Article by Sam Dostaler
At Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts you will feel as if you have stepped back in time to the 1700s.
Originally named Howe Tavern and run by four generations of the same family from 1716-1861, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn is the oldest operating inn in the United States, and a Massachusetts Historic Landmark. Some of the early owners included Eziekiel Howe who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Sudbury Minute and Militia that was present at Lexington and Concord and much later Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company who purchased the inn in 1923 and refurbished the grounds to its former glory.
Over the course of the Longfellow’s Wayside Inn’s long history there have been many notable guests including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1862 who made the inn famous by using the lodge as the setting for his 1863 poem “Tales of a Wayside Inn.” In honor of Longellow’s visit and poem the name of the inn was changed to the name we see today. Eventually the inn, which displays many pieces of his work, was turned over to the government and since the 1960s it has been run by local trustees.
Offering 10 guest rooms, ranging from $170-$190 in price, the Longfellow’s Wayside Inn provides a traditional Bed and Breakfast experience for visitors year round.
Each room features authentic antiques or reproductions of an era gone by while guests in rooms nine and ten experience 19th century living with low ceiling, post-and-beam construction details and wide-plank painted floors.
Rooms also provide a view of the inn’s property giving guests a true sense of peace and the feeling that they are away from it all.
While at the inn there is wide range of traditional New England dishes that guests and diners can choose from. Their main dishes include Prime Rib, Oven Roasted Breast of Chicken, various steak cuts and Yankee Surf and Turf. Whichever meal you choose you cannot go wrong as each is freshly made and sure to satisfy your pallet.
Also be sure to try Coow Woow, a rum and ginger brandy concoction that holds claim to the title of America’s first ever mixed drink. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open to guests of the inn and the public.
Staying at the inn isn’t the only step back in time that visitors can experience. The Longfellow’s Wayside Inn is located on the door step to some of America’s earliest historical landmarks including Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, Massachusetts where the Revolutionary War began. The park is less than a half hour drive from the inn and works nicely as a daytime excursion.
If you are looking to stay closer to the inn then you can wander over the old stone bridge to the Grist Mill built by Ford in 1929. The water power mill and its expansive grass surrounding provides visitors a place to spread out and enjoy a picnic as they watch the mill in action. Or you can explore the Redstone Schoolhouse, a traditional one room school that was built in 1798 in Sterling, Massachusetts before being moved to Sudbury in 1927. The schoolhouse was used by the town until 1951, however now it serves as a lasting symbol of America gone by.