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.
Inns of New England
Glimmerstone // 1845
What a treat it was to stumble upon one of the most beautiful homes in Vermont, and all the best houses have names! Glimmerstone is located in the small town of Cavendish, and is possibly the finest Snecked Ashlar constructed home in the state. The house was built in 1845 for Henry Fullerton, manager of the Black River Manufacturing and Canal Company mill in Cavendish. The stone used to build the house was quarried less than a mile away, and hauled to the site. The construction style consists of stone facing on either side of rubble fill, with slabs and snecks sometimes laid across the fill to provide strength, a method brought to the region by Scottish immigrant masons. The house’s design is by a local carpenter, Lucius Paige, and is based on designs published by Andrew Jackson Downing, who depicted many Gothic style designs in pattern books which were built all over the country. The house has had a number of owners after Mr. Fullerton died. During the prohibition era, Art Hadley, who would later become extremely wealthy as the inventor of the expansion bracelet, used the home as part of a rum running operation. Glimmerstone was purchased in 2010 by the current owners, who underwent a massive restoration of the home, converting it into a bed and breakfast, allowing the public to experience the property as well.
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.
Thornhedge // 1900
Located next door to “The Poplars” (last post), another summer cottage Thornhedge, stands out for its architectural splendor and great state of preservation. Similar to “The Poplars”, the home was built in 1900 for Lewis A. Roberts, a retired book publisher from Boston. Roberts ran the publishing house with his brothers, and they published work by authors including Emily Dickinson, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and George Sand, the first American edition of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and had their greatest commercial success with Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The business was purchased by Little and Brown Publishing in 1898. Lewis Roberts died in 1901, only a year after completing Thornhedge, and the house came under the care of his son, Lewis Niles Roberts. Mr. Roberts kept the house as a summer residence until 1920, then sold it to the family of William F. Frick, a prominent judge from Baltimore. The home became an inn by the 1970s. Thornhedge is a Queen Anne style cottage which was originally organized with the first and second floor serving as the living quarters and the top and bottom floors for the servants. The laundry, servants dining hall, and kitchen were out of sight in the finished basement, with a dumb-waiter to bring hot food to the butler’s pantry. The third floor was the servants’ living quarters.
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.
William Jefferds House // 1804
William Jefferds Jr. was born August 30, 1779 in Kennebunk. On October 25, 1802 he married Sarah (Sally) Walker who was born in Arundel on March 4, 1783. Twenty years later, in 1803, Captain Daniel Walker gifted his son-in-law, Captain William Jefferds, Jr., “80 square rods of land, with love and affection” on the lane leading to Walker’s Wharf (he also gifted land to his other son in law, Nathaniel Lord. In 1804 the 2-story, Federal-style building that now houses Captain Jefferds Inn was built as their private home.
Capt. Jefferds was a ship owner and captain in the West Indian trade; he later became a merchant in Kennebunkport. He and Sarah had 11 children, and their family was considered one of the most aristocratic in Kennebunkport. Following Sarah’s death at age 88 in 1871 (her husband had predeceased her in 1851), the household furniture was sold at public auction and the home sold outside of the family.
The house was a two-story hipped roof Federal style dwelling, somewhat outdated by the latter half of the 19th century. By the 1880s, the Agnew Family who owned it at the time, had the home remodeled with Colonial Revival detailing, including the portico and large central dormer. The home was eventually converted to an inn, and is known as the Captain Jefferds Inn.
Check the Inn’s website for more images and history!
Melville Walker House // 1860
Built for Melville Walker, a sea captain on land gifted to him by his father, this home perfectly exhibits the changing dynamic of Kennebunkport. Melville Walker would often be out at sea for months at a time, and he apparently brought along his wife, three daughters and son on many trips to ports all over the world. The Italianate home was eventually sold out of the family, and by 1901, it was purchased by George Little, an executive with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. That year, he had the summer home renovated with Colonial Revival detailing, including the hipped roof, dormer, and other detailing. The belvedere, 2/2 windows, and Victorian era porch were retained, showing the original form and detailing of the Italianate version. In the 1950s, the home was converted to an inn, with small cottages constructed surrounding the property to house additional families. Today, Maine Stay Inn & Cottages welcomes families from all over the world to experience the beauty of Kennebunkport.
Caleb Norwood House // 1771
Located on Mount Pleasant Street in Rockport, MA, the Caleb Norwood House stands as a great example of Georgian-Federal transitional architecture and a home, possibly built using pirate’s gold. Caleb Norwood (1736-1814) grew up in Gloucester, a section which in 1840 became Rockport. Local legend states that Caleb, as a boy, supposedly discovered pirates’ treasure at Gully Cove in 1752, an area just off Straitmouth Island. Thanks to the treasure, he grew up to be a wealthy man and built several houses in the area. It is thought that Caleb shared his find with neighbor, Francis Pool, on whose land the gold was said to have been found—estimated in 2001 with a conversion value of $700,000 (not a bad find for a teenager).
Pirates were a common sight around Cape Ann at the time as many, who were from Britain, traded in rum, molasses and other goods off the major port cities in Colonial New England. Some evidence to prove the pirate’s gold story is that Caleb and Francis Poole also made significant investments in Revolutionary War bonds, evidence of out-of-the ordinary wealth.
Eventually, the home was converted into to the Inn on Cove Hill, a small bed and breakfast that allows you to imagine the life of colonial Massachusetts and be just steps away from Bearskin Neck and The Headlands Park, the latter which was on land owned by Norwood, which provides sweeping views of town.