The Salem Cross Inn Restaurant & Tavern – Perfect for Gay & Lesbian Weddings!
NEW ENGLAND CHARM, HISTORY & PRIME GAY & LESBIAN WEDDING LOCATION!
One of the beautiful things about New England is that you can enjoy a Fall day in Spring. That’s just how it is up North, and personally, I love it! Such was the case last Tuesday as I headed to Salem Cross Inn Restaurant & Tavern in West Brookfield, MA.
The drive to The Salem Cross Inn from Providence was a feast for the eyes.
The weather, overcast, chilly, drizzly and misty, added to the ambiance of the area. It had that pre-Halloween feel with rolling fog over the lakes, the smell of burning leaves and colonial era homes adorning old fashioned Main Streets.
The Salem Cross Inn, family run since 1961, is a colonial restaurant, situated on 600 acres of rolling meadows and woodlands in central Massachusetts. The original building was constructed by John White, the first male child born on the Mayflower in 1620. The entire facility is one of the finest examples of colonial restoration in the United States, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Salem Cross Inn is named for the witch-mark found on the front door-latch of the Inn. This mark was used to protect the inhabitants against, “ye evils of witchcraft and diverse other manifestations of deviltry.”
Pulling into the parking lot and taking in the beauty of the restaurant’s 600 acres, I immediately thought what a fantastic place this would be for a wedding ceremony and/or reception! It is an absolutely gorgeous setting. However, nothing would prepare me and my mother (my dining companion for the afternoon), for what we felt and experienced once we stepped inside.
As you enter Salem Cross Inn, you can feel yourself push through the thickness of time gone by. The foyer has photos of presidents hanging up and beautiful cranberry, gold, blue and wood decor. I knew my photo snapping finger would be sore after my visit!
The Salem Cross Inn seemed beautiful from the pictures I saw online, but pictures cannot do it justice. You can’t capture the smell of history. The sound of creaking floors. The thickness of the air. Oh yes. There is a distinct feeling here. You definitely don’t feel “alone”, shall I say. It’s not an uncomfortable feeling. It’s quite exciting actually — but more on that later!
We were here for lunch and we were hungry! Our friendly hostess, Linda, showed us to our table in the gorgeous dining room area. I couldn’t stop taking photos of every little thing. The fireplace. The artwork. The windows. The lighting. Everything is so photogenic.
Before we knew it, our waitress, Carolyn, appeared with menu’s and our “fresh from the oven” homemade apple muffins and rolls.
Both my mother & I fell in love with Carolyn! What a friendly, sweet, informative woman she was, but most importantly, the love she had for The Salem Cross Inn, emulated from her. She couldn’t say enough about how great the food was, how historic the building is, how great the workers are and how fantastic a place this is for weddings. She even shared a ghost story (or two) with us. If only all waitresses could be like her. I wanted to pull back a seat and ask her to join us!
After ordering their famous Hexmark Tavern Cheese & Crackers, which was super yummy with some of the best (homemade) cheese spread I’ve ever had, we decided on our entrees.
The “feel” of the day called for COMFORT FOOD, so I choose their Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie (made with chunks of boneless chicken and carrots in a supreme sauce served over a freshly baked buttermilk biscuit).
My mother ordered their Sugar Snap Shrimp & Lobster (made with whole shrimp and lobster pieces, sauteed with white wine, tomato, herbs, garlic and sugar snap peas and tossed in couscous).
WEDDINGS! WEDDINGS! WEDDINGS!
After ordering lunch, Nancy, who I will call “the wedding lady”, stopped by to introduce herself. Yet another super friendly, instantly likeable, woman. We discussed weddings at Salem Cross Inn and what a fantastic venue it is.
What I liked about Nancy was that she was very enthusiastic when I brought up gay & lesbian weddings and receptions. Salem Cross Inn not only gets an A+ for being gay & lesbian friendly, they get an A+ for actively seeking out business from the LGBT community (hence, my review here). They would be thrilled to host more gay & lesbian weddings!
I told Nancy that this was the exact type place my partner & I would be interested in. She said they can customize everything. They use the freshest ingredients and prepare everything from scratch. They even make homemade wedding cakes onsite. Their gazebo, overlooking a breathtaking 600 acres of rolling meadows is the perfect backdrop. You can then move inside to one of their dining rooms for the reception.
One of the top reasons I wanted to review Salem Cross Inn was to check out the facility for the tons of gay & lesbian wedding requests we receive each year, and I can say with 100% confidence, that this would be the PERFECT spot for a wedding, or ANY special occasion for that matter.
BACK TO THE FOOD……
Lunch was served in a very timely manor and if the food tasted anything like how it looked, I knew it would be delicious.
