Birth of a Vermont Country Inn:

Pete and Ruth’s dream, the October Country Inn.

Ruth and Pete in front of the newly created October Country Inn.

Ruth and Pete Hall ready to hang the October Country Inn sign.

An 1860 era map of the hamlet of Bridgewater Corners shows the Charles and Elizabeth Wood farmhouse.  In 1972, Pete Hall bought the old Wood farmhouse, and dairy barn.  Pete began renovating the old farmhouse.  He had a plan.

Vermont inn-to-inn bicycle tours were popular.  Pete’s wife Ruth led these tours for a local company.  Ruth knew there was a need for local country inns to provide tour lodging.  Pete recognized the opportunity, and in 1975, the October Country Inn was born.  Lodging demand grew.  Consequently, Pete began expanding.  From a single upstirs bunk room and central bath, a room-by-room renovation began. The old farmhouse slowly changed into the Vermont country inn that has now been a home-away-from home for so many.

While Pete focused on construction, Ruth was in charge of hospitality.  She was an excellent cook, and the inn  was soon renown for her internationally-themed dinners, served family-style.  Besides hosting an inn full of guests, Pete, Ruth, and their two small children, also lived in the inn.  Not surprisingly, after 10 years, Pete began construction on the innkeeper’s residence and commercial kitchen.  This project was not quite finished when a local realtor approached them with an offer to buy the October Country Inn.

Richard & Patrick: The tradition continues.

Patrick Runkel and Richard Simms at the October Country Inn.

Patrick Runel in the kitchen. Richard Sims charming a prospective guest.

In 1987, Richard Simms and Patrick Runkel, from Madison, Wisconsin, were looking to buy a Vermont inn. 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 13 years to follow, Richard and Patrick continued to provide the level of hospitality and service that travelers to the Woodstock and Killington area 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 unexpectedly passed away.

It was a shock when Patrick called Edie in 2000 to tell of Richard’s passing.  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 from her first visit, she was smitten with Vermont.  She returned the following year.  She moved to Vermont for a year after that.  She had developed a close friendship with Richard and Patrick, always staying, and sometimes working, at the inn.  After hearing of Richards passing, she asked Partick what he was going to do.  Patick told her he wasn’t up to running the inn alone.  He was going to put it on the market.

Chuck and Edie: The beat goes on.

The family: Chuck, Jenny, and Edie at the October Country Inn, taking a break.

The family: Chuck, Jenny, and Edie taking a break.

When Chuck Janisse drove his 1955 Chevrolet school bus from Costa Rica back to California in 1976, he met Edie. They became friends, but were both married. Years later, in 1994, both now single, they started dating, and were married in 1996.  Edie introduced Chuck to Vermont, always staying at the October Country Inn when they visited.  Chuck shared Edie’s love of Vermont, but didn’t envision living there. He was a boat builder and commercial fisherman.

Nevertheless, with the news of Richard’s passing, and Patrick’s choice to sell the inn, Chuck suggested buying it.  It was a snap decision that Edie was fast to agree with.  As a result, in 2001, Chuck and Edie Janisse, along with Edie’s daughter Jenny, Jack the dog, and Katie the cat, moved to Vermont, bought the October Country Inn.  They embraced the task of upholding this Vermont Country Inn’s long standing family-friendly tradition, and renown for genuine hospitality, elegant lodging, and good food established by Ruth and Peter, and carried forward by Richard and Patrick. See innkeepers for more about Chuck and Edie.

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