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“Mixed Reviews”

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Buttonwood Inn on Mount Surprise
Ranked #2 of 21 North Conway B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Mixed Reviews”
Reviewed 29 October 2010

Our review of Buttonwood Inn on Mt. Surprise would be mixed, I guess. The home, itself, we felt was typical of an inn or B&B in New England. While we didn’t see a view of a mountain per se, the inn is definitely secluded up on a mountainside or hillside, and is perhaps not a long walk from a mountain view. The inn is in a wooded area, which was beautiful during our fall foliage visit – and is on a quiet dirt road, which is well away from the traffic of North Conway – which is exactly what we were looking for. So, I would say quiet, woodsy, mountainside.

We actually thought the décor of our room and the home was lovely. Our room had very good quality bed linens and the towels in the bath were thick and fluffy. I thought the wallpaper in our room, in the bathroom, and in the dining room was all lovely and well done, and coordinated with the corresponding linens, etc. I will say that the walls are a bit thin (we could clearly hear a phone conversation in the room next door) – but that’s not unexpected in an old New England home, we have found. Even though the inn was full during our stay, we found it, overall, to be eerily quiet – we even felt like if we turned on the TV in our room in the evening, that it would disturb the other guests.
However, the entire home was very clean – which is probably a lot of work, for a home this size.

The dining room where breakfast and afternoon refreshments are served was also lovely – the tables are set with gold charger plates, glass goblets, cloth napkins, etc.
In addition, the breakfasts we were served the two mornings we were at the Inn were exactly as advertised on their website under “Gourmet Breakfasts” – one day we had a slice of Banana Coconut bread along with a serving of an oven baked cheese omelet with a side of pureed broccoli (not our favorite – pretty bland). And, the other day we had a cup of fruit salad with raspberry puree and a Yeasted Belgian Waffle with real maple syrup and a slice of bacon. I have to say the waffles were probably the best waffles I have ever had – “lighter than air” describes them perfectly!

The afternoon sweets were yummy – one afternoon there were cookies, and one afternoon there were delicious frosted cupcakes, as well as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Wish they would have been left out a little longer!

They also did have a notebook with local restaurant menus available for guests to review.

Now, for the BUT:
Although the innkeepers have posted online numerous times about lighting a fire in one or both fireplaces, there was no offer to light a fire when we were there for two nights, including one rainy evening! It certainly would have been a nice, cozy touch.

Also, when you leave the inn each day, you have to leave your room key at the inn. I don’t know if that’s because they think you’ll lose the key, or if that’s how they tell who is at home or what. It just seemed a bit unusual.

In our room and in the common living room, there were magazines, but not what I would expect to see for a relaxing weekend in the country – they were Time magazine, Forbes, Fortune, etc. No “light” reading - like a country living magazine, or a gardening or home magazine, etc. I think this harkens back to the “former lives” of the innkeepers – who came to the inn from “the corporate world”. When I go to a B&B or an Inn, I don’t want to read about the latest dire headlines or stock market plunges – that’s what I am trying to get away from for a couple of days!

But, the main issue we had with this stay was the standoffishness of the innkeepers. We didn’t get a warm, homey feeling from them at all – on the contrary, we got more of a feeling that they treated the inn as a business, period.

We barely met Paula, and in the couple of interactions we had with her, she barely spoke. Obviously, she is an excellent cook. It’s too bad she didn’t want to come out to visit and receive some compliments from her guests, and get to know us a bit. I don’t know if she’s shy, or she was overwhelmed with work or just not interested.

Bill seemed very happy to see us when we arrived, and very happy to see us off when we left. Other than that, I would describe him as “gruff”. He never once asked what we had done during the day, how our lunches or dinners off property were (even though we went to a restaurant he recommended), or if there was anything they could do to make our stay more pleasant, etc. We tried making conversation with him at one point, and were almost ignored. Basically, it seemed like they spent their evenings in the kitchen/innkeepers quarters (with the TV on!), and didn’t really want to interact with the guests other than when necessary (i.e. – when Bill served breakfast, for example).
During the time we were there, we never once saw either of them smile. As I say, this is not at all the image they project on their web presence, so perhaps we just caught them at a time of exhaustion, I don’t know. Or, perhaps just marketing fluff on the web.

