One of the oldest continually operating inns in America, the Dorset Inn remains a visual and historical anchor to the charming little village of Dorset, Vermont. The Federal period building was historically known as the Hodges Hotel before becoming The Washington Hotel in about 1858 (the porch was added at that time to make it resemble George Washington’s Mt. Vernon home). The name became the Dorset Inn in 1904. As constructed in 1796, the main block possessed a five-bay facade arranged symmetrically around a central entrance; an 1858 extension added two bays on the west, when it was modernized. Though the inn has seen changes and modernizations over time, the building has such a historic character that brings in people from all over the country to experience the best of Dorset every year.
Four Columns Inn // 1832
One of the best examples of a temple-front Greek Revival house in the state of Vermont is this stunner, found in Newfane Village. The house was constructed in 1832 for General Pardon T. Kimball (1797-1873), a cattle-broker, general of the state militia and later, a state senator. Kimball made a name for himself locally as he donated much of his money to social causes, from a local almshouse to other charitable organizations. Kimball died in 1873 after falling from his carriage. The house was converted to an inn in 1965-6 and has since been known as the Four Columns Inn, so-named after the four monumental Ionic columns that dominate the house’s facade.
Newfane Inn // 1787
Originally constructed in 1787 on Newfane Hill, the main block of this historic inn was moved in 1825 for owner Anthony Jones, to its present site overlooking the Common in Newfane, Vermont. The Federal style building was oriented towards the main street, with its length extending along the town common. The inn was a busy stop for lawyers and judges who worked at the courthouse across the street. Porches were added likely in the early 20th century. After a period of neglect, the inn was restored by decorator Christoph Stumpe Castou, and later sold. The inn was run for 42 years in the second half of the 20th century by Eric and Gundela Weindl, a couple who were both from Germany, yet met at Stratton Mountain in Vermont in 1963, marrying in 1968. They operated the inn until 2011.
The Fountain Inn // 1740
Located on Main Street in idyllic Ridgefield, in Fairfield County, Connecticut, The Fountain Inn provides one of the most welcoming and historical bed and breakfast experiences in New England! The Fountain Inn was built in 1740 as a “city home in the country” for David Hoyt, who showed off his wealth and stature in the young town by having such a high-style home built at the time. Decades later during the Revolutionary War, David Hoyt’s house became a part of the Battle of Ridgefield. After defeating the Colonial militia elsewhere on Main Street, British Gen. William Tryon‘s troops turned their attention to nearby Keeler Tavern, the local militia’s headquarters, which just happened to be neighbors with the mansion owned by David Hoyt, a known Loyalist. General Tryon’s troops practiced their artillery-firing skills on the building pummeling it with cannonballs, sending a message to the head of the local militia. David Hoyt formally demanded a cease-fire, as he was concerned about wayward cannonballs damaging his home. By 1790, with Ridgefield’s British influence diminishing by the day, David Hoyt finally left his Connecticut home and sailed back to England. The home was expanded and modernized over the next two hundred years until the present owners purchased the property and underwent a massive restoration of the Colonial house inside and out as their family residence. In the past year, the inn opened as the Fountain Inn so-named after a Cass Gilbert-designed fountain across the street.
Lake House Hotel // 1797
Eli Longley (1762-1839) came to Waterford, Maine by way of Bolton, Mass., in 1789 and erected a log cabin in town. As the first settler to build in this part of town, he owned a substantial piece of property, which was frequently travelled through as the area was being developed. Seeing a need for lodging, he built a one-story tavern in the location of this building, which was added onto and modified as demand and the area’s population grew. Longley would also subdivide some of his land for house lots along the new town common, selling to new settlers as they arrived. Longley sold the tavern in 1817, which was acquired later in 1847 by Dr. Calvin Farrar. Taking advantage of a nearby mineral spring, Dr. Farrar opened a successful hydropathic spa, which used natural waters to cure patients of their ailments. The spa was taken over by Dr. William P. Shattuck, who expanded the site as the “Maine Hygienic Institute”, a hospital exclusively for lady patients employing eclectic treatment. This business and the tourism it generated helped shift the town from a sleepy village to a tourist destination by the late 19th century, where city-dwellers would flock to view the natural scenery and breathe in the clean air. In the 1860s-70s, Shattuck “modernized” the Lake House Hotel with the two-story Victorian-era porch and sawn decorative trim.
