When it comes to historic preservation too much reverence is not always a good thing. Philip Zea, president of Historic Deerfield, observes that one of the most devastating effects of 2011’s Hurricane Irene was the closing of the Deerfield Inn in the village. “The inn animates the street,” he says. “It’s right in the middle of things and even its delivery trucks give an important sense of activity here.” The 1884 structure took in as much as six feet of water from Irene, affecting every aspect from the foundation on up. Now, two years later, the rebuilding is complete and the inn has reopened with what Zea describes as a “vastly improved interior,” modern amenities in its guest rooms, a remodeled carriage house, and a reconfigured and redesigned dining room and bar. One of the owners, Jane Howard Sabo, describes the restoration as an opportunity to enhance the inn’s sense of place with the work of such local artists as Stephen Mariatti (1910-1984) and James Wells Champney (1843-1903) and with a renewed and expanded commitment to serving locally sourced vegetables, meats, and cheeses and many regional beers. The changes that the inn’s owners have embraced in the wake of a disaster signify their commitment to the idea that a respect for history is entirely compatible with contemporary life.
Deerfield Inn, Deerfield, Massachusetts · deerfieldinn.com · (413) 774–5587