GROTON -- The buzz has been building for a year over the anticipated reopening of the historic Groton Inn.
On Thursday, seven years after burning down, the newly built inn opened its doors to guests on Main Street.
The hotel pays homage to its history dating back to the 17th century as the oldest American hotel while still staying true to Groton's character, General Manager Waddy Francis said.
"We wanted to fit into the Town of Groton, and the Town of Groton wanted us to fit into it," he said.
The hotel's white exterior with black shutters was designed to resemble the original inn, Francis said.
Inside, there is attention to historic detail from the moment guests walk into the lobby.
Brand new furniture with a classic look frames a brick fireplace. A grandfather clock on loan from Delaney Antiques in Townsend sits along a wall.
In the guest rooms, flat screen televisions and modern bathroom sinks and fixtures contrast with dark wood headboards and upholstered arm chairs.
From some of the rooms, people can see Gibbet Hill and the site of a new restaurant, Forge & Vine, which will open in the summer.
The process to develop the inn and gain approval from the town began about four years ago, Francis said.
Construction started in 2016 and added an additional floor to double the number of rooms the inn has.
Another way history is woven into the hotel is through area names and artwork.
Francis said one of the banquet halls is named after Paul Revere, who held Masonic meetings at the old inn.
The Keep's Conservatory restaurant that serves gourmet breakfast to guests and members of the public is named for Capt. Jonathan Keep, the inn's first landlord during the Revolutionary War, he added.
Black and white pictures of the town's history adorn the walls.
Images of Town Hall and the Groton Hunt Club's beagles came from the Groton History Center, Francis said.
Two 19-century murals painted by J.D. Poor that are currently inside the Prescott House will be restored and displayed at the inn, assuming Town Meeting approves the fundes Monday for the Conservation Commission to do so.
The lobby and hallway leading to one of the banquet rooms features paintings from local artists. Each month, the inn will have openings for them and will rotate the art, Francis said.
Excitement about the inn's reopening has been circulating for about a year, Francis said. Locals and people from around the state have shown interest in booking for wedding receptions and business gatherings.
About 50 of the hotel's 60 rooms were booked for opening night Thursday, including some reservations made a year in advance, Francis said.
Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
"For being a first year operation, we have really exceeded our expectations," he said.
Rates to stay at the inn range from about $170 to $250 a night depending on the type of room and the season, he said.
There are single rooms with a king-sized bed and larger ones with two queen-sized beds.
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