America’s Oldest Inn Is Back In Business
Once a favorite of historical figures like Paul Revere, the Groton Inn was the hub of this sleepy New England town. The rambling structure, reportedly in that location since 1678, was a center for socializing, dining, community activities and municipal meetings in this central Massachusetts town, and its columned exterior was a familiar and beloved landmark. In 2011, it burned to the ground.
Other places have laid claim to the “oldest American inn” moniker, including the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts, the White Horse Tavern of Newport, Rhode Island, Cape Cod’s Old Yarmouth Inn and the Warren Tavern in Charlestown, Massachusetts. But among these, the Groton Inn is the only one that has housed and fed guests continuously since the 17thcentury.
Its loss was keenly felt, not only by townspeople, but also by lovers of historic buildings. Much added to over the years, the inn still had its original 17th century core and, until the disastrous 2011 fire, stood as a rare survivor. It had played host to history: presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland and William H. Taft are said to have stayed there, as did Eleanor Roosevelt. Revolutionary War Minutemen paced the tavern’s uneven wood floors.
Then-owner George Pergantis, 81 years old at the time, did not rebuild, and for seven years after the fire, the inn’s lot was an empty eyesore. Fortunately, Omni Properties, a Concord, Massachusetts developer and Migis Hotel Group of Maine purchased the property for $2.1 million and completed a total rebuild of the structure at a cost of approximately $15 million. Peter Pitman of the architecture firm Pitman & Wardley was the lead designer of the project. Migis Hotel Group does not own the property, but manages and operates the inn for the investor ownership group.
Now the 60-room Groton Inn is again the centerpiece of a row of historic buildings along Main Street.
“We are thrilled to bring The Groton Inn into our portfolio of fine properties,” said Phil Kronenthal, Director of Operations of Migis Hotel Group. “We recognize the historic significance of this location, and the new hotel respects that integrity while boasting the world-class amenities and standards of service inherent in the Migis brand. We look forward to becoming a part of this community and are honored to be stewarding this very special property into the next era.”
The inn’s historically inspired décor, executed by Amanda Greaves of Beverly, Massachusetts, features a distinctive color palette, brass fixtures, wide-planked, hand-hewn hickory floors, and period details. Spacious guest rooms overlook pastoral vistas not unlike those seen by Paul Revere. Forge & Vine, a 156-seat freestanding restaurant set on 8.5 acres shared with The Groton Inn, has become a welcome addition to the dining scene in Groton and the surrounding area. The restaurant’s warm ambiance, with its elemental themes of wood, water, iron and fire is a nod to the blacksmith shops that once dotted the region.
With a columned exterior that pays tribute to the original, the Groton Inn is an unapologetically new building. But the role it once again plays in the community is over 340 years old.