+ Stories of Historic Deerfield, MA

Back in the Day :: Stories of Historic Deerfield, MA

Joan Harlow in Deerfield, MAWe are always interested in oral history of the Inn’s past. We have heard stories of historic Deerfield from a woman on a coach group trip from a senior center who told us of the summer months when she was a little girl visiting her grandmother, the cook at the adjacent Stebbins House. Another guest told us that when he was just a lad, he remembers cages of songbirds in the fireplace lobby!

Recently we met Joan Harlow whose parents were innkeepers here for fourteen years from 1950. She grew up in Deerfield until she went to Emma Willard, and the home her parents built is the current administrative offices of Historic Deerfield behind the firehouse. When they first arrived they lived in the Pratt House just to the south of the inn, which was once where brooms were made and is now the Museum Store.

Joan remembered when Eleanor Roosevelt arrived very humbly by taxi – no limo for her with flags fluttering. Jack Harlow was a staunch Republican, but he was charmed by Mrs. Roosevelt’s passion to preserve Deerfield as a gateway to the past.

The restaurant menu was the same for an entire week, and until Joan’s mother Ruth could persuade the Flynts to let them eat in their own small private dining space, they would have a choice of baked ham, broiled chicken, tinned Sexton’s vegetables, and a relish tray with cottage cheese, pickles, and spiced crabapples day in, day out, in what was a very formal dining room until the flood of Irene gave us the opportunity to change all that. On Sunday it was roast beef for all, and on Monday the weekly menu would be in place again.

There was no elevator then, and no keys to the rooms, which unnerved metropolitan guests. The Deerfield Inn was the call center for fires, and Joan was filled with trepidation every time that red phone rang.

When Samuel Chamberlain came to take photographs for Historic Deerfield: Houses and Interiors by Henry N Flynt, Joan was allowed to watch him at his work and hold up the camera lights.

Joan also had a memory of being asked to run, run like the wind, back to the inn to “get the Ballantine’s out of the fridge.” She brought back a bottle of ale, not knowing it had to be chilled scotch for a certain somebody I shall not name!

How what we eat has changed. How odd to open tinned vegetables when this valley is bursting with produce! Anybody else have any recollections of Deerfield that I can add to my memory bank? I would love to hear your stories…

To Our Valued Friends & Guests…

Welcome back to The Deerfield Inn. We are so excited to share with you the charm and warmth of the Inn and all of Historic Deerfield’s natural beauty. We want to reassure you that our first responsibility and top priority is the safety and well-being of each of our guests, as well as our team. Please take a moment to review our new wellness measures which are in place for your visit to the Inn. Should you have any additional questions, please contact us directly.

General Property Information

• The Inn is an ideal location to practice physical/social distancing due to the property’s location in beautiful Historic Deerfield. The entire property has been deep cleaned and sanitized and multiple cleanings continue throughout each day. Hand-sanitizer is also available throughout the Inn.
• Guests and team members will observe recommended distancing protocols.
• Personal protection equipment (PPE) amenity kits featuring disinfecting gel, nitrile rubber gloves and masks will be provided upon request for guests.
• We will comply with, or exceed, local or state mandated occupancy limits.
• All team members will receive training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols with more comprehensive training for our teams with frequent guest contact.
• All team members will be wearing masks for their safety and the safety and comfort of guests. The health of our team members is carefully monitored on a daily basis.

Housekeeping

• Industry leading cleaning, Ultraviolet Lights and sanitizing protocols are used to clean guest rooms, with particular attention paid to high-touch items.
• Two levels of housekeeping services will be offered to each guest:
o Housekeeping Limited Service: Our team will access your room once daily to provide service and restock linens and amenities.
o Housekeeping Drop Service: Your fresh linens and towels along with any other requested amenities will be packaged and placed at your door upon your request.
• The frequency of cleaning and sanitizing has been increased in all public spaces with an emphasis on frequent contact surfaces.
• The frequency of air filter replacement and HVAC system cleaning has been increased and fresh air exchange will be maximized.

Dining

• New service options include Dinner on the Lawn, Porch, Terrace and In-Room Service.
• Curbside pick up will be available for To-Go orders.
• Seating capacity has been reduced in Champney’s Restaurant& Tavern based on CDC recommendations.
• At the completion of a dining service, the table, chairs and menus will be sanitized prior to the next seating.
• The spacing of tables has been adjusted to allow for six feet between tables

Wellbeing Plan is subject to change based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control, MA Department of Public Health, American Hotel Lodging Association and all other applicable government authorities.