Old Tavern At Grafton

Route 35, Grafton, VT, 05146
Grafton Inn
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  • Families90
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More about Grafton


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The White ChurchThe White Church

Travel Tips for Grafton

The Town Hall

by Geoff_Wright

This imposing building is Grafton's Town hall. It is also the Town's Post Office, and Mary has just posted our final batch of Post Cards to VTers and family, before our return to England.

At one time Grafton had four general stores. Captain John Barrett, a former member of the New Hampshire militia, was the first man to establish a store here, in this building, in 1816. "Also housed in this impressive old 1816 building is a museum of natural history. This was the location of Captain John Barrett's first village store. In the 1820s, John Barrett's store dominated local trade. It listed 862 customers, most of who were buying for large families. The Captain's widow sold the building to the town in 1857, and it was shared at the time among civic offices, a library, and the federal post office."

Grafton General Store

by Geoff_Wright

The present-day Grafton Village Store was built in 1841 by Captain Barrett's nephew, George Barrett. On his retirement from storekeeping, Barrett sold the business to Edward L. Walker, who sold it to Walter E. L. Walker, who owned it for 26 years. In 1882, Grafton's first telegraph line was installed at this store. An eight-word telegraph to neighbouring Bellows Falls cost fifteen cents.

In 1909, Francis A. Palmer purchased Walker’s Store and ran it until his death in 1950.

As well as providing for the needs of the townsfolk, the present owner of the store is happy for you to use the shop's other 'facilities. I suppose you could say it was a 'convenience store'? LOL! Seriously, there seemed to be a general lack of publick restrooms most places we went, so you either visited a restaurant, or a service station, etc. "In 1909, Francis A. Palmer, author of Grafton's first published history, purchased Walker’s Store and ran it until his death in 1950. "Palm" was a well-liked, lively storekeeper who opened up at six so that men could buy their tobacco for the day, and stayed open late for political debates and checker matches. The F. A. Palmer Cash Store was a focal point of Grafton life in the 1930s, and with the generous help of organizations such as the Bunbury Company and the Windham Foundation, this village store has kept its doors open throughout the years and continues to be a thriving center of community activities."

Grafton Historical Museum

by Geoff_Wright

Known as the Stowell/Mead House, the building itself is an interesting example of "plank" construction. It was constructed by piling two-by-fours one on top of the other horizontally, with clapboards over the outside. This technique makes for a strong and well-insulated building, but uses a lot of wood , which was not a problem in 1840s Vermont.

The Grafton Historical Society was formed on August 2, 1962, and in 1978 The society began renting the Stowell/Mead house for a museum , after the Windham Foundation had purchased and restored the house to its former beauty. The Museum collects and exhibits local Soapstone objects, Textiles, Photos and Furniture.

The Museum is open as follows

Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays

Open Memorial Day through Columbus Day
and daily during foliage season:
10-12 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.
Also open by appointment. Call 802-843-1010.

Grafton's White Church

by Geoff_Wright

Almost every town in New England (and probably most other areas) has at least one White Church. This is Grafton's White Church, and just along the road is their Brick Church.

The Brick Church was built in 1833 as the Congregational meeting house. The White Church was built in 1858 as the Baptist meeting house. in 1972 the churches united . Services are held at 9a.m. each Sunday in the Brick Church from June to-October, and in the White Church from November to May.

Both churches may be viewed, and the keys available at Tickle Your Fancy Gifts. 'Phone: (802) 843-2346 "Grafton's Baptists built their first church in the lower village in 1814. They built the White Church forty-four years later. By the 1870s, the Baptist Women's Aid Society was providing support to preachers and sponsoring repairs to the church and parsonage. In those early years in Grafton the Baptists and Congregationalists each attended their own church, but by 1920 neither of the two factions were large enough or rich enough to continue on their own. As a solution, they formed the Federated Church of Grafton. By doing this, the two churches could operate with one minister who would hold services for six months of the year in each church. Today, the White Church is used in the winter and the Brick Church, which does not have central heating, is used in the summer."

The Old Tavern

by Geoff_Wright

Grafton is home to one of New England's true treasures: The Old Tavern at Grafton. If ever there was a place to live the poet's words, this is it. The Old Tavern has a heritage that goes back as far as twelve years after America's independence.

(Courtesy of the 'Windam Foundation')

The Old Tavern "In 1788 Samuel Spring was voted a license to sell liquor on this site. Enos Lovell owned the property in 1801 and decided to convert his two-story home into an inn. Both Grafton and the tavern prospered. When Hyman Burgess took over in 1823, the building had doubled in size. Brothers Francis and Harlan Phelps bought the tavern in 1865, and ran it for the next 48 years. In 1867, they welcomed Ulysses S. Grant as their most famous guest. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Rudyard Kipling would also stay at the hotel. Trials were held at the inn, which accommodated visiting judges and lawyers. The Phelps brothers added a third story and porches before their era of proprietorship ended. Despite the efforts of subsequent owners, the tavern entered a period of decline.

In 1965, the Old Tavern was purchased by the Windham Foundation and restored with modern amenities. The guest rooms are free of telephones and televisions so that visitors to Grafton can find the inn, which is listed in the "Historic Hotels of America," a quiet and refreshing retreat."


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Old Tavern At Grafton

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Address: Route 35, Grafton, VT, 05146