The town of Bridgewater was chartered in 1761 under the reign of King George III. Bridgewater was first settled by Deacon Asa Jones in 1780 during the time Vermont was still an independent republic, and while the thirteen colonies were fighting the Revolutionary War. In 1791, Vermont became the fourteenth colony to join the newly established United States of America. The settlement of Bridgewater quickened after Deacon Jones cleared his north Bridgewater land. The first town meeting was held in 1785. By 1790, Bridgewater's population totaled 293. In 1860, dairy farmers Charles and Elizabeth Wood lived in the original farmhouse whose basic structure still forms the foundation of the October Country Inn. Lest we forget the past, we tip our hat to those in whose footsteps we follow.
Pete and Ruth Hall
In 1972, Pete Hall bought the old Adams' farmhouse, barn and shed on four acres of land. The farmhouse didn't have any plumbing or electricity. Water was drawn from the dug well near where the swimming pool is now, and a wood stove, that's still in the living room, was the only source of heat. Pete began renovating the old farmhouse, and soon married Ruth. Ruth sometimes worked as a tour leader for one of the fledgling bicycle touring companies that were forming about this time to showcase Vermont's stunning scenery and quiet country roads. These touring companies needed places to house tour guests, and Ruth talked Pete into converting the upstairs into a bunk-room. In the Spring of 1975, the October Country Inn was born.
As Vermont evolved into a vacation destination, the growing demand for lodging prompted Pete to expand beyond a single upstairs bunk-room and central bath. And so began a decades-long piece-by-piece process of renovating the old farmhouse into the basic framework of the Vermont inn you now see. As Pete focused on construction projects, Ruth took care of the guests. Ruth was renown for her cooking. It was Ruth that began serving family style internationally themed dinners. Pete and Ruth, along with their two children, lived in the inn, so it was truly a family style experience. When Pete's inn projects tapered off, after almost ten years of living, working, and raising their family under the same roof they shared with their many guests, Pete began construction on the innkeeper's residence and commercial kitchen. This project was not quite completed when a local realtor approached them with an offer to buy the October Country Inn.
Richard Simms & Patrick Runkel
In 1987, Richard Simms and Patrick Runkel, from Madison, Wisconsin, were looking to buy a Vermont inn. Richard had been a travel agent, and Patrick was an elementary school teacher. Neither had any previous innkeeping experience. After only one visit, they bought the October Country Inn. Richard became the face of the inn while Patrick took up a support role. The October Country Inn had developed a reputation for really good food, and Patrick rose to the challenge of upholding the reputation that Ruth Hall had built. Continuing in that tradition was a challenge that he met and exceeded. Through the years to follow, Richard and Patrick continued to provide the level of hospitality and service that travelers to the Woodstock and Killington region associate with the October Country Inn. Richard and Patrick had made many friends in the 13 years they owned and operated the October Country Inn. Sadly, in 2000, Richard passed away unexpectedly. A year later, after Patrick had sold the inn to Chuck and Edie Janisse, Patrick also unexpectedly passed.
Chuck and Edie Janisse
Edie Swain first visited Vermont, and the October Country Inn, in the fall of 1990 as part of a Bike Vermont inn-to-inn bicycle tour. She was born and raised in California, but her pre- Revolutionary War ancestry hailed from Vermont. From her first visit, Edie was smitten with Vermont. She returned the following year. She came back the year after that, and the year after that. She had developed a friendship with Richard and Patrick, always staying at the October Country Inn when she visited.
When Chuck Janisse drove his 1955 Chevrolet school bus back to California in 1976, after living in Costa Rica for four years, he met Edie for the first time. They hit it off, but were both married. Years later, in 1994, Edie returned to California after a year of living in Vermontto get a divorce, sell her house, and move back to Vermont for good. That was when Chuck, also divorced, reentered the picture. They got reacquainted, started dating, and Edie and Chuck were married in 1996. They visited Vermont together on several occasions, always staying at the October Country Inn, and Chuck shared Edie's love of Vermont, but he was a boat builder and commercial fisherman. What would he do in Vermont?
It was a shock when Patrick called in 2000 to tell Edie of Richard's passing. Edie asked what he was going to do and Patrick told her that he wasn't up to running the inn alone. He was going to put it on the market. In a sudden, out-of-the-blue reflexive act, Chuck, who at that moment was particularly sick of the crowded, bumper-to-bumper traffic, southern California lifestyle, suggested that they buy the inn and move to Vermont. Edie was fast to agree. In 2001, Chuck and Edie Janisse moved to Vermont, bought the October Country Inn, and became the third set of innkeepers tasked with upholding this Vermont Inn's long standing family-friendly tradition, and reputation for hospitality, elegant lodging, and good food that was established by Ruth and Peter, and carried forward by Richard and Patrick. See innkeepers for more about Chuck and Edie.