HENNIKER, N.H. — I do not ski. I don’t ever want to learn to ski. I find nothing compelling about the idea of careening down a cold, steep hill at breakneck speed with nothing to break my fall but pointy poles and small children.
I thought I was normal until I moved to New England and married an avid skier and snowboarder. Together we produced two mini-skiers, and suddenly, I was an outlier in my own family. When we set out on a weekend trip, I had two options — hole up in somebody’s ski house or try to find a quiet spot in a lodge where I could read and avoid the aforementioned pokey poles.
At last, I found the ski house of my lazy dreams.
On a last-minute search for accommodations for an overnight to Pat’s Peak in Henniker, I discovered Henniker House, a lovely updated Victorian that has everything I want in a ski trip: comfort, warmth, and a cozy reading space with a fireplace and unlimited coffee.
The town of Henniker is sleepy at best, but it’s wonderfully scenic, located along the Currier and Ives Scenic Byway, and the Henniker House takes full advantage of its lovely perch on the banks of the Contocook River. (“Come, let the river soothe you,” is innkeeper Kate Bartlet’s motto.) The vast breakfast room has a bank of windows overlooking the river, and a large deck and balconies from three of the guest rooms have a view of the river’s bend. During my stay, rocks were blanketed in snow and ice poked through the moving water like white-capped stepping stones. It was mesmerizing.
While my fearless children and husband took to the chilly slopes at Pat’s Peak, I enjoyed my favorite winter sport — reading — either by the gas fireplace in the breakfast room, or on the window seat in our room. The Pear Room offered a claw-foot tub and king-size bed. It was like a spa, but much cheaper.
I was not the first to discover this gem on the river’s edge, of course. Regulars come back every year for the rooms with a view and the homey welcome provided by the innkeepers. Kate’s partner, Phil, is a ski instructor at Pat’s Peak, and even tried to entice me into lessons.
Sorry, Phil. I’m staying put.
HENNIKER HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST Main Street and Ramsdell Road, Henniker, N.H. 603-428-3198, 866-428-3198, email@example.com. Private rooms for two $110-$145, depending on room and day of the week; $20 for additional adult and $10 for each child; includes breakfast. Some weekends and holidays have two- or three-night minimum stays.