Bradford was a boomtown in the state’s oil rush of the late 1800’s, and Clayton Glenville Dorn made a fortune extracting oil from long-abandoned fields (using a controversial method similar to fracking). Glendorn was the “oasis in the woods” created for his family in 1929. The Dorns were genteel jocks who loved trap and skeet, canoeing and fishing, biking and hiking. One family scion dubbed the estate the largest adult kindergarten in the world. It still is, but now you can play too. Rooms in the Big House and a dozen cabins have original details such as built-in tie racks and the recipe for a martini painted on a kitchenette cabinet. Road signs in this area warn not of deer crossing but of bears. They’re hibernating for the winter, and you may choose to do so too, by one of Glendorn’s 50 fireplaces; the staff will leave the makings for s’mores. But if you’re up for Dorn-ish sports, activities director Shane Appleby will provide heated goggles and lead a caravan of snowmobiles through the woods, or cut a hole in the ice on Skipper Lake and help you catch a bass, which can be cooked for your breakfast. Dinner features the kind of “fancy” cooking that the Dorns must have thought elegant, sometimes successful (velvety lobster bisque), sometimes overwrought. If your visit includes a Tuesday, you can venture into town for the weekly square dance. The locals bring covered dishes, and your $3 admission supports the Bradford Landmark Society.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.