Lonely Planet Writer

America's oldest inn with a revolutionary past reopens after massive fire

Just call it Paul Revere’s version of the neighborhood hangout.

The Groton Inn after the rebuild. Image by The Groton Inn

Originally built in 1686, the Groton Inn has long been known as the oldest inn in America. Located in the picturesque suburb of Groton about 35 miles outside of Boston, the iconic locale served a vital role in American history. While it was tragically gutted by fire in 2011, the Groton Inn has made its highly-anticipated return with its grand re-opening this month. 

The Groton Inn as it was in its heyday. Image by The Groton Inn.

During the Revolutionary War, the Groton Inn’s tavern served as a meeting place for the Minutemen, the civilian militia of the colonies who were expected to be ready for battle at a minute’s notice. The St. Paul’s Masonic Lodge also used the Inn as their gathering place, with one iconic patron serving as their Grand Master: Paul Revere, a silversmith whose name instantly became identifiable with the revolution thanks to his midnight ride, when he raced on horseback to alert the colonists that the British were on their way, kicking off the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

The bedrooms have had a revamp. Image by The Groton Inn

This month, the Inn returned to its original glory, but with the luxurious modern updates that make it a highly desirable destination. “They didn’t rebuild the existing inn, it was more like a resurrection,” says interior designer Amanda Greaves, of Amanda Greaves & Company, LLC. “Through the art work in the corridors, guest rooms and meeting spaces they carried the history of the old inn into the new.” The 60-room boutique hotel fuses historically active New England architecture with the accommodations coveted by the modern day traveler. (Think wide-planked hand hewn walnut floors and guest registers from the 1800s displayed in rooms co-existing with contemporary vanity areas and ample Wi-Fi.) Furnished in “modern heritage” style, rooms overlook a landscape so bucolic you might expect to see a revolutionary or two stroll by.

The Inn is the oldest in America. Image by The Groton Inn

If you want to continue on to the sites where the Revolutionary War kicked off, there are several iconic locales within a short distance of the Inn. Head to neighboring Lexington to see the Battle Green, where the Colonial militia first confronted the British army, and then to Concord’s North Bridge, where the colonists fired back at the British troops.