As you perhaps know, the inn opened its doors in July 1884 with all sorts of drama in the Valley – a plague of locusts, a drought, but visitors came and stayed nevertheless. It seems that business was so promising that George Arms, a local builder, was invited the next year to extend the property to the north. Old photos on the walls in Champney’s show there was a porch that ran all around that side. Another photo we found that showed the original placement of the front desk meant we could return it to where it has always been. We call it the Harry Potter room because it is a small space and under the stairs!
Recently we discovered that the stables and carriage house were built a year before the inn was opened. It makes sense, really – that there had to be somewhere for the horses to be stabled and the carriages to be stowed away.
Rather charmingly, the names of horses are on a long support beam that runs above where the stalls used to be. These might have been the horses that worked the fields around here, or perhaps one or two of them would be harnessed up to make the run to the train station to pick up guests and their luggage.
Their names were Fanny, Bonnie, Patsy, Donald, Frank, Harry, Pilot, Tom, Kate, and, fancifully compared to the others – Dinamint.
One of my favorite photographs in Champney’s is hanging to the left of the fireplace. It shows the transition between motorized and horse-drawn conveyance. Two cars are out on the street in front of the inn, and two are down to its south side on the driveway. Seated guests are looking out from the front porch, but at the back of inn, behind the rather splendid cars, you can see an unharnessed horse being groomed just by the stables and the carriage house. Lovely.
Join us at Deerfield Inn and see the amazing history of our property!
Here’s another story about the history that is Deerfield: We have on the village green by the well one of the first Civil War monuments in the state. The beautifully carved 6’ statue of brown freestone cost the then tremendous sum of $4,000 and was dedicated on September 4th, 1867. The Mass Department of Veterans Services put up half of the cost of the monument’s restoration which will amount to $8,000, plus the donation of in-kind work.
The soldier is up on an 8’ pedestal and has lost his rifle. He stands so thoughtfully with one foot forward, the butt of the rifled musket between his feet, his hands left over right around the missing muzzle, accoutrements and bayonet suspended from his waist belt, and the coat’s hood falling over the shoulders as a cape. The soldier’s sleeves are Read the rest of this entry »
The Stebbins tall clock, made by Aaron Willard (1757–1844), Boston.
This village of Old Deerfield is really a special place, imbued and breathing its past into our present. In 1799, Asa Stebbins built the first brick house in Franklin County, and kept careful record of what he bought and where it was placed when he furnished his new home. The museum of Historic Deerfield owns the Stebbins House for visitors to view, and knew that the tall eight-day clock was made by Aaron Willard, cost Stebbins the huge sum of $100, and was situated in the north parlor. The clock left its family home a long time ago, and then popped up for auction at the end of January. Thanks to contributions from supporters, the sum was raised to get the clock back to its rightful place. The moving and extraordinary part of the story is that when the clock was placed back where it had stood, the original means of fastening it to the wall for stability was still there in exact alignment behind the plaster and paper!
Another story we cherish here at Deerfield Inn is the story of a powder horn owned by militia soldier Jonathan Smead also surfaced recently. Smead lived in the Deerfield Meadows where in 1742 he was paid a bounty for killing a wolf. The intricately carved French and Indian War-era powder horn had been in PVMA’s Memorial Hall Museum since 1880, but was stolen in 1949 when the museum was closed during WWII. The piece was found in the 50s at the town dump in Longmeadow when he was a child, by now retired anthropology professor James Richardson. When he learned by chance of its origin, he brought it from PA to be displayed alongside Smead’s bone-headed cane in the Military Room.
Historic Deerfield has one of the finest assemblages in a current exhibition of this indigenous and unique American art form, so if stories of the past and intriguing artifacts such as powder horns are things you like, then Deerfield is the place to pay a visit!
Did you know that the Arts & Crafts Movement was really significant in Deerfield and its history? From the last quarter of the nineteenth century in particular, women in Deerfield, both permanent residents and summer visitors, were drawn into the arts and crafts movement, many of them looking for a way to express themselves in paint, silks, copper, silver, and clay. You can see an exhibition all about that when you visit.
Also open for viewing at the Flynt Center of Historic Deerfield is an exhibition of gorgeous craftwork pieces from their extensive collections.
As an addition to the metalware, Read the rest of this entry »
The Highland Street Foundation has enabled 67 museums and cultural venues to be visited with no admission charge on every Friday throughout the summer. Under their generous auspices, Historic Deerfield and Memorial Hall museums will be open absolutely free to all-comers on Friday, August 15th!
