GROTON -- From the outside, the new Groton Inn looks an awful lot like the old Groton Inn, but the more than 300-year-old historical inn that burned down in 2011 had one less story, half as many rooms, and no high speed wifi during the American Revolution.
Warren "Waddy" Francis, general manager of the new inn that is scheduled to open on May 3, credits the appearance of the building's exterior to the architectural firm Pitman and Wardley, which had extensive history with historical recreations.
He also credits Groton Selectmen, who he said made it clear it was very important for the new inn to resemble the old.
"It was important to the town fathers to have everything correct," Francis said.
From wooden posts in the front of the inn, which even include two offset posts just like the old inn had, to the building's gables and exterior features, the outside of the inn is meant to recreate the original inn, the first parts of which were built in 1678.
But while the outside of the inn will reflect the past, the inside will bear little resemblance to the former inn.
Francis said the inside of the historic inn had countless nooks and crannies and small rooms, while the new inn will include larger rooms and far more open space.
The new inn will have 60 guest rooms, which will go for between $169 and $299 depending on the room and the season, according to the inn's website.
Francis said historical artifacts will be on display inside the inn on a rotating basis, as will antique grandfather clocks provided by Delaney Antique Clocks, of Townsend.
Unlike the historical artifacts, the antique grandfather clocks on display will also be for sale via Delaney, Francis said.
Located on a roughly 6-acre campus that stretches back from Main Street toward Gibbet Hill, the main inn building will include a kitchen for breakfast and banquets, with a breakfast room called "Keep's Conservatory" in honor of Capt. Jonathan Keep, who was the inn's first landlord during the time of the Revolutionary War, according to Francis.
It will also have a large banquet room, meeting room, and board room, and two fitness rooms, according to Francis.
Out back, with a glass wall and outdoor seating area facing Gibbet Hill, will be a 156-seat restaurant called the Forge and Vine -- a nod to the blacksmith's shop that was on the location centuries ago.
Forge and Vine will offer American fare, with rotisserie chicken and other meats cooked in an open kitchen's wood-fired grill, an extensive collection of New England seafood, and a dedicated vegan section in the menu, according to Francis.
The restaurant will be available for rent during the day and open for dining in the afternoon and night, Francis said.
The restaurant will also feature a raw bar, and a takeout market unlike anything revolutionary war heroes had on tap.
"People will be able to use the Forge and Vine app (for smartphones) to order take out on their way home from work," Francis said.
Francis said he hopes the restaurant will open along with inn on May 3, but that construction was delayed when steel heading for the building was diverted down south this summer due to hurricanes that caused severe damage.
The inn will also have a beverage service for those in need of a coffee, tea or adult beverage, and that the drink service is open to anyone, as is an invitation to enjoy those drinks next to a wood-fired fireplace inside, or a gas-fired fireplace outside in the building's courtyard.
The courtyard, located in the rear of the building, is a new feature, and will also include outdoor seating and a small covered area that is adjacent to the inn's banquet hall.
"We want the community to participate fully in what the inn has to offer," Francis said.
Francis said non-guests are also welcome to stop by the Inn for breakfast, which will be free for guests but also available to anyone who needs a bite in the morning.
The rocking chairs that will line the brick-floored front porch will also be open to the public, he said.
While the inn's targeted clientele includes parents and visitors from the Groton School and Lawrence Academy, Francis also hopes to cater to those doing business at firms in the Route 128 and Interstate 495 corridors, as well as those who may come to Groton as a destination now that there's a modern place to stay.
Francis said the inn is already accepting an "overwhelming" number of requests to host conferences, weddings, and other special events, and that he hopes to have a full schedule booked by the opening on May 3.
For those more interested in work than history and accommodation, the Inn will be hiring about 120 people between now and it's opening, with both full-time and part-time positions available.
Anyone interested in work at the inn, or in booking in advance, can visit www.TheGrotonInn.com, which is already up and running.
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