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History of East Hill Farm: The Famous, (or Infamous) Manhattans

What a journey the past 74 years have been!  From the early days of housing only 30 guests, to our current capacity of 140, we have been fortunate to meet and make many lifelong friends that call East Hill Farm their home away from home. You are truly our extended Farm family!

The Inn at East Hill Farm will be celebrating our 75th Anniversary during the weekend of February 4-6, 2022. As with all celebrations, it is more fun to have your friends and loved ones to celebrate with.  Please mark your calendars and consider joining us for this momentous occasion!

We will be sharing photos, behind the scenes, and fun stories in a series of monthly blog, Instagram, and Facebook posts leading up to the celebration. While the Inn’s history dates to 1772, we are focusing on what it has been since right after WWII, an agritourism destination.

The tradition of serving Manhattans was started by Parker (Whitcomb) in the early days of East Hill Farm welcoming guests. The original recipe was two parts blended whiskey, one-part sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters, and a splash of cherry juice, served in a stemmed glass with a stemmed maraschino cherry as a garnish.

When Sally and I first arrived at the Inn, the cocktail parties on the lawn consisted of hors d’oeuvres prepared by Parker. There were olives and chunks of cheese skewered with toothpicks on a cabbage head, pineapple wrapped in bacon, meatballs in sauce, slices of egg, ham salad, or whatever was available on crackers. There were at most, 10-15 adult guests at the cocktail parties.

And Manhattans served in glass stemware and poured from a glass pitcher. 

As the Inn grew, so did the cocktail parties. The glass stem glasses and glass serving pitcher were replaced by the traditional green plastic serving pitcher and more practical and safer plastic stem glasses.

A fruity Rum Punch choice was introduced in the 1970s to offer a less potent alternative to the Manhattan.

It was always amusing that our long-time guests did not waiver from the Manhattans. The younger over 21-year-olds would be quick to try one, because that is what their parents drank. The next generation would say “I don’t usually drink a Manhattan, but my grandparents do so, OK!  I will have one (or 2 or 3). Besides, it is a tradition at the Farm!

One of our long-time guests even added his own twist by combining ½ Manhattan with ½ Rum Punch. It caught on with a lot of guests that summer week and the requests have appeared at other times as well.

There have been several reports over the years of off-site “Manhattan parties” held by groups of East Hill Farm guests in several locations around the country. As good an excuse for a party as any!  We are  happy to be a part of our guests’ party planning. 

As you can see, the East Hill Farm Manhattan has been part of Farm tradition for a long time. Although things change with time, the basic recipe (with a few tweaks) is still used. The spirit of hospitality and friendship are still served up with every Manhattan.

Submitted by: Farmer Dave

Next time we’ll travel on to the Groovy 1970s


  1. Diane slayton on July 5, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    Love this place!! Want to take my greatgrandaughter to the farm

    • Jennifer on July 5, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks so much! We would love to have you and your granddaughter visit us.

      • John Little on July 6, 2021 at 2:25 pm

        Myself being a second generation guest at EHF and my children third generation, I fondly recall, and look forward to, the cocktail party fueled by those famous Manhattans, which made the ensuing sing-along that much more fun! Such a great place!!

        • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 4:46 pm

          The Manhattans are always good for making any sing-along more fun! Hope to see you in the winter. Cheers!

    • Rich Whelan on July 5, 2021 at 9:21 pm

      God bless Dr. Iain Marshall (for concocting the recipe for manhattans) and Parker Whitcomb (for introducing them at the Farm) for without them the happy hour wouldn’t be as happy!

      • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 12:52 pm

        I second your sentiments! Cheers to many more cocktail parties at East Hill Farm.

    • Barbara Banasiewicz on July 6, 2021 at 11:11 am

      We visit the Inn over President’s Day weekend. My husband enjoys several Manhattans during the cocktail party on Saturday evening. We missed our stay this year, 2021, but looking forward to 2022.

      • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 12:49 pm

        Cheers to 2022 and enjoying a few Manhattans on Saturday nights!

  2. Mary Muir on July 5, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    I a, thinking mi I and I would love to joint you for that celebration. Love you guys

    • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 12:53 pm

      Cheers to you and Mimi!

  3. Tess & Greg on July 6, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Great blog. Love these cocktail hours. Gone there at EHF for many years….and haven’t been there in three years. Now that we are empty nester, we are planning on fall weekend trip with another empty nester couple that also went to EHF for so many years before us. MISS that place so much. I gotta get that rum punch recipe…it’s my favorite. It’s such a beautiful wonderful tranquil place to be. Congratulations on the up coming 75th year anniversary. You guys are amazing.

    • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      We look forward to seeing you in the fall! You will love EHF, even without your kids.

  4. Christopher Maloof on July 6, 2021 at 9:59 am

    This is one of the best kept secrets of the Farm. We had a specialty drink at my wedding which was called the “Farm Manhattan”.

    • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      Haha! Love that you had a bit of EHF tradition at your wedding! Cheers!

  5. Christopher Maloof on July 6, 2021 at 10:00 am

    This is one of the best kept secrets at the Farm. At my wedding we had a specialty cocktail called “The Farm Manhattan” was on of the most popular drinks.

    • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 12:54 pm

      So much fun! Cheers!

  6. Deborah SklarWeiss on July 6, 2021 at 10:44 am

    Isabel and Sheldon and our children all missed this year because of the pandemic we can’t wait to come for Columbus Day! My inbox has so many emails but when I saw this blog it was the first thing I wanted to read

    • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      We have missed seeing many of our guests throughout the pandemic and are very happy as they return again for a Farm visit. See you in October.

  7. Lisa Schmit on July 6, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Covid cancelled the cocktail party during our last visit – but we came prepared and held our own party and the staff generously provided the blue pitcher and plastic glasses! 🙂

    • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 12:43 pm

      We love that you improvised your own cocktail party! Cheers!

  8. Karen McCarthy on July 6, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Had a few….see you in Feb.

    • Jennifer on July 6, 2021 at 4:47 pm

      Cheers to that! See you in February!

  9. Tara on July 7, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    Love the cocktail parties, and everything else at EHF! See you all in August.

    • Jennifer on July 7, 2021 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks so much!! See you soon.

  10. Steve Rusteika on July 26, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    I truly enjoy the cocktail parties and especially the Manhattans every year. Really looking forward to them this year.

    • Jennifer on July 26, 2021 at 5:53 pm

      We are looking forward to serving you a Manhattan (or two). Cheers!

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