GOSHEN — The Mary Stuart House Bed & Breakfast in Goshen is the iconic image of an historic New England country inn. The 1798 Colonial home has been in Mary Orlando’s family for more than 65 years, and she and her six siblings have happy memories of growing up there on its 35 acres, with fields and orchards that wend their way down to a bubbling brook. There also is a large dairy barn and other farm buildings.
Orlando raised her own family in Long Island, but when she learned the former family home was for sale, she decided to buy it to keep it in the family. Ultimately, she extensively remodeled the house and turned it into a bed and breakfast. There are seven bedrooms with antique features such as a hand-painted chifforobe, a cozy breakfast nook with an impressive carousel dragon in the window, and a comfortable Great Room for relaxation and meeting new friends.
Orlando has been welcoming travelers and vacationers into her home for 22 years. The bed and breakfast, open year-round, is especially enticing in warmer months when its manicured lawns and flower and vegetable gardens make for a relaxing getaway.
There is no television in the shared Great room, just a chess board and plenty of books on the shelves. “They all have their own devices to look at; no one seems to miss having a television,” she said.
The dairy barn has become a popular event venue, with rustic floor boards and beams intact. There is a pool table that can be covered to use for a buffet, a refrigerator and stove for catering, and a restroom.
“We have rented this barn for many weddings, anniversaries and family reunions,” she said. “Folding tables and chairs can be pushed to the walls to allow for a dance floor.”
In a case of serendipity, Elizabeth Eriksen of Litchfield is a longtime friend of Mary Orlando since she first began renting the red barn for family reunions. Eriksen has owned Kitchenworks & Gourmet Gifts on the Litchfield green for 13 years and became interested in her friend’s bed & breakfast. After investigation, she decided to delve into Airbnb, since there was a lot of interest for visitors to rent an entire furnished house for weeks or a month at a time. When the website was launched in 2008, the company’s first name was AirBed & Breakfast. In 2009 it was changed to airbnb.
As a business woman, this venture was a perfect match for Eriksen. She said she could enjoy the experience of meeting people from around the globe, then hand them the key. No breakfast was required. She now manages several Airbnb’s in greater Litchfield, fully furnished with modern design and amenities, and is interested to add new homes to the list. She can be contacted at 860-921-8226.