Located a few miles off Route 100 North, nestled among the rolling hills in Fogelsville is Glasbern Inn, a multifaceted historical inn situated on over 130 acres of working farmland. Dreams of the inn began in 1983 when Al and Beth Granger purchased 16 acres of rustic farmland and “tired” old buildings. With comprehensive renovations and additional land purchases over time, this facility would grow to become the now famous Glasbern.
After running Coachaus, their Allentown bed and breakfast, the Grangers opened Glasbern in 1985. Coachaus was immensely popular with business travelers and it was the Granger’s dream to expand on this popularity by building a niche in the countryside to cater to corporations hosting their business meetings in the Lehigh Valley. Not only have they successfully done so, but over the years, Glasbern has become a peaceful destination for romantic getaways with lovely accommodations and a premier venue for weddings and other special events. We’ve dined at Glasbern many times and I had the pleasure of touring Glasbern for a Hit the Road article on bed and breakfasts for Lehigh Valley Marketplace a few years ago. My latest visit, however, was all about the food.
Glasbern’s dining rooms are located in a beautifully renovated 19th century barn. The Great Room with 28-foot cathedral ceilings is attractively decorated with high-density lighting suspended from exposed original beams. The fieldstone walls were cut through to install the windows adding a unique dimension. The table and booth layout allows for intimate conversations and wonderful background music adds to the ambience. We loved the baby grand piano atop the lofted ceiling which, from time to time, is played by guests although they must carefully ascend the hay ladder to do so. The more casual pub is located a few steps away where you may enjoy lighter fare or a drink with friends before or after dinner.
Walker Haines showed us to our table where we studied the menu and ordered a bottle of 2009 Vina Herminia to enjoy while nibbling freshly baked bread, dipped in a scrumptious garlic puree, rosemary and olive oil creation that we loved so much we asked for seconds! Angie assisted in the service that night explaining that the flowers on the tables as well as the herbs and some vegetables used in the meal came from the surrounding gardens. Glasbern strives for farm to plate preparation from their own gardens as well as local Pennsylvania purveyors wherever possible. Those sources, as well as their sustainable meat and seafood providers, are listed on their menu.
I ordered a Glasbern Salad of mixed greens, Maytag bleu cheese, cider vinaigrette, candied walnuts and slices of green apples. Tom enjoyed a Red Earth Arugula Salad with grated parmesan, candied pecans, orange segments in a lemon vinaigrette. Both salads were highly chilled, crisp and a delicious taste of what was yet to come. There were also a Traditional Caesar Salad and Tomato Caprese Salad with garlic, basil, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar in addition to a Soup du Jour which was Chicken Vegetable that night; a Charcuterie Plate and a Valley Milkhouse Cheese Board as appetizers.
I decided on the New Zealand Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin with whipped potatoes, sautéed fresh vegetables, Maitake mushrooms with a mushroom cream sauce as an entree. I rarely order beef but this tenderloin was wonderful. It was fork tender and the taste with the accompanying savory sauce was exceptional. I loved it.
Tom opted for the night’s special – a 10-ounce center cut Pork Chop with fingerling potatoes, fresh vegetables in a red wine reduction. So often pork chops are dry when ordered out but this was moist and delicious with a wonderful sauce, which was great with the potatoes. We both loved our main courses served professionally but hospitably by Walker and Angie, which only helped make our dining experience even more enjoyable. And, the presentation by Chef de Cuisine Jay Jaber and his staff was lovely.
Other entrees available on the small but excellent menu when we visited were Free Range Chicken with herbed risotto, fresh vegetables and chive buerre blanc; Line Caught Alaskan Halibut in a tomato-basil white wine butter sauce, Israeli cous cous and broccolini; Jail Island Salmon with Maitake mushroom risotto, Red Earth’s roasted beets, patty pan squash and chive buerre blanc as well as Glasbern Beef and Pork Meatloaf with whipped potatoes, stewed tomatoes and veggies to name a few. Glasbern’s menu changes often depending upon availability of only the freshest ingredients from the farm and their purveyors. That is why you will not find their menu posted on their website.
Tom sipped a decaf espresso but I always save just a bit of room for dessert wherever I go. I am very glad that I did at Glasbern. I ordered the Espresso Panna Cotta with chocolate espresso sauce and strawberries. The texture of the Panna Cotta was light and the taste delicious. I loved this dessert which, together with fresh hot coffee, proved a perfect ending to an exceptionally fine dining experience.
Located at 2141 Packhouse Road in Fogelsville, Glasbern Inn is listed on the National Register of Historical Hotels of America and is perfect for a romantic overnight getaway or special dinner occasion. The accommodations located in renovated farm buildings are charming, the rolling hills surrounding the inn are spectacular and the Innkeepers are friendly and hospitable. It truly is a beautiful setting for a wedding or special celebration.
Glasbern is open to the public every evening for dinner. Telephone 610.285.4723 or log onto: glasbern.com for dining reservations, further information and to take a pictorial tour of