So, in summary, I would say Buttonwood Inn on Mt. Surprise is a lovely, clean, quiet home, secluded in the woods, and serves a very nice breakfast, as well as delicious sweets in the afternoon. If you are looking for a complete B&B/Inn experience where you get to know the innkeepers during your stay, and feel like you made new friends during your visit, that was certainly not our experience here.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank PokerBeing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BillButtonwood, Owner at Buttonwood Inn on Mount Surprise, responded to this review, 4 November 2010
We were surprised and it was unfortunate that you didn’t totally enjoy your stay at The Buttonwood Inn. Even though you have recommended us to your friends and had many nice things to say about the Buttonwood Inn in your overall review, we felt it necessary to respond to the negative portions of your feedback.

As for your statement about not seeing any mountains from the property: Bartlett Mountain is behind the inn and is accessible from the Mt. Surprise trail out our back door. Bartlett Mountain can be seen on the rotational photo on our website home page. Cranmore Mountain Ski Resort can be seen from our Dining Room and Living Room windows, particularly when the ski slopes are lit up at night. In the southeast, you can see Black Cap Mountain from rooms 8, 9, and 10 and from the Inn’s expansive yards and gardens. It is particularly stunning when viewed from the outdoor hot tub and/or heated swimming pool as is Bartlett Mountain. On the west side of the property you can view the Moat Mountains and Cathedral Ledge through the Mt. Surprise forest. It is possible that the storm which was ongoing during your visit hampered the view.

As to your statement about hearing someone on their phone in the next room: You also gave the Buttonwood Inn 5 stars for sleep quality. We recently installed flat screen TVs in our guest rooms and the feedback from both our new and repeat guests has been overwhelmingly positive. Most of our guests comment on the peacefulness and solitude of our inn. They also mention having a good night’s sleep, how comfortable our beds are, and have written about this fact on Trip Advisor and other reviews sites. They have also commented on how close we are to the village, shopping, restaurants, yet are far enough away to not hear the hustle and bustle of the New England village of North Conway.

As or your use of the word “bland” in referring to one of our many breakfast entrees: The majority of our guests have been extremely pleased with this particular dish and have asked us for the recipe more times than we can count. I lightly season the pureed broccoli with celery salt and pepper so as not to mask its inherent sweetness. This also pairs well with the light soufflé-like texture of the cheddar cheese omelet. Our guests comment favorably about portion sizes. Whether serving dual slices of thickly cut bacon or our homemade breakfast sausage patty, our guests have raved about both. The homemade sausage has been a “hit” with our guests since I began making it this year. Our afternoon tea service with my baked treats are put out from 4:30 to 7:30 pm, which we’ve discovered is enough time for all of our guests to enjoy before heading out to dinner.

In reference to your comment about the wood burning fireplaces: North Conway experienced several Nor’easter storms which dumped a lot of rain. According to the meteorologists, this was due to the abnormally warm weather we experienced during your stay in October. Consequently, the inn was naturally warm inside and would have been unbearably hot if they had been lit then. We always burn our fireplaces when the outside temperatures are colder. The fireplaces create a warm, cozy, and inviting atmosphere for our guests, many of whom have commented favorably about the experience in their reviews on this same website.

As to your statement about the magazines and reading materials offered: We subscribe to Fortune, Time, National Geographic, Yankee, and many other magazines because our guest’s interests vary. Bill reads most of the articles in these periodicals and frequently converses with guests about recent news. In running a business, it is essential for us to stay in touch with what is going on in the world, since we have many international guests. It allows us to converse intelligently about what is going on in their countries as well as the U.S. For those who prefer lighter reading, I reshuffled our Yankee and New Hampshire magazines (which contain informative articles about our local area) in with the Fortune and Time magazines. We also have New Hampshire books scattered on our coffee and end tables on local sights/activities, Bartlett and Jackson history, Cog Railway, birding/local flora and fauna, bears, scenic driving, hiking, biking and maps for planning sightseeing and adventures. There are also numerous types of books on our shelves, including poetry and short stories, for briefer periods of reading. We also have crossword puzzle and Sudoku books for those guests who like to stimulate their minds.

