By Becky Aspell
A few months back I was scrolling around on Facebook when I came across a post by the Rumney Climbers Association promoting a new inn and hostel that would be opening up in Rumney. How exiting! The Little House Inn and Hostel is located right in the town common about 3/5ths of a mile away from the Rumney crags. Despite what the name may suggest, this charming early 20th century farm house is anything but little. The new owners Peter and Shana Jackson first fell in love with the house several years ago and are now working to renovate the property. The couple post regular updates to their Facebook documenting the progress of the renovation. It’s exciting to follow along with their hard work. The before and after photos document the beginning of a new chapter for this old farm house.
When I initially started the planning process for our Community Bouldering Competition, partnering with The Little House Inn and Hostel immediately came to mind. I reached out to Pete and Shana and they were more than thrilled to jump on board with our event. Pete and Shana have made a very generous contribution of prizes to our competition.
The inn and the project surrounding it is clearly one that is driven by passion and because of that I have always been interested in the back story. I knew from the beginning that there would be a story to tell and I am excited to have the opportunity to share it. Shana was kind enough to answer some questions for me and give us a better idea of who they are and what the inn is all about.
Could you tell me a little bit about yourselves?
My husband and I are both originally from Baltimore, Maryland. I’m a veterinarian, and Pete is a software engineer. We live in Rumney with our 3 dogs, 5 cats, and flock of chickens & ducks. We’re both outdoor enthusiasts and climbers. Additionally, Pete serves as a board member for the RCA (Rumney Climbers Association).
What sparked your interest in opening and operating the inn?
Becoming inn owners sort of happened by accident. This house was most recently owned by the Hunter School. The school closed this summer, and the property went to auction. Our lives changed with just the raise of a hand!
We are very vested in helping to ensure the sustainability of our local crag and our town. Rumney is a “young” crag with easy accessibility. The popularity of this crag has grown exponentially in a very short period of time. Just like in all other areas of the world, this creates concerns about over usage and long term sustainability, accessibility, and safety. We’ve been really fortunate to have active organizations like the RCA, Access Fund, AMC, and WMNF working to maintain access, update anchors and bolts, and to do trail maintenance. If you aren’t a member of the RCA, you should be! You can do a dual membership through the Access Fund. We offer special deals to RCA members at the Inn!
How did you end up in Rumney?
I was living in Haverhill, NH, and after a 10 year hiatus from climbing, had just started climbing again. When Pete and I were looking for the house that would become our home, we knew we wanted to be as close to the crag as possible.
How did you find the house?
We originally looked at the house 5 years ago when we moved to Rumney. We fell in love with it, but it was way too much house for just the two of us. Come visit and you’ll see. It really isn’t a “little” house!
Could you tell us some history about the house?
The house was built in 1903 by Haven Little (hence the name of the inn). He grew up in Rumney on Stinson Lake, and was a successful chicken farmer. The Whitcomb’s owned the house next. They did many of the renovations that spoil us today, such as adding the sauna, back patio and fireplace, and the enormous spa like bathrooms. The property was sold to the Hunter School with the plan to use it as a boarding house for their female students.
What has the restoration process been like?
The property hadn’t seen any love in at least 10-15 years, and it really showed. We’ve had to do work on the outside, and in every room on the inside. It’s been a labor of love, and will continue to be so for a while!
What amenities can guests look forward to?
We offer private and bunk style accommodations. We have 6 private rooms, including one with a king bed. Linens and towels are included with each room. We plan to have one room be offered as a suite, with a bedroom and separate sitting area. Once renovations are completed, this will be our dog friendly room since it has a bit more space.
There is ample communal space for all to enjoy both inside and outside. The inn has 3.5 baths with two jetted jacuzzi tubs and a sauna. There are 2 living rooms and a game room inside. The game room has a foos ball table, a dart board, space to relax by the fire, and eventually will have a pool table. There is a full cooking kitchen and dining room stocked with dishes, and cookware. We do not provide breakfast, but keep the kitchen stocked with coffee, milk, sugar, bread, butter, and eggs (as long as our hens are cooperating). There are 2 porches (that have become our favorite place to spend a few hours), and an outdoor patio with a gas grill and fireplace. We also have free wifi for guests, and kayaks, a canoe or SUP board that guests can rent. We plan to offer bikes for rent, and will be opening a gift/climbing gear shop on the property in the spring of 2016.
How can we find you online? How can we book with you?
We are listed on Airbnb, have a page on Facebook (the Little House Inn and Hostel), and have a web page. Our web address is http//:www.thelittle.house. We are working on our page, so for now this bumps you to our facebook page. You can go directly from there to the site on Airbnb to book your reservation. You can also call us to book a reservation or for more information at 603.795.0470.
What local attractions,businesses, restaurants, etc would you recommend to those visiting the area?
One of our favorite restaurants is right across the common, the Common Cafe & Tavern. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and make an amazing pizza! Just down the road is the Rumney Rocks Bistro. They offer a varied menu, and often have live music. Just a few miles east of us is the town of Plymouth. You’ll always get a great meal at Foster’s in the Common Man or at the Six Burner Bistro. The Flying Monkey is also in Plymouth. This venue hosts musicians and comedians from all over the country, and is a great way to spend an evening.
If you are here in the winter, our local ski resort will be re-opening this winter. Tenney Mtn was a favorite among locals until it closed nearly a decade ago. The mountain will have a partial re-opening this year, and plan to be 100% open for the 2016-2017 season.
Stinson Mtn lake is just a few miles north up on Main Street. It’s a really beautiful lake with a public boat launch. Perfect way to end a hot summer day.
There is a ton of hiking in the area. Many of the climbers who come here don’t know that there is a hiking (and a biking) trail that goes to the top of Rattlesnake Mtn. It’s a short hike, but a worthy one that rewards the hiker with an amazing view of Rumney. Rumney isn’t far from many of the state’s 4000 footers. The list of trails is endless.
Do you have a favorite crag and or route at Rumney?
There are so many fantastic routes at Rumney. There’s really something for everyone and every ability. Hmm…a few favorites…we really love Rise and Shine
(5.7 at Parking Lot), Egg McMeadows (5.9+ or 10a at Parking Lot), Curly for President (5.8 at Parking Lot), Armed and Dangerous, Metamorphosis, Sesame Street, and Men in White Suits (5.8-10.c at Main Cliff), Black Mamba (11.b at Orange Crush), Clear and Present Danger (5.8 at New Wave), Waimea (10.a at Waimea), Lonesome Dove (10.a at Jimmy Cliff), and Hammonds Organ (10.d at Jimmy Cliff). And while you are up at Jimmy Cliff you can’t miss Clipadee doo dah or Lady and the Tramp (5.3/5.4). These routes are right next to each other, are both 2 pitches of beautiful slab, and give you an amazing view of the area.
What else should we know?
If you know where to go (and know how to dress) you can climb nearly all year long and in any weather at Rumney. Some of the best sends happen on some of the coldest sunny winter days or on a wet spring day. Rumney also has some amazing ice climbing!
Needless to say, I am now excited for my next trip to Rumney. I am looking forward to meeting Shana and Pete. I’m looking forward to befriending their pets! I am looking forward to the time I will be spending at the inn and enjoying all of their hard work. Rumney is a special place for a lot of us. I am excited to see how the inn will bring the climbing community together. Lastly, I am excited for new memories that will be made bonding over similar passions.
Our Community Bouldering Competition is now 48 hours away. The competition is an 18+ bouldering competition designed for climbers of all skill levels with categories for beginner, intermediate, and advanced competitors. Prizes will be awarded to male and female competitors. Early registration is available on our website.