the sounds of live music. The inn maintained its reputation as a place for great food and great music and drew crowds from all over. During renovation in the early 1900s, the owner discovered a hidden mural by Rufus Porter, and pencil sketchings by Moses Eaton Jr., a famous Hancock resident.
Today the inn remains a favorite spot for people traveling through the Monadnock Valley, although it is much more tranquil than its early days. Even the ballroom has been converted into a beautiful bedroom.
The cooking is no longer done over an open fire, but the inn still serves dinner seven days a week, beginning at 5:30.
And the food is still delicious!
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