From the moment you arrive, it feels as if you have stepped backwards into 18th Century New England. Our colonial era Tavern catered to the Vermont Green Mountain Boys and the politically influential folk before, during, and after Vermont became a state. The Tavern was where the elite met to drink, eat and sleep. The atmosphere at Ye Olde Tavern is one of simple elegance as befitting statesmen and the gentry who often dined and socialized here.
Ye Olde Tavern was built in 1790 by Dorset Master Builder Aaron Sheldon. Called the Stagecoach Inn, it was built while Vermont was still an independent republic whose statehood was opposed by the hated 'Yorkers' until c.1791. The building is distinguished by the spring floor in its 3rd floor ballroom and the high square columns of its porch.
About 1850 while it was known as Lockwood’s Hotel, the marble porch was added. In 1860, Steven Thayer purchased the hotel and renamed it Thayer’s Hotel. That name would remain for fifty years. The first telephone line in Manchester was installed at the Hotel. The Hotel was connected to railroad station and the South Dorset Marble Quarry. In 1896,, Julia Thayer became a charter member of the newly formed Ormsby Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Chapter was named for the sister of Revolutionary War hero Gideon Ormsby.
In 1902 as the Fairview Hotel, it became headquarters for the movement to license the sale of 'spirituous beverages'. Two years later the license was revoked and the Hotel closed. After installation of electricity in 1924 and renovations in 1934, Walter Clemons-McGuire reopened the building as a hotel and antique shop. To this day, many of the curios, framed materials and some furniture of Mr. McGuire’s are found throughout the building.
In 1975 careful and extensive restoration by Peter & Susan Palmer allowed the Tavern to reopen in time for the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial. At that time, the name was changed to Ye Olde Tavern and the building was listed on the Vermont Register of Historic Places. Within the walls of this c.1790 building, wall stenciling recreates patterns typical of Moses Eaton. His work repeats the pineapple motif, a colonial symbol of hospitality.
In 2001 we became the proprietors Ye Olde Tavern. We hope you will visit us and enjoy the delightfully uneven floors, slanting doorways, antique furnishings and classical music, all accompanied by fine food & drink and hospitality reminiscent of a bygone era. We honor the past by preserving the Tavern and look forward to the future by maintaining high standards and promise to keep pace with our ever changing world. In 2012 our efforts were rewarded when the State of Vermont, recognized our historic tavern as a 'Green Business'.
We look forward to having you dine with us!
Minna & Michael Brandt, Your Hosts
Renée LaBelle, General Manager
Clifton Cooper, Head Chef