What a journey the past 74 years have been! From the early days of housing only 30 guests, to our current capacity of 140, we have been fortunate to meet and make many lifelong friends that call East Hill Farm their home away from home. You are truly our extended Farm family!
The Inn at East Hill Farm will be celebrating our 75th Anniversary during the weekend of February 4-6, 2022. As with all celebrations, it is more fun to have your friends and loved ones to celebrate with. Please mark your calendars and consider joining us for this momentous occasion!
We will be sharing photos, behind the scenes, and fun stories in a series of monthly blog, Instagram, and Facebook posts leading up to the celebration. While the Inn’s history dates to 1772, we are focusing on what it has been since right after WWII, an agritourism destination.
Our story last ended in the 1950s with the expansion of the Inn as a four-season resort…
During the 1960s, East Hill Farm expanded to hold about 40 guests. As the barn transitioned away from dairy production, horses and pigs were added. Calves, lambs, and chickens continued to be boarded during the summer months.
As a general rule, during school vacation weeks and throughout July and August, guests brought children on vacation with them, birthing the slogan, “Where Kids are King.’”
It was during this time the Inn hired its first recreation staff person who organized and supervised activities between serving meals to guests. Recreation events included: story time, trips to the track to watch harness races, hikes up Gap Mountain and Mount Monadnock,
square dancing with Frank Prettie,
and cocktail parties on the lawn.
On Wednesday evenings, after the cocktail party, the children would pile into the back of a pickup truck for a hay ride to Silver Ranch for ice cream. Later in the evening, the adults took their hay ride to Fitzwilliam Inn where they sipped cocktails and played parlor games well into the night.
It was in this decade that Parker purchased the Inn’s current property on Silver Lake in Harrisville. Guests drove over, caravan-style, for a day of water fun including boat rides, jumping off the raft
and a cookout.
The old barn burned down, and a new barn – today’s current cow barn – was built along with the ice-skating rink and the Annex.
Guests helped the farmers with haying, which happened on the property until the mid-1960s. The Recreation Hall was renovated from a recreation room to a dormitory (The Dorm) and provided housing for non-local staff members. Occasionally, guests who vacationed at the Inn as children, would transition in their teenage years to working at the Inn during the summer.
There is a similar story behind the way Dave Adams, met his future wife, Sally Shattler. Here in Farmer Dave’s words is the story of their meeting:
“The year was 1961, I had just finished my tour of duty with the U.S. Army. I spent most of that summer and fall working in a warehouse in Boston. I returned to Troy to attend Keene State College. I was working second shift at Troy Mills and took a dishwashing job at East Hill Farm on the weekends.
In the spring of 1962, two college co-eds arrived at the Farm seeking summer employment. This one chick caught my attention; I was able to fool her into thinking that I was a nice guy. Sally was attending Plymouth State at the time. We were engaged on Thanksgiving and got married during semester break in 1963. We both worked at the Inn part or full time except for the year we spent in Louisiana while I attended LSU in 1968. When I returned, I taught math at Monadnock Regional High School while Sally stayed at home with our three children. We spent weekends and summers at the Inn working all aspects of the operation.” And the rest is Adam’s family history…
Next month, we travel back to the 1970s. Groovy, can you dig it?
Post submitted by Holly LeClair