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Our History

History traces the opening of the Birchwood Inn to around 1775. Although in operation around that time, the present brick structure was probably built around 1800. The present barns were added in 1848
and the total inn has remained in very much the same form since that time. 

Two centuries have watched "The Old Hotel" entertain many an over-night guest, Henry David Thoreau among them. With a construction history dating to the early 19th century, it is an architecturally important example of how traveler accommodations changed in rural New Hampshire in the 19th century. The inn has been identified as "The Birchwood" since 1892, and was the town's only public accommodation for most of the 19th century, and still is today. The building, still in use as a restaurant and inn, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. In 1981 the inn and surrounding area were used in the filming of the movie Summer, based on an Edith Wharton novel and starring Diane Lane and Michael Ontkean.

 

The walls in one of our dining rooms were painted by muralist Rufus Porter, who was also the founder of Scientific American Magazine (ask to see our copy!) and who held over 100 US Patents. His murals were uncovered in 1971 under two layers of wallpaper, and are a historic treasure, thought to have been painted around 1835. 

The early construction history of the building is not known. Based on its style, the inn was built during the Federal period (roughly 1790–1830), and has served as a center of hospitality ever since. The building has historically been used for town meetings and other civic and social events, serving as the town post office and general store. The expansion in 1847-48 made it possible to expand the establishment's entertainment offerings, with a sprung wooden floor in the second-floor ballroom. The front porch was added in 1892, when it was purchased by new owners and converted into a boarding house catering to tourists. Its amenities were further updated in the 1930s to include inside plumbing and electricity.

Extensive restoration of the tavern was done throughout January and February 2020. The renovations were focused on maintaining the historic atmosphere of the structure, and the original post and beam construction was exposed and is now highlighted. Within the tavern, the high tables and bar top are constructed from a cherry tree that fell during the 2008 ice storm in the local town of Sharon.

We have a few friendly ghosts who entertain us, ask us to tell you their stories! 

Weekend Market
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