Yellow House Inn // c.1880
The Yellow House in Bar Harbor is one of the most stunning summer cottages in town, and luckily for us, is an inn! The cottage sits on a sleepy road just off Main Street, just steps from the rugged Mount Desert Island coastline on one side and busy restaurants, shopping, and bars on the other side. The cottage appears to have been built in the late 19th century from deed research and was acquired by socialite Ms. Sarah Parker Torrey Linzee, of Boston by 1886. Sarah married Thomas Linzee, a treasurer of a mill in Lowell, in 1855 and engaged in upper-class society together in Boston until his death in 1863. His wealth went to Sarah, who within a year of his death, purchased a rowhouse in Boston’s newly established Back Bay neighborhood. Her sister, Susan and her husband John Revere (the grandson of the American Patriot Paul Revere), had a matching home built nextdoor in Boston. Like any good socialite, Sarah Linzee desired a summer cottage in desirable Bar Harbor, Maine, to escape the woes of city life for clean air and large parties. Sarah and her sister Susan purchased this cottage, painting it yellow, and the name “Yellow House” stuck. The home was purchased by Leonard Opdyke and remained in the family for generations. By the second half of the 20th century, it became an inn, a use it remains as to this day. The old cottage features the finest wrap-around porch I have seen, large rooms, and original detailing inside and out. For anyone thinking about visiting Acadia National Park, I HIGHLY recommend checking in here to get the true Bar Harbor vibe!
Inn Victoria // c.1850
Located right on Main Street in the beautiful village of Chester, Vermont, this historic inn has been a landmark in town since it was built in the mid 19th century. The house was constructed around 1850 for Dr. Abram Lowell (1794-1876), the village doctor. Dr. Lowell conducted his medical practice in a small building next to the main house and resided in the home, which originally had a side-gable roof. Tributes printed in regional newspapers at the time of his death called him an eminent physician, accomplished gardener, “eccentric in his ideas,” and “the wealthiest man in town.” After his death, the home was inherited by his daughter and her husband, George Hilton. They immediately “modernized” the home, adding the mansard roof, which provided an extra full story of living space. The home was converted to a bed & breakfast in 1998, and has been one of the most intact, Victorian era inns in the state since! It is known as Inn Victoria, so named after Queen Victoria and the Victorian period of architecture in the United States.
Bailey’s Mills // 1837
Driving down the dirt roads of rural Vermont with no cell phone service can be a great way to explore, so imagine my delight when i drove past this stunning old building tucked behind a historic cemetery! The building was erected in 1835-1837 by Levi Bailey, a local entrepreneur and mill owner who, in 1794, in partnership with a George Betterley, purchased the mill site and proceeded to build a dam, for later development. Legend says, in 1808, he required the good will of David Hapgood, his next door neighbor, so he could buy more land in front of his proposed mill. But, in fact, Levi had so irritated Hapgood somehow, that he instead donated the coveted acre to the Town of Reading for use as a town cemetery, ensuring that Bailey could never control it. Thus a “spite” cemetery was laid out, the only one I am aware of! Underterred, Bailey erected over the next two decades the series of buildings to manufacture goods, the buildings we see today. Bailey’s Mills in Reading, Vermont, is actually three connected, 2 1/2-story, brick, Greek Revival style buildings with several attached wood frame appendages added over time. He lived in the building and a store was run out of the building for locals. The building is now home to the Bailey Mills Bed & Breakfast.
New Hampshire Mountain Inn // c.1790
At the base of Ragged Mountain, on a winding dirt road lined by towering pine trees, I came across the New Hampshire Mountain Inn. The original Cape block of the house was built in the late 18th century and operated as a farm for a family in the rural town of Wilmot, New Hampshire. By the mid-19th century, the construction of the Northern Railroad through New Hampshire, created a housing demand for railroad workers who spent long days laying rail lines, thus the beginning of this farm becoming a short-term boarding house began. The railroad line was officially abandoned by the 1990s, and later converted to a linear park with biking, walking, and snowmobile trails in various sections. After the railroad’s construction, the farm saw visitors beginning in the 1930s, drawn to the area due to the skiing opportunities in the area. Subsequent owners added onto the farmhouse numerous times, to accommodate growing flocks of skiers every season. The house features telescoping additions, similar to many historic farms in New England, but on three sides, which expanded the once small farmhouse to a modern inn. The siting of the property on a hill overlooks the distant mountains with fresh country air blowing across the sloping fields.