From 9:30-4:30, visitors will have the opportunity to experience everything from period re-enactors, the first floor of the museum houses, historic trades and handicrafts, and artifacts and Read the rest of this entry »
After the seemingly endless, brutal winter, we and our visitors are more ready for summer shorts and Chacos than ever before.
Luckily there are loads of fun summer events around here in Western Massachusetts, from various town fairs to the Eastern States Exposition. Thank you to masslive.com for the useful listing below.
There is a lot to do with horses in our neck of the woods, as well as arts and crafts and music. We are 20 minutes north of Northampton, and close to the I-91 corridor, so the Deerfield Inn is a good middle spot to stay. Not only family-friendly, but dog-friendly, too! Please call ahead to see if one of our dog rooms is available for you. The walks around here in our state forests are a marvel of Read the rest of this entry »
The oldest museum association in the country is opening again for the season. Located right here in Deerfield on Memorial Street, this three-story building, founded in 1870, in the original 1798 Deerfield Academy building, is filled with remarkable objects relating directly to Deerfield and its immediate environs. The native Pocumtuck people, Eastern European immigrants, and the African American experience are interpreted and presented here. Deerfield’s Arts & Crafts Movement, quilts, Hadley chests, paintings, photographs, tombstones, the famous 1704 hatchet-scarred door from the Sheldon house, as well as Bangwell Putt, the oldest-known rag doll in America who survived for so long partly because she was handled very gently by the little blind Clarissa Field who owned her, are just some of the things here to tell their stories. The impact of the continuum of history is very real and engaging in this special place which so lovingly preserves and documents Deerfield’s past. We invite you to stay with us at the Deerfield Inn when you visit this remarkable piece of history.
Open Tuesdays through Sundays, June through October (closed Mondays).
Hours: 11:00 am – 4:30 pm
Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for ages 6-21, and the little museum shop has some special pieces by area artisans.
And of course set aside plenty of time to visit Historic Deerfield and its absorbing exhibitions in the Flynt Center.
“‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘What’s the first thing you say to yourself?’
“‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’
“‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.
“Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.”
A country breakfast is part of your stay at our Deerfield bed and breakfast- 7:30-10:00 – so no need to jump out of bed at crack of dawn. Sit, sip, relax, enjoy…
Check out our summer midweek special rate and the 130th birthday rate in July!
A writer for Harper’s Magazine came to visit Deerfield and wrote, “Old Deerfield …is one of the most beautiful rural towns in New England…Its spacious street stretches along the terrace and a bowery aisle of magnificent elms, under which the houses stand, separate, with gardens and grassy banks, in neighborly seclusion…Back of the town rises the Deerfield mountain, and on all the other sides are the unfenced fertile meadows far beyond which lie gracefully rounded hills of various outline, waving along the horizon, and rich with the verdure of oaks and maples, beeches and chestnuts. The scenery has a friendly and gentle character, not too bold, or harsh, or inaccessible, but amenable everywhere to human culture and habitation. It has a fullness and tenderness and finish that must often have recalled to the early settlers much of the landscape of Mother England who had driven them away.”
The bit about the elms and Mother England gives it away, but this was written in 1875, and could be describing this village pretty much as a visitor can experience it in 2014.
This was written just seven years before the inn’s carriage house and stables were built, and nine years before the inn, restaurant, and guest rooms followed with a quiet opening in July.
We can’t offer “a double room with running water – $3.00” as promised in a brochure from the 20′s, but we can offer a good number of rooms starting at $130 – midweek or weekend – during the month of July to celebrate our 130th birthday.
Make sure to mention JULY when you call to get this special price.
Afternoon tea and cookies, a country inn breakfast, and three-month membership to the museum houses and exhibition center of Historic Deerfield will all be included in your stay.
Make your plans now to avoid disappointment! The Deerfield Inn will be 130 years old this summer, so we have some rooms available in July as a gift to you for just $130! Afternoon tea and cookies, a full country inn breakfast, and free passes to the museum houses of Historic Deerfield are all part of your stay.
Summers in Deerfield are a delight. The days can be filled with hiking, biking, antiquing, reading and chatting outside on an Adirondack chair or in a cozy air conditioned nook inside. The iced tea pitcher is bottomless, we have bikes you can rent for a spin, we have rooms for families, rooms for dogs, and a Relaxing Room for a soothing massage. Call us at 413-774-5587 and ask if we have a birthday room open to you. (PS Not available with any other discount deals.)