Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Maiden Rock Inn - Art, Architecture and Stories

Thinking of the Maiden Rock Inn makes me smile.  Imagine staying in an old schoolhouse built in 1906 and renovated by artists. The building is 16,000 square feet and each room is large (classroom sized) with high ceilings, and every area is decorated with great thought and detail.
photo courtesy of the Maiden Rock Inn
But before I go on, I'd like to say that the best part of the Inn are the people that run it.  Gary and Jennifer Peterson have a knack for making you feel like you've known them all your life.  We felt like we were staying with friends.  Their creativity, hard work, and hospitality are reflected in every room in that building.
Jennifer and Gary Peterson
Quite a team, these two.  Jennifer is a designer, painter, and decorator, and Gary is master craftsman and woodworker who specializes in curved staircases.  They like to dream big and share their lives with others; and just talking to them can give you a new perspective on your own life and life stories.

The Maiden Rock Inn is their "retirement" project.  The old schoolhouse had seen its last students in 1980 and then was used for various local businesses before it had been closed up.  They made a bid on the building in 1995, and their bid was accepted and they went to work!  The building was in good shape, but they needed to repair the roof, insulation, and heating among other things.

Being that we like old historic buildings, of course we asked for for the grand tour.  (I'll do my best, but I'm sure I'll miss a few things.)  When you first walk into the building and climb the initial set of steps, you'll see a large, industrial sized kitchen.  As you can imagine, lots of activity happens here.  You'll also most likely be greeted by MoBedda, their friendly pooch. 

To the right of the kitchen is a large room with a deli counter, freezers and a few tables.  They had once used it as a deli, but they decided to put that on hold for a while.

To the left is their dining and entertainment area - a large spacious room with amazing woodwork and built-ins.  There's a wet bar, tables, chairs, couches and an entertainment center with a collection of albums.   They've often held musical events and invited musicians such as Michael Johnson and Danny O'Keefe.

BTW - the breakfasts were great, but don't expect the traditional pancake-sausage-egg fare.  One day we had huge portabella mushrooms stuffed with quinoa; another day we had sushi wraps and chicken.  They were easily able to accommodate my food allergies because they eat this way all the time.

If you go down to the basement, they have rec area with a pool table, DVDs and then a wine cellar. And then just when you think you've come to the end of the basement, another door opens, and of course, there's a huge former gymnasium (you can still see the hoops and floor markings) where they've held large events and dances.  Gary's workbench and shop are in the former stage area.

Also, and I can't remember quite how to get to it, but they have a triangular outdoor seating area out one of the back doors for smaller events like graduation parties and picnic dinner gatherings.

Going back upstairs, past the kitchen, another set of stairs leads to the second floor where there are four guest rooms (two with jacuzzis), and you can see that each of these former classrooms was like a creative canvas for the innkeepers.

upstairs hallway area

You can easily spend several days at the Inn and not see all of the fine details or be aware of all the work that has gone into each room.  Jennifer says that when she walks into a room she gets ideas, and Gary can tell you about all of the planning, construction, upgrades to woodwork, floors, ceilings, and heating, plumbing and electrical systems, also all the different places where he found or salvaged the materials. 

We stayed in the Aubergene (Eggplant) Room.  

My camera could not capture the magnitude of the rooms nor all of the details.

If you looked at a chair, it wasn't just a chair; it was a piece of art.  The original metal ceilings had great detail.  The curtains on the high windows let in just enough light.  In the bathroom (not pictured) there was a night light, a bronze silhouette of a woman stepping into the waves.

The other rooms were Red Clay, Grotto and Sunshower.

Red Clay Room

Grotto bathroom

Grotto Room

Sunshower Room
charming details
Sunshower windows


After seeing the rooms, we were still far from being finished with our tour.  Down the second floor back hallway (lined with Oriental rugs) there is also a sauna, a cozy fireplace room (ideal for book clubs and other group meetings), Jennifer's art studio which is, itself a work in progress, and then there's a beautiful circular staircase that goes up to the rooftop deck.  Really?

It was a great place to do morning stretches.



Oh, did I mention that the Petersons were great innkeepers?  It seemed like they were available 24/7, ready to share their personal journeys, help us toast our wedding anniversary, giving tips on the best places to eat, and letting us in on their ongoing dreams for their property.  We were greatly inspired.   

We will definitely go back and visit again soon.  If you go, tell them we said hi. 

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