Nestled on a gentle slope overlooking the pristine waters of Squam Lake in the southern foothills of the New Hampshire White Mountains, The Manor on Golden Pond has long been an idyllic retreat from the steamy New England summer. When wealthy British businessman Isaac Van Horn originally built the property as a summer home in 1904, he created an elegant country manor that reflected his English heritage; a pale yellow stucco and wooden shingle two-story residence that blended gracefully within its surroundings of rolling lawns shaded by ancient pine trees. The house remained a private home until the 1940’s when Harold Fowler, Life magazine editor, converted it into the Holderness Photographic Colony. In the 1950’s, it became an inn. During the next half century, it experienced a succession of ownerships and remodeling efforts before being acquired in 1999 by its current owners who painstakingly restored it to its original early 20 th century elegance.
Tucked in the rolling hills of central New Hampshire, Squam Lake has provided discriminating New England families with an escape from the sizzling summer heat for over a century. Starting in the latter part of the 19 th century, a few wealthy Bostonians built summer homes in the lush forested slopes around the 6,791-acre (27.50 square kilometer) lake, and discrete boathouses along its convoluted shores. It was then considered unhealthy to sleep near the water. Although such misconceptions have long since vanished and cottages have joined the rustic boathouses on the shore, they are barely discernible among the shoreline vegetation. The lake has retained its secluded atmosphere. Time moves slowly in the southern foothills of the White Mountains.
When businessman Isaac Van Horn set out to build his summer residence in 1904, he created an elegant country manor that reflected his English heritage. Nowhere was this more evident than in the cozy Van Horn Dining Room of what is now The Manor on Golden Pond. Leaded French doors and picture windows lined the front and far side of the room to offer a relaxing view of the verdant grounds. The elaborate oak wall paneling and ceiling beams gleamed with the patina of age, enhanced by inlays of rose and green flowered chintz to create an old world country atmosphere. It was a perfect setting for Chef Peter Sheedy’s cuisine, as he wove together European culinary traditions with the best of locally sourced ingredients to create a refined yet unpretentious New American menu.