From the start.

Twenty-nine years ago we bought this gigantic house, and moved our boxes of college-kid belongings into the living room.  Susan instructed me to begin the repairs with the pantry.  This was good, because I had no idea where to start, and the pantry is our smallest space.  From there, we moved on to the bedrooms that would become the inn’s guest rooms.  These were just rooms on the second floor, with one hallway bathroom.  The first was one of the original bedrooms, chestnut beams across the ceiling, wide, painted boards for the floor.  We did the best we knew how to, and when it looked like a room again, we went up to the university, advertising for a grad student needing a place to live.  With that in the works, we moved on to the next bedroom and started again.  In the end, we had five young students with us, five bedrooms completed and the new bathrooms installed.  One of those original “guests” has stopped in from time-to-time over the years, which we have appreciated more than he will ever know, and one of the young ladies gave her mom and dad a gift certificate to stay here last year.  This is, remember, twenty-nine years later.  Last weekend, one of the guys we hadn’t heard from since he graduated came with his family to stay at the inn.  His son is attending UConn and they were here to re-acquaint themselves with the area, do some orientation up at the school, and see what had become of the Tolland Inn after all this time!  Having seen our progress on an instant-to-instant basis, I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk in here now with only that earliest image in mind, but our friend seemed quite thrilled to be back and we were quite touched to see him, his wonderful family and his reaction to seeing what we’ve done.