Concerning your statement about the “standoffishness of the Innkeepers”: We’re sorry that you felt ignored or unwelcome, but we gauge our interaction with our guests based on how they respond. We try to not be intrusive and try to maintain a balance between our workload of caring for the inn and keeping it in immaculate condition, while also providing delicious, well-prepared food, and attending to our guest’s needs and requests. The absolute best part of our experience here continues to be our guests, conversing with them, learning about them, and helping them with dinner reservations, advice about sightseeing, or providing directions to name a few. Only after we have seen to our guest’s needs do we sit down to dinner late in the evening in our kitchen and yes, we do on occasion, turn on the little TV so we can catch up on weather and news in order to be able to discuss same with our guests the following morning. We have made new friends with many of our guests who return year after year because they appreciate our hospitality and enjoy the comforts of our home.
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
Reviewed 25 October 2010

This is a lovely B&B Inn - delicious breakfasts, helpful inkeepers, comfortable bed. Beautiful location in North Conway, NH. Great restaurants nearby. A wonderful autumnal getaway.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank ElizabethAP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GC Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2010

We really enjoyed our stay here, Bill & Paula were perfect hosts.
I support all the positive comments here & have no negatives.
We stayed in room 10 which was very comfortable & roomy.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank barrney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mountain View, CA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 October 2010

We stayed at the Buttonwood in for a week in October 2010 to see the fall colors (I guess there is a name for people like us - Leaf Peepers!)

I had high expectations of the place, because my boyfriend had been there previously, and he raved about it. I have stayed in many B&B's and I must say this one is TOPS. Bill and Paula, the owners, are really welcoming and they show their expertise and joy in running their B&B in everything they do.

Here are some examples of the things that really made the experience top-notch for us.

We checked in late, and there were cookies waiting for us! Totally yummy and totally unexpected!
We got a full tour of the place in the morning, and were given the internet code (free wifi available to all guests, and available in every room in the Inn).
There is a downstairs room where you can watch videos on a huge big-screen - we even saw guests having their snacks down there, and a glass of wine.
The breakfasts were to DIE FOR. Sometimes the portions were a bit big for me, but Jeff was happy to eat what I could not, so it all worked out. Paula is an amazing chef - she did some really creative things that were so unexpected but absolutely delicious. I think her home-made sausage patties were the best I have EVER had.
Coffee was available an hour earlier than breakfast which was really nice - you could go down and get a cup of coffee and take it back to your room. Most people were still in robes when they did that and it was kind of fun.
Later in the afternoon she put out treats and coffee and tea - we missed most of those because we were out taking photgraphs, but she saved some for us!
The Inn itself is beautiful - I heard another guest say that it was a wonderful combination of old and new and since it was built in 1820 and really maintained impeccably, I would say I have to agree.
Each room has a private bath and a view. Our room (Room 4) was just lovely. The bed was extremely comfortable, and we had a lovely view of the oaks and the property behind the Inn.

We plan to go back next year, and I highly recommend the Buttonwood Inn for anyone seeking a top notch New England B&B experience!!

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank photo_asst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wisconsin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 October 2010

My husband and I stayed here with another couple for two nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bill and Paula are experts at creating a welcoming and homey atmosphere all while keeping everything in tip-top shape. The setting is so quiet we could sleep undisturbed with the windows open, yet it is an easy drive or bike-ride to town. In addition, the rec room is away from the bedrooms so one can watch movies, etc. without disturbing the sleeping guests.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bspatial
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
54 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 October 2010

