A search for a historic hotel near Wooster, Massachusetts led me to the Grafton Inn in the center of the small picturesque town of Grafton. Established in 1735, Grafton still has several of its original houses that fan out from the town center. The Grafton Inn with its colonial style architecture and an Italianate front porch was built on the town square in 1805. Recently, the inn has undergone a few updates since ownership changed a little over a year ago.
From arrival to departure my friend and I had a lovely stay–and we never saw sight of Martha, the ghost who is rumored to make appearances every once in awhile.
What we did encounter was a lively group of locals in the inn’s restaurant/bar, Hunter’s Grille and Tap Room where we had drinks and dinner, and a friendly staff who made sure we had what we needed before they left for the night.
This small hotel only has seven guest rooms with a night manager staying on the premise. Once the restaurant/bar closes, only the hotel part is open. On Mondays, Hunter’s Grille and Tap Room isn’t open at all.
The Grafton Inn’s guest rooms, all located on the 3rd floor and accessible by an elevator or stairs, are appointed with antique furniture and simple decor. There is nothing fancy, but the accommodations are comfortable and cozy. Our room, #5, had a double and a twin bed with soft comforters and sheets that made for a great night sleep. A flat screen TV, a small fridge, an iron and an ironing board are standard to each room.
A Keurig coffee maker that also dispenses hot water is in a common area in the main hall outside the guest rooms. Tea choices and a few kinds of coffee are available for help-yourself 24/7. There’s also a drink vending machine. Although Wi-Fi is free, it’s a bit slow.
The inn’s second floor has another common area with a pool table ready for any guest to play. We passed through here on our way to our room via the stairs.
If the restaurant is open when you arrive, particularly in the winter, head to the main dining room where two fireplaces give off a welcoming warmth. We sat on high stools at a table in the pub before we discovered the dining room, but being near the folks gathered around the bar to watch sports and share conversation made for a lively evening. In warmer weather, meals and drinks are also served on the outside patio.
The lobby reception area is another hang out place. Couches and chairs invite folks to sit awhile. Guests who were hanging out here first told us about Martha as we headed to the check-in desk. Since they didn’t seem too bothered by Martha, we weren’t either, and I was most interested in the artwork that lined the walls of the main hallway and into the reception sitting area.
Created by members of a local artists guild, all the artwork is for sale. As soon as one is sold, another takes its place. To support the community’s well-being and the arts, the Grafton Inn doesn’t collect a commission on sales. I also noticed a large box filled with food donations for a local food bank near the registration desk.
As for the food, our meals were splendid. I ordered the fish kebab special which came with a salad, bread and butter. It was delicious, as were the stuffed potato skins with chili. Other menu offerings include various sandwiches and pizza. Burgers are a specialty. The bar serves up a wide variety of cocktails and beer. Taking the wait staff suggestion, I ordered a local brew on tap.
I thoroughly enjoyed the stay and would love to come back to explore Grafton and the surrounding area. As a note, the Grafton Inn gained status when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Our room, booked at Hotels.com was $72. The room I almost reserved with a king size bed and fireplace was $95. In addition to booking a room at Hotels.com, you can call 508/839-5931 or email at [email protected]
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein