I frequently write about my obsession for history, architectural history, and historic preservation on Lucindervention as well as across my social media channels. It is an interest I developed while living across the pond in Europe while in elementary school, and although it took me twenty-three years and a category five hurricane to understand how the built environment informs community identity, it is an interest that has never wavered.
It should come as no surprise that I would prefer accommodations at a historic hotel, rather than that of new construction. In the words of one of my favorite Bravo Real Housewives, “some people think that bigger is better and flash is fantastic.” Ten times out of ten, I would take a historic hotel especially one with a story, to a new hotel. While I was in graduate school for my Master’s degree in Historic Preservation, a classmate and still-golden friend interned at the Historic Hotels of America. I will admit, I was envious of her internship even though I loved the survey and documentation I worked on at my own internship. Ever since then, the Historic Hotels of America have stayed on my radar.
Just over two months ago, the Historic Hotels of America released their nominees for the 2018 Awards of Excellent awards. The categories were as follows:
- Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel
- Sustainability Champion
- Best Small Historic Inn / Hotel (sub-75 guestrooms)
- Best Historic Hotel with subcategories of 76 to 200 guestrooms, 201 to 400 guestrooms, and over 401 guestrooms
- Best City Center Hotel
- Best Historic Resort
- Hotel Historian of the Year
- Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel
- Legendary Historic Family Hoteliers of the Year
- Historic Hotelier of the Year
- Steward of History and Historic Preservation
- Best Historic Hotels Worldwide with subcategory of Europe, Asia / Pacific, and Americas
- Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year
Within the last category, I immediately recognized Antrim 1844 as one of the finalists. I immediately knew that I wanted to visit and write about it.
Located in Taneytown, in Carroll County Maryland, Antrim 1844 is mere minutes away from Gettysburg Battlefield. The stay was a welcome respite from the frenetic routine of living in the city. From Philadelphia, it was a two-and-a-half hour drive. The hotel is even closer to both Baltimore and the District of Columbia, respectively a one hour and one-and-a-half hour drives. A two-night stay allowed me to reacquaint myself with fresh air and a slower pace that I had not experienced since my summers in Mississippi; my time there was like chicken noodle soup for my mental health as well.
It was during a leisurely afternoon spent in the Pickwick Pub that I met Dort Mollett, who along with her husband, is the property owner and operator. Their story of how they came to be inn proprietors is a fascinating one, although I have reservations about using the term “proprietors”; to me the tone does not convey the warmth of not only Dort, but of the entire staff. Conversely, the term “innkeeper” does not begin to describe the business acumen of the couple. An enterprise that began as flipping houses in the 1970s, grew to a full fledged hotel when the Molletts requested to see the most challenging property that their real estate agent could source. Upon walking into Antrim 1844 and viewing the near-decrepit condition, the real estate agent profusely apologized for wasting the couple’s time, but the Molletts knew that they had unearthed an architectural gem.
While I always fall in love with historic exteriors, one of my (formerly) biggest secrets is that I don’t have as much enthusiasm for historic interiors. This is for one of two reasons: either poorly thought out and permanent modernizations are executed or there is a lack of upkeep. The latter can be remediated which is what the Mollets pursued and accomplished. The biggest challenge of transforming the nascent property came with updating the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, but Richard had a vision for how to run the systems in order to provide modern comforts to Antrim 1844 guests.
Dort and I got lost in conversation. Any given question would necessitate a backstory which she would share with such candor and we would come to a point where we would wonder how we reached a given topic and consequently have to retrace our conversation back to the original question. When I caught a look at my watch, I realized ninety minutes had past. Her enthusiasm and love for the hotel is contagious and I cannot wait to see how they commemorate the forthcoming 175th anniversary of Antrim 1844.
Sincerest thanks to Antrim 1844 for sponsoring my stay.