Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An Eighteenth-Century Inn

I recently had the pleasure of staying in a remarkable B&B, Lunenburg's Lennox Tavern. The building dates from 1791 and stands at the corner of Fox and Cornwallis Streets, not far from the impressive Lunenburg Academy. Lovingly restored by owner Robert Cram, the simple yet imposing Georgian structure dominates its setting. Robert has undertaken the inn's restoration himself, and was pleased to point out some of its many unique features. He
bought the place in its bicentennial year, 1991, after it had spent many years as a rundown apartment building. Its restoration has been a labour of love for Cram; remarkably, much of the original plaster, woodwork and doors and windows remained. These were supplemented with items bought at yard sales and antique shops and salvaged from derelict houses.

Cram visited historic homes and museums, and pored over architecture books and magazine articles on historic restoration. He discovered coins beneath the floorboards, and one dated "1791" embedded in the upper course of masonry in the fieldstone cellar, in keeping with German tradition of dating a house. He outlines the steps in the renovation here.

Today's guests have the opportunity to choose from four comfortable guest rooms furnished with antiques; two have ensuite bathrooms while the others share bathroom facilities. A hearty and varied hot breakfast is served in
the old Tavern's taproom, with its stenciled floors, based on the original design, traditional "dresser" style cupboard with an array of china platters, and its handsome fireplace. Stenciled chairbacks add interest to the seating in this room that's filled with natural light. Lennox Tavern is located on a quiet side street, away from the bustling scenes of Lunenburg's waterfront tourism district but within easy walking distance of downtown's historic streetscapes. It makes for an interesting and comfortable departure from mainstream hotel accommodation, and Robert Cram's passion for this long-term restoration project makes him a fascinating host.