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Windsor inn centerpiece of new tour - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Windsor inn centerpiece of new tour

Windsor, Vermont - May 16, 2011

The owners of an historic inn in Windsor are in the process of giving it a facelift, and at the same time raising cash for local charities.

Windsor is the birthplace of Vermont. Walking downtown -- you're surrounded by the past.

History yes, but Robert Dean says in the present, businesses are struggling. "We decided why don't we put the welcome center for the show house downtown, exposing all the other wonderful merchants and restaurants," he said.

Dean is the co-chair for a new project called the New England Living Show House. It's a home and garden tour that starts downtown, so people get a taste of the area and businesses get a boost. "We're believing we'll have over 30-thousand people visit the show time offices and therefore the entire community," Dean said.

But the big show is just up the hill, a mile away. The main attraction is the Juniper Hill Inn, built in 1901 and sitting on the highest point in Windsor. It's catered to many famous people, including artists actors and even presidents.

"It's really one of the only gilded age mansions in Vermont." Dean said.

The Inn is currently being renovated and re-decorated by designers from all over the U.S. Each one has a certain part of the house they're assigned to.

Eleanor Shepard has an interior design business in Quechee and is one of 12 designers donating their time. "My focus for my room is that everything is local," she said.

Each room has a different feel. Some have a Presidential flair, including one where Calvin Coolidge and Teddy Roosevelt stayed. Others take a modern approach.

"It was combo of show house and living show house and thinking of the people that are actually going to be staying here," Shepard said.

When it's completed, people will pay 25-dollars for a tour. There will also be cooking classes and other events to draw people to the Inn.

"It's not just about completing the interior design, but how to enjoy that," Dean said.

While the Inn gets a facelift, local charities will also benefit from ticket sales and donations and Robert Dean has an ambitious fundraising goal of one million dollars.

Raising money and polishing up a part of the town, so this place full of history can shine.

Gina Bullard - WCAX News

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