Bennett’s 1815 House is an historic country inn. Originally built by Able Amsden, a local entrepreneur who owned a saw mill and brick kiln, as a stage stop and tavern. It did not become a house until the mid-20th century, as Able built his own home across the road. Since it was not built as a house, not as much attention was paid to inclusion of fancy moldings and finishes, but left over lots of lumber was used in it’s construction, giving it a unique rustic aura…the hardwood floors are mostly maple, but some oak, in different widths can be found; some of the walls and ceiling are rough hewn planks and others are wainscoting…and the rooms are larger and more open-plan than was common in houses of the day. That day, by the way, was in 1806. The 1815 moniker did not appear until some years after it’s construction when Abel offered the unfinished upstairs to the local Masons to use as a lodge for their meetings. They painted 1815 and a Masonic symbol on the exterior and the name stuck.
Sometime in the 1870’s the building was sold to a relative, Bud Hawkins, who established a very successful seed packing business on the premises. Many town residents were employed by Bud to package the seeds which were widely sold across New England. As the business grew, Bud expanded by constructing four clapboard additions onto the original brick building, one of which remains and was the site of Peter & Karen Bennett’s localvore Seedhouse Café. The other buildings were moved to other locations in the nearby community. One of these can be seen housing Mill Brook Antiques, just about 1-1/2 miles north on Route 106. You can still find members of the community that remember packing or selling Hawkins seeds.
The business was sold to the Hart seed company and the property finally became a private home to a couple of sisters related to the Hawkins’, somewhere around 1960. Peter purchased it in 1987 and upgraded the remaining Seedhouse, build the deck and commercial kitchen and opened his restaurant. After Karen and Peter married in 2008, they reestablished the restaurant as a superior purveyor of local farm produce and opened the Bed and Breakfast, bringing the property full circle back to it’s position as a preeminent eatery in the community.
Karen and Peter have since moved on with their lives and offer the whole house now to you as a welcoming and comfortable vacation home.