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Special "experience" or farm dinner in Boston area?

I do not live in Boston but am taking Boston-based significant other for his 40th birthday dinner. Was looking for something a little different than just dinner at a fancy restuarant -- something like the Inn at Little Washington outside DC (5-star restaurant in a beautiful setting in rural Virginia), or Krabloonik outside Aspen (dogsledding to dinner in a mountain-top restaurant), or the Magic Castle in LA (an old mansion converted to a members-only magic club with restaurant). Obviously, those are VERY different examples, but the common denominator is that they are an "experience" rather than just a dinner.

Anything like that come to mind in or near Boston? Willing to spend for it, and food has to be good to excellent (i.e. no soggy fries for a great Harbor view). Boyfriend is not a Sox fan so no Fenway suggestions! A delicious farm dinner under the stars would be perfect, if that exists.

Thanks for the help.....

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  1. How far are you willing to travel? Wheatleigh in Lenox, a 2-1/2 hour drive from Boston, is a wonderful "experience"!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Blumie

      L'Espalier, which is considered one of the top restaurants in Boston offers 2 different "experiences." One is dinner at the chef's farm, which is about 30 miles north of Boston and the other is a chef's tasting journey that takes place in the kitchen of the restaurant.

      The farm dinner is usually offered a few times a month and costs $150 pp, inclusive of tax & gratuity. You can check the restaurant website to see the dates.

      I don't recall a set price for the chefs tasting journey. The restaurant will work with you on the menu for the evening. There is a minimum though, I think it was $200 pp.

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      L'Espalier
      774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

      1. re: Blumie

        A few years ago, we went to Wheatleigh and thought it was one of the worst dining experiences we've ever had. Spotty service, food that wasn't anything special and tiny portions. We stayed at Blantyre and really enjoyed the brunch there the next morning. L'Espalier is my favorite place in Boston for special occasions.

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        L'Espalier
        774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

      2. Here's another suggestion.
        http://www.gilsonslyceum.com/gilsonhe...
        Check out the "restaruant" tab and see if it fits your requirements.

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        Gilson's Herb Lyceum
        368 Main St, Groton, MA

        1. I have heard great things about Arrow in Ogunquit, Maine, which is a little over an hour from Boston. I think the chef maintains a garden next the the restaurant, which is in an old farmhouse.

          http://www.arrowsrestaurant.com/index...

          1 Reply
          1. re: STL BOS

            Summer-Winter, in the Burlington Marriott, is run by the Arrows people and has its own on-site garden too.

            Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton has a nice restaurant, J's, which features NV fruit wines. There is also a tour of the winery and tastings available.

            Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton has a larger farm garden that produces most of their vegetables and last year had a special locally-sourced dinner with all major ingredients produced in Massachusetts. Don't know if it will be repeated.

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            Gibbet Hill Grill: Restaurant
            61 Lowell Rd, Groton, MA 01450

          2. If you want a "delicious farm dinner under the stars," the best match I can think of would be the One Long Table dinners that folks at The Blue Room hold at Bay End Farm. Their last OLT dinner for this summer has sold out, however, so unless you want to file this away for next year, you're out of luck.

            I haven't been to Arrows (or the Inn at Little Washington), but it strikes me as the closest thing New England has to the Inn. It's not an inn, but it is a charming old farmhouse with a kitchen garden, and has been rated amongst the top restaurants in the U.S. And it's not too far from Boston. I would not suggest Summer Winter, their Burlington, MA restaurant, as an alternative. It's the same restaurateurs and a similar concept (on-site greenhouse), but I wouldn't call it an "experience." The food is good, but it doesn't blow me away. And while the restaurant itself is rather nice, it's located in a very generic-looking Marriott, the generic lobby of which you have to walk through to get to the restaurant. Great alternative for the suburbs? Sure. One of a kind experience, no.

            In the city, the best dinner "experience" I've had has been L'Espalier. If you can go to one of their farm dinners, even better.

            The other thing that comes to mind is much more casual but definitely an experience: a sunset clambake on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor:
            http://www.islandalliance.org/spectac...

            Good luck!

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            L'Espalier
            774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

            The Blue Room
            Hampshire and Portland streets, Cambridge, MA 02139

            2 Replies
            1. re: stomachofsteel

              Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth hosts several unusual farm dinners: http://www.coonamessettfarm.com/id56....

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              Coonamessett Farm
              277 Hatchville Rd, East Falmouth, MA 02536

              1. re: stomachofsteel

                SOS's assessment of Arrows vs. Summer/Winter is spot on - Arrows is a much more special experience (I've been to both).

              2. Thanks all -- it sounds like Hurricane Earl may scotch the plans for a dinner outside, but these are wonderful suggestions and I've filed them away for future special occasions (especially this fall) -- will report back!