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Inside The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn, which is spread among four spaces in the mansion-like Castle Hill Inn, the scene is lively yet intimate. The rooms allow for easy conversation in a relaxed and sophisticated setting. The afternoon crowd is a mixture of businesspeople, friends and inn guests grabbing a lunch of pan-seared Georges Bank scallops with smoked quinoa, shaved apple, turnips, peanuts and brown butter, or a mixed greens salad with Earl Grey-pickled beets, Vermont goat cheese, walnut-fennel-frond pesto and a tarragon-buttermilk dressing.
In the evening, diners tend to come in cozy parties of two or slightly bigger parties of four to six (though larger parties are welcomed) for the more formal three-, five- or eight-course prix-fixe menus heavy with seafood dishes, such as butter-poached Maine lobster clambake with roasted corn, chorizo, pous pied, marble potatoes and smoked seaweed broth, or the red-pepper-poached halibut. Outside on The Lawn and terrace, the atmosphere is a bit more casual, as guests enjoy oyster martinis (Crop tomato vodka, sambal-cilantro purée, Clamato and a Rhode Island oyster) and lighter picnic fare (steamed littleneck clams with housemade kielbasa in a smoked seaweed broth with chiles and crostini; or a lobster roll with tarragon-crème fraîche dressing) while lounging on the picture-perfect Adirondack chairs.