Renovated Barnstead to offer chic Vt. experience

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MANCHESTER — When history, family and tradition fuse, the outcome is a renovated Barnstead Inn with new owners who treat their guests, as well as locals, to a chic Vermont experience.

The Barnstead Inn, located on Bonnet Street in Manchester, wasn't always an Inn.

In the 1830's, the property was the working Witherell Farm. During the 1960s, the farm was converted into countryside lodging. And, for the past 30 years, it has been known as the Barnstead Inn, owned and operated by Cindy and Neil Humphrey.

When the Humphrey's decided to retire, Cindy asked her son and daughter-in-law — Pete and Andrea Conrad — if they'd be interested in purchasing the property.

"There was no hesitation," Andrea said. "I wanted to buy the Inn to continue a second-generation family business."

While Andrea and Pete bought the property together, Andrea says, "this is my baby. Pete says he's just my laborer."

Within the first few weeks of acquiring the Barnstead Inn, Pete — who owns Pete Conrad Construction — and his crew listened to Andrea's creative vision and got to work.

The end result is a renovated barroom and dining area that consists of reclaimed wood, exposed original wooden beams and reclaimed corrugated metal roofing from a barn in New York. The space has a "farmhouse industrial look with a millennium vibe reclaimed with modern touches," Andrea explains.

The bar, which is primarily for guest but will be open to the public, has four high-tops and eight bar stools.

Andrea plans on enlarging the cozy area by adding a small outdoor stone patio that will be able to hold "a couple bistro tables."

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In the summer, the larger space will be put to good use when Andrea brings in local acoustic musicians to entertain the guests.

Continuing with the open-air theme, the Inn's outdoor pizza oven, which was built for Andrea and Pete's rehearsal dinner in 2009 - will also have patio seating available. Pizza will be baked in the oven along with other slow-roasted specialties.

Currently, the Barnstead Inn has 11 rooms — two of which have already been updated to "farmhouse modern" — and three suites. According to Andrea, updates to all the rooms will occur in the future.

"It's a fun process," she says. "The bones are pretty good. It's all cosmetic."

In addition to the physical changes to the property, Andrea has turned the family-owned Inn in to a bed and breakfast. She prepares a daily homemade hot special — like corned beef hash from corned beef that has slow-cooked all day in her kitchen - served with fresh eggs from Vermont's Wing & A Prayer Farm. There is also fruit, coffee and cold cereal which includes Andrea's homemade granola she makes from locally sourced ingredients.

"I love to promote locals," Andrea says. "I try to go local whenever possible."

This isn't just lip service. Inside each room, guests are treated to Dorset Daughters Skin Care products; at breakfast, Dorset Maple Reserve is served whenever the hot daily special calls for syrup, along with

Vermont's own Mocha Joe's Coffee; and Wagatha's dog biscuits are available for guests four-legged traveling companions.

The Barnstead Inn plans on hosting several promotions throughout the year. The first will be a Father's Day Special that will connect guests to a local outdoorsman who will offer guided half-day or full-day fishing excursion in the region.

While it's a lot of work and Andrea admits to be "learning as I go," she is relishing in the family tradition and family connection — she brought in Pete's Uncle Joe to help out around the property — all while helping visitors experience Manchester and everything the area has to offer.

For further information regarding the Barnstead Inn, go to their website at www.barnsteadinn.com or call 802-362-1619.


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