Innkeepers Bill and Paula Petrone spare no expense to ensure that their guests have a wonderful and memorable stay. Bill and Paula are warm, engaging, likeable, and informative innkeepers who go the extra distance to ensure that each room is immaculate, that breakfasts are outstanding, that guests have their day’s activities planned out, and that the inn is warm and inviting. Paula’s gourmet breakfasts are delicious, creative, and healthy. Bill chats with the guests each morning, giving them “insiders” tips as needed, to ensure their day goes smoothly or to direct them towards undiscovered fun.
The Buttonwood Inn itself is a great combination of old-world charm and new-world functionality. The décor reminds one of a turn of the century inn, while the plumbing and electrical are modern. Internet access via Wi-Fi ensures guests that they won’t be disconnected from the outside world during their visit unless they so choose.
I’ve been staying at the Buttonwood Inn during my visits to New Hampshire since 2008, and I can’t imagine staying anywhere else when visiting. I assure you, your first stay at the Buttonwood Inn will result in future stays!

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ilophoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Graham, Texas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 14 October 2010

Due to excellent reviews, we stayed at the Buttonwood Inn for 2 nights. Yes, it was a very nice accommodation. Lovely setting, comfortable room, and nice breakfast. However, we stayed in 3 other B and B's in Vermont and New Hampshire and this one was very much more expensive than the others. It was $80 more than the next most expensive inn. There were choices for breakfast at all the others,too. At the Buttonwood Inn, you did not have a choice. I would definitely look at the other inns in North Conway. There are many that i"m sure will be just as nice for $100 less.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank virginia549
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BillButtonwood, Owner at Buttonwood Inn on Mount Surprise, responded to this review, 24 October 2010
Though you rated us Average, we would like to respond to your Trip Advisor review in terms of price and food choices. You booked your trip with us during our peak season, which is Foliage, and we are careful to compare our pricing to other Inns in our Class so that we remain competitive and, most importantly, provide value to our customers. Most of our guests are pleased with the beauty of our inn, as well as the forest and mountain views, the gourmet breakfasts and afternoon baked treats and the many little things we do to make their stay memorable. They often comment about how peaceful our location is, and that it is very convenient being mere minutes from both North Conway and the Village of Jackson.

We have recently been chosen by the Travel Channel as one of the Top Ten Inns in New England and by the number one bed and breakfast Internet site as the Best B&B in New England following our award by them last year as having provided the Best Food for the 2009-2010 year.

Many of our guests reserve with us because of the gourmet starters and entrees that we offer which are well thought out, varied, and expertly prepared. We are not unique in providing a set menu each day of either savory or sweet. Our breakfast menu offerings are detailed on our website under the heading, “Breakfasts,” so our guests are familiar with our cuisine before they reserve with us. We always inquire of our guests if they have any food allergies or dietary restrictions beforehand, so that we can adjust their breakfasts accordingly for their dining pleasure and comfort. Additionally, if a guest prefers something else, they simply ask for it at breakfast, as others have in the past, and we gladly prepare it for them. We cater to our guests without hesitation as if they were our own family or friends.
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Additional Information about Buttonwood Inn on Mount Surprise

Property: Buttonwood Inn on Mount Surprise
Address: 64 Mount Surprise Rd, North Conway, Conway, NH 03860-6508
Phone Number:
Region: United States > New Hampshire > White Mountains > Conway > North Conway
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 21 B&Bs / Inns in North Conway
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
If you enjoy nature and the peaceful atmosphere of the mountains and forest, The Buttonwood Inn on Mt. Surprise offers that and more while being close to everything. We are situated on more than five secluded acres of field and forests, two miles from the village of North Conway. Our hiking trails on Bartlett Mountain are accessed out our back door where you can follow the myriad of intersecting trails for hours. Within five minutes, the peacefulness of the mountain trail will envelope you. The Buttonwood Inn has been a Select Registry member since 1999. In 2013, The Buttonwood Inn became a member of the Diamond Collection. The Daily Meal named The Buttonwood Inn as one of "The Top 50 US Bed-and-Breakfasts for Food" in May 2013. The Buttonwood Inn has been awarded the Best of New England 2010-11 and Best Food 2009-10. In October 2010, Travel Channel listed The Buttonwood Inn as one of the "Top 10 New England Bed and Breakfasts." ... more   less 
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