It is less than 15 miles from the Boston Public Garden to the colonial town of Lexington, a brief journey that takes you from the bustling heart of the city to a tranquil setting of green spaces, white steeples and clapboard houses. Although not at the geographical center of New England, Lexington is its spiritual heartland. Of course, this is famously where the first shots were fired in the Revolutionary War. Visitors come to take a historical tour of Battle Green, wander around the Minute Man National Historical Park and ride along the 11-mile Minuteman Bikeway. Just 6 miles to the west, on the outskirts of Concord, are houses that once belonged to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. And a mile or so farther on is Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau lived in a cabin for two years, on land owned by Emerson, a sojourn that provided the material and the impetus for his book “Walden; or, Life in the Woods.”
Inn at Hastings Park
We had decided to spend a couple of days in Lexington for a period of relaxation after a week in the city. (On several previous occasions we have used the town as a convenient starting point for tours of Massachusetts and Vermont.) The Inn at Hastings Park is a 22-room property that comprises three buildings: the Main House, built in 1888; the Isaac Mulliken House, once the home of a well-known local politician; and the Barn, which originally served as Mulliken’s carpentry shop. The inn is named for Maria Hastings, a 19th-century philanthropist who founded Lexington’s public library. The three-story, gray-painted structure with a wide porch and a mansard roof fronts a quiet street close to the center of town.
The inn contains a variety of accommodations, but we had opted for a King Suite (542 square feet) in the Main House. (Superior Rooms range from 260 to 325 square feet.) Alas, COVID restrictions made it impossible for us to see rooms in either the Isaac Mulliken House or the Barn. As it was on a corner, light flooded into the suite through tall sash windows on two sides. A sizable living room came with a sofa and a gas-log fire. Double glass-paned doors led into the bedroom, which, in addition to the king-size bed, was appointed with two cherry-red armchairs, ideal for reading. Although the suite’s furnishings were mostly traditional in character, its décor was quite dramatic, especially the black wallpaper dotted with a constellation of large stars. The well-lit bath was modern and provided a single sink set in marble, a glass enclosed walk-in shower and Molton Brown toiletries. The standard of maintenance was exemplary throughout.