Grafton Inn – one of this country’s oldest inns
Grafton Inn then
In 1801, the original Grafton Inn was a two-story home which was converted to provide food and accommodations for a traveling public. By 1820, it doubled in size and in 1886 the third floor and porches were added. By then, the stagecoach was making runs every other day to and from Bellows Falls, VT. The town was vibrant and alive.
As the twentieth century saw a rise in popularity of motels and hotels serving the motoring public, the inn lost favor with travelers, changing owners frequently. By the early 1960’s, the inn was in a sorry state. Fortunately, the inn had a guardian angel in Dean Mathey, who loved Grafton and had spent many summers there growing up.
Forming the Windham Foundation, he set about purchasing and restoring many buildings and homes in the village that interested him. Along with his cousin, Mathew Hall, they totally restored the inn, adding modern conveniences and decorating it for a sophisticated traveler.
Grafton Inn now
Presently, the foundation owns numerous properties (both residential as well as recreational) in and around Grafton. Staying at the inn grants privileges to many of the foundation’s outdoor activities: tennis courts, swimming pond, game room, hiking, biking and cross country skiing.
The inn offers 38 rooms furnished with period furniture and seven suites. In addition, you could rent one of six charming, individual homes across the street; each accommodating from six to 10 guests. Some homes are pet friendly. The same privileges extend to those staying in the individual homes.
Checking in at the inn
The day we arrived, it was snowing as it had been for most of the month. We couldn’t help but drive around the village admiring the architecture before registering at the inn – it was just so quaint and charming.
Abundant parking was available out back behind the Phelps Barn (a wonderful two-story barn for dining and drinking). Upon entering the inn we could see a half dozen people sitting in the lobby, clustered around a roaring fire; most reading the daily paper and looking quite relaxed. In the adjoining sitting room, Innkeeper Angela Comstock was meeting with a group who were planning their wedding.
Getting our keys, we took the elevator to the second floor where we checked into suite 001 on the northeast corner of the floor. From our small but comfortable living room, we could look out on Main Street and see the beautiful Homestead Cottage. Had it been warmer weather, the wrap around porch would have been perfect for sitting and relaxing.
Our bedroom was nice and spacious with comfortable bed, antique desk, upholstered chair and dual end tables. The bathroom offered separate walk-in shower and bathtub. There was no TV, but the inn did offer Wi-Fi in the room as well as the public areas.
Dining in at the inn
With the snow falling outside, we were quite happy to dine in. Making a reservation for late dinner, we first went over to Phelps Barn and upstairs to the cozy pub area. Two giant fireplaces in the barn set the mood for relaxed, comfortable dining and drinking. A couple custom crafted cocktails lasted until it was time for dinner. A good number of locals were seated around the pub, laughing, sharing stories and having a generally good time.
Heading back to the main building, we enjoyed a leisurely dinner in quieter surroundings at the Old Tavern’s main dining room. There are actually three dining areas: a classic dining room with white wooden wainscoting and yellow wallcovering, a wood paneled room with rustic wood beams and a breakfast dining area with sunroom-style glass wall and ceiling with a view of the back patio area.
I started off with a grilled hearts of Romaine creamy Caesar salad, generously topped with shaved Grafton two-year cheddar. Fabulous. For the entrée, I enjoyed a perfectly prepared pan-roasted salmon with fingerling potatoes, cider braised cabbage and bacon, and a whole grain mustard sauce. It was a perfect ending to our first day in Vermont.
Angela Comstock – Innkeeper
Steven Griffiths – Assistant Innkeeper
The Grafton Inn
92 Main Street
P.O. Box 9
Grafton, VT 05146
800-843-1801 or 802-843-2231
Getting out and about
About Distinctive Inns of New England
Grafton Inn is one of the Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE), a consortium of 12 inns located throughout the six New England states. This collection of luxury inns and B&Bs are carefully aligned to offer distinctive surroundings and haute hospitality all within an easy drive of one another. Choose one or create an itinerary for either coastal or mountain inns. Either way, an extraordinary escape will offer bucket list accommodations. Visit www.Distinctiveinns.com for more information or follow DINE at https://www.facebook.com/DistinctiveInns.
We were invited by Distinctive Inns to review five of their inns. Read additional reviews of: