Act III for Ragamont House: Now a B&B and Chic Caterer
Finally, Pete Hathaway has figured out what his landmark mansion on Salisbury’s Main Street was destined to be: A party house. When Rural Intelligence checked in with Hathaway a little more than a year ago— A ‘Step-Down’ House in Salisbury That’s A Cut Above—he was turning Ragamont House, his one-time über-fancy antiques shop, into a plush halfway house for recovering addicts. He worked hard to fill the beds and provide a supportive atmosphere, but it was very draining. “I liked the men and I liked the work we were doing, but I did not like being on call 24/7,” he says. “It was a very big responsibility.”
Having gotten used to having strangers under his roof and not wanting to lose his gifted chef, Bruce Young, Hathaway hatched the idea of making his home not only a B&B but also a one-of-a-kind catering facility for small dinner parties, weddings, or large cocktail parties. And it happens to be ideally situated for a reception after a funeral at one of the two churches that are within walking distance of Ragamont, which is rambling but cozy. “This house swallows people,” he says. “It’s very easy to have 150 people here.”
Since it was originally decorated as Hathaway’s private residence, it is very homey in the grandest manner. The bedrooms are sumptuously and comfortably decorated. “I think the feeling you get is like staying in a great English country house,” says Hathaway, who used to visit such estates often when he worked for Sotheby’s. “Guests can have cocktails in the living room and read or watch TV by the fire in the library. We have it all running very smoothly. I get up early and buy the newspapers and put out the breakfast which includes homemade granola and homemade bagels” Homemade bagels? “Yes, that’s Bruce. He likes to make everything himself.” Bruce is Hathaway’s secret weapon—an unflappable chef who is as happy making gallons of chile as puff pastry canapes or lobster tails floating in aspic. “We can really do any sort of party,” says Hathaway, who is planning to have smaller dinners in the summer on his covered porch with its big fireplace and weddings under a marquee in the garden.
Amazingly, Hathaway finds it easy to watch guests drink wine and cocktails under his once alcohol-free roof. “I go to an AA meeting every morning,” he says. “I know I will never touch a drop again.” His innate ebullience makes him well-suited for his new role. “I’m like the butler here,” he says. “All my life I thought that would be the perfect job for me.”
Ragamont House Bed & Breakfast
8 Main Street, Salisbury, CT; 860-596-0555
Introductory room rates: $200 and $250, double occupancy.