In late September I was delighted to receive an invitation to stay a night at Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario–one of Canada’s 14 properties recognized by Relais & Châteaux for its outstanding service and Five-Diamond dining experiences. The cherry on top? Being outfitted in Hunter Boots for every activity. Luckily, I was able to bring a friend along to enjoy the gorgeous Carolinian Forest that Langdon Hall is nestled in, its fruitful vegetable gardens and walking trails that are bejeweled with unique flora and fauna.
And the beds … oh, the beds! To snuggle beneath the weighted duvet for more than a couple of minutes spelled trouble for me, since it carried me off to sleep at night in a matter of seconds. Wrapped in a down-filled cocoon of warmth, it made crawling over to brunch in the morning a difficult task.
That said, I’m glad I woke in time to nibble on Langdon Hall’s famous croissants that ooze with butter and to take in the whimsical presentation of the potted trout studded with watercress like the lily pads in the pond outside. I could’ve sat and savoured the sumptuous textures and sights in the sunlit dining room for hours.
The same can be said for the candlelit quarters at night. We sipped on a grippy Côtes du Rhône and bowls of fragrant root vegetable broth that were steeped in seasonings foraged from the grounds of the hotel. We fought over heirloom carrots topped with savoury granola and cardamom velouté, and dreamt about the pumpkin mousse layered over top of maple brown butter pound cake and homemade cream cheese ice cream by the fire.
Finished in 1902, Langdon Hall was built by the son of an Englishman who inherited American wealth. Eugene Langdon Wilks intended to escape to the estate in the summertime to contrast worklife in New York, London, and his château in the Loire Valley of central France. In the 60s, Langdon’s eldest daughter, Catherine, inherited the home and lived there until 1980. In 1982 she sold the mansion and about 30 surrounding acres, which brought the family’s ownership to a close. Then, in 1987, William Bennett and Mary Beaton, Langdon Hall’s current owners, took over. After a year-and-a-half of renovations, the couple opened Langdon Hall Country House in 1989. Now, three decades and two expansions later, it’s become a second home to those that have found lasting comfort in its gracious hospitality and old world charm.
Today, it’s easy to see why. Especially from the view we had in our cloister room hoisted above the Victorian vegetable gardens. Without our dependable Hunter boots, exploring the vast acreage of the property would have been a whole lot chiller and much more messy. —Anastasia Barbuzzi