A small yet memorable step, which sets a restaurant apart from the average, was Carolyn serving the chicken pot pie for me. She placed the biscuit down on my plate, broke it up a bit and scooped the pieces of white chicken meat over it. Again, a small step, but memorable nonetheless.
The biscuit was hot & buttery and the chicken, carrots & white sauce were creamy and flavored with black pepper and just the right amount of herbs. It was very hearty! The dish is served with red potatoes and vegetables, which also had a slight, buttery taste. I was hooked.
I am not a seafood eater, but judging by my mother’s expression, I could tell she was enjoying her sugar snap peas, shrimp & lobster dish, which was served with a side of butter nut squash. The shrimp & lobster meat were huge and she said the couscous, which she was reluctant to try at first, truly complemented the flavor. She is glad she didn’t have them put it on the side. She also raved about the sweetness of the butternut squash and how it was some of the best she’s ever had.
Bravo, Salem Cross Inn! I love a place that has good looks AND substance!
Carolyn checked in with us regularly. We never had to worry about empty glasses of water, coffee or soda. She was right there and extremely attentive.
Now it was time for dessert! My mother choose their cheesecake, but I was in the mood for something I’d never had before, so I chose the Indian Pudding.
While waiting for the dessert to be delivered, I decided to explore the dining room area. Carolyn explained how several of the rooms off the main dining area were original of the house and you could tell — it just had “that” feel when you stepped inside. I half expected to see a ghost, but alas that wouldn’t happen, UNTIL, that is, I arrived home and went through my photos (more on that later).
I arrived back at the table just as dessert arrived. The Indian pudding, with it’s molasses flavor and “grits” like consistency, was absolutely delicious!
It was served with vanilla ice-cream on top, which melted at the touch of the hot pudding and blended perfectly together. Molasses & vanilla is a match made in heaven!
My mother’s cheesecake was standard and enjoyable, but what she loved most was the coconut flavored ice-cream it was served with.
After digesting lunch and chatting away with Carolyn, we decided to tour the facility. The Salem Cross Inn is like a museum. You want to explore every nook & cranny.
There are lots of rooms to explore, including the Perigrine White Room, Panal Room, John Henry Room, House (where we dined), Hexmark Tavern, Gift Shop Room, Corner Cupboard Room, Brookfield Room, and my personal favorite, the Barn & Loft.
It was in the Barn & Loft that I felt the most history. There are antiques everywhere which are known to carry “energy” with them, and let me tell you —- I felt energy. And, as luck would have it, I even captured something rather….odd…..shall I say.
In this photo you will see a white orb in the top left corner. What you can’t see is that there is a face inside the orb! Yes, a face. I kid you not.
What you need to do is save this photo to your desktop, open it with your photo viewer, and zoom in 300% and you will see the face.
At first I thought it was dust or a bug, but after zooming in and noticing how perfectly round & bright the orb was and then seeing – THE FACE — I knew it wasn’t a bug. You are free to think what you’d like, but if there are going to be spirits hanging around, this is the type place you’d fine them at. Fascinating!
After exploring the inside, we ventured outside and I swear I felt like I was in Ireland. The rolling hills, the tractor wagon in the distance, the dirt paths and the overcast, misty, gray day just made the moment feel so surreal. Now THIS is a setting. Wedding anyone?
GOOD TO KNOW:
* The Salem Cross Inn should be your # 1 choice for weddings in New England, as well as meetings or seminars. They can assist you with all your preparations. They do everything in house and can customize your menu. They even handle wedding cakes!
* The Salem Cross Inn would be thrilled to host your group tours! Find out more about motor coach tours HERE.
* Hours: The Main Dining Room is open Tuesday-Friday 11:30am-9pm; Saturday 5:00pm-9:00pm; Sunday 12pm-8:00pm. Hexmark Tavern is open Tuesday-Friday 4:00pm-9:00pm. Hours change in the winter. Be sure to check out their full schedule HERE.
* Hexmark Tavern has live entertainment Fridays starting at 7:00pm.
Gay & Lesbian Factor: Each person I encountered during my visit at Salem Cross Inn was extremely excited when I mentioned I was the owner of a gay & lesbian travel agency and gay blog. They were genuinely interested in letting the LGBT community know about their business — especially weddings. I can’t stress enough what a FANTASTIC place this would be for a wedding, commitment ceremony, reception or any special occasion. Nancy will take great care of you! Even prior to visiting Salem Cross Inn I had the pleasure of interacting via email with a lovely woman named Martha. She was enthusiastic that I wanted to feature Salem Cross Inn on our blog. I felt very comfortable here and feel completely confident recommending this place to the LGBT community.
I am hereby “OUTING” The Salem Cross Inn as gay & lesbian friendly and worthy of our business.
The Salem Cross Inn is pure New England. The history. The ambiance. The natural setting. The food. The service. It was a delight from beginning to end.
I can’t wait to return!