The Fountain Inn: Ridgefield couple propose bed and breakfast on Main Street
A Main Street couple has proposed turning their historic eight-bedroom home that sits across from Cass Gilbert’s fountain into a four-suite bed and breakfast that would serve out-of-town guests.
The Fountain Inn, which would be located at 114 Main Street, needs a special permit approval from the Ridgefield’s Planning and Zoning Commission before moving forward. The commission received the project’s special permit application Tuesday night and scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, Nov. 26.
“We recognize that Ridgefield is in need of accommodations for out-of-town guests, and we believe our historic home at the intersection of Route 35 and Main Street will be a valuable asset to the town,” wrote homeowners Douglas and Laurice Haynes in the application.
If approved, the Hayneses would convey the property to Baciklee Jane LLC, a limited liability company that the couple has formed for the project.
“If approved, we have no current plans to change ownership,” the couple wrote.
There are no exterior changes proposed for the residentially-zoned home, which sits within Ridgefield’s Historic District.
“No changes need to be, or will be, made to the exterior. There is ample parking for guests shown on the drawings. The front door of our home will be used for guest entrance and will be accessible through a keypad lock,” the Hayneses wrote in their property narrative.
In addition, no interior modifications would be required.
“No interior changes will be made that would preclude our home functioning as a family home/residence in the future,” the Hayneses’ application states.
‘A stone’s throw’
The one-acre property, located at the intersection of Main Street and West Lane, is right next door to the historic Keeler Tavern — “itself a place of public accommodation in Colonial times, and now a museum,” wrote attorney Bob Jewell in the application’s cover letter.
The house, built in 1740, also sits “a stone’s throw from Bernard’s, a well-known gourmet restaurant, and Ridgefield’s only remaining inn, the West Lane Inn, both local landmarks in their own right,” Jewell wrote.
“Our proximity will enable our guests to walk downtown and enjoy local shops, entertainment, and restaurants,” the Hayneses added in their property narrative. “In addition, we are ideally located to provide lodging to prospective performers at the Playhouse, ACT and to patrons of the Keeler Tavern and Community Center for weddings and other special events.”
There is a carriage barn located on the property that will not be part of the bed and breakfast, the Hayneses said.
The couple has lived in Ridgefield since 1998.
“Over the course of the first 15 years, we carefully restored our antique home to period detail while raising our five children,” the couple wrote.
They added that the home was included in the 300th anniversary Town of Ridgefield Historic Homes Tour. The original lot dates back to 1708.
“We have hosted concerts for FCC’s Fountain Music Series and recitals for a variety of musicians. We created a memorable Halloween trick-or-treating location for over a decade,” the Hayneses wrote. “With our children now grown, we want to share our fully restored home with Ridgefield visitors. In addition to ample guest rooms, we have several apple trees to provide apple picking and lovely flower gardens throughout the property — an elegant backdrop for romantic weekends, wedding parties, or tourists.”
According to the project narrative on file at the Planning and Zoning Department, check-in at The Fountain Inn would be at 3 p.m. with check-out set for 11 a.m. the following day. The business would be open seven days a week, and would not permit long-term stays or pets.
The Hayneses would provide daily housekeeping service. Each suite would be stocked with toiletries, hairdryers, and high-quality linens. In addition, rooms would come equipped with a Keurig machine for coffee and tea and a mini refrigerator for non alcoholic beverages.
“We plan to offer breakfast and afternoon coffee/tea and snack (all locally prepared) in accordance to Health Department regulations,” the couple said. “ ... There will be no provisions for food services or heating of any kind in the guest suites.”
For safety, all suites would also be equipped with a keypad lock in order to secure guests’ space.
“Each suite will have designated code upon arrival,” the application states. “Codes will be changed for each guest stay.”
Special room packages would include the option of beer, wine or champagne but “we will not serve alcoholic beverages,” the Hayneses wrote.
“With the exception of the kitchen, the entire house will be available/accessible for guest use,” the couple added.
The Fountain Inn would create internships to college students studying hospitality services and to local high school interns, the Hayneses wrote.
“The interns would operate as staff while gaining valuable experience.”
The Hayneses plan to convert one of the rooms in the lower level of the house into a massage room where they would offer the opportunity for a licensed masseuse to come and provide massages to the inn’s guests.
The house also boasts multiple sitting rooms for relaxation, the application states. Also available is a dining room, a living room, a library and a back patio that would be kept open when it is seasonably appropriate.
The couple also plans to keep patrons “apprised of any local events taking place in Ridgefield and the surrounding area” while providing guests with a listing of local restaurants and their respective menus.
“We are excited about the possibility of opening our home to local visitors,” the Hayneses wrote. “The Fountain Inn will be a valuable asset to our community and local businesses.”