On a bluff overlooking the Connecticut River in Norwich, Vt., sits the ancestral home of George Loveland ’66. Built in 1821, the spacious Federalist-style yellow brick house on 38 acres has been home to six generations of the Loveland family.
In 2010, George and his wife, Carol, brought a new vibrancy to the farmhouse by transforming it into the Butternut Lane Bed and Breakfast.
Reminiscent of the poem by Lydia Maria Child, Loveland’s first memories of Butternut Lane are of traveling “over the river and through the woods” to visit his grandparents. “Every other weekend in the summer, my family would make the trip from suburban Boston to the farm,” he recalls. And each year before the Vermont winter set in, his grandparents closed the property to head south.
In contemplating retirement, George and Carol had a choice. “We could own two homes, like my grandparents did and my parents following them,” he says. “But we decided there is nowhere else we wanted to be.”
Although only in the second year of operation, business is thriving. Loveland, an economics and business graduate, attributes that to his academic background and 40-year career in a service industry. He retired from store, district, and regional management for Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the Philadelphia area.
“Carol and I have been in the service business for all of our careers,” says Loveland. Guests at Butternut Lane are treated like extended family, and he says that makes all the difference.
Major renovations were needed to make the home habitable year round. “There was no heat. We needed all new plumbing, and the electrical wiring needed to be redone,” says Loveland.
In addition, the couple gutted and installed modern conveniences in the kitchenette, which was attached to the historic farmhouse around 1861. They restored the plaster walls and ceilings and original pine floors.
The inn features three guest rooms as well a library and parlor. Around a “generous” dining table, guests enjoy a two-course gourmet breakfast, which Carol adapts to individual tastes.