On the site of what would, more than 170 years later, become the grounds of The Inn at Sawmill Farm, William Cragg built a Sawmill in 1796. It was the first business in the new village that was destined to become West Dover. The sawmill’s wheels were powered by the North Branch of the Deerfield River, and those turning wheels provided a prosperous living for Mr. Cragg, and the nine subsequent owners, until the mill was destroyed by fire in 1901. During the early 1800’s, various other businesses sprang up on the site, including a gristmill, a felt-making mill and a potash factory. Land was cleared along the river valley, and working farms were established. One of the remaining farms, the Winston Farm, was purchased in 1967, and became the base for The Inn at Sawmill Farm. Although originally intended to become the owners’ vacation home, plans evolved as they often do, and instead, a world-class Inn was born.
During the building process, the old farm was resurrected. The large barn’s existing hand-hewn posts and beams, mellowed barn boards, old bricks and field stones were all incorporated into the construction of the Inn. The original flavor of the buildings was retained, with the barn’s red & white exterior walls becoming part of an interior hallway, and the hayloft turning into a library and game room. The end result was a charming yet sophisticated four-star retreat on 20 acres.
The Inn at Sawmill Farm opened with nine guest rooms, a living room, kitchen and one dining room. The owners lived in the original farmhouse, which has since been converted into four additional guest rooms. Over the years, the Inn has been carefully expanded, with the addition of more dining space, office space, a cozy copper-topped bar, and more guest rooms. There are two ponds for trout fishing, an outdoor pool, two gazebos and a tennis court.
After more than four decades in operation, the Inn is still as warm and welcoming as it was when it opened in 1969. It has retained the intimate, small inn quality, rustic elegance and unpretentious sophistication that have always been its hallmark. We invite you to visit us on your next trip to Vermont.