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Award-Winning Beer at the Quaint and Quirky Norwich Inn

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

The Norwich Inn was established in 1797, although the Inn has been housed in the current 1890 Victorian home known as the Main Inn after an 1887 fire. Vermont hospitality and friendliness are all in full view and part of what makes staying here so charming.

The Norwich Inn is unusual in that it encompasses its own award-winning brewery: the Jasper Murdock Alehouse. Named after the original owner of the Inn, the pub and eatery features the Inn's own Jasper Murdock brews in bottle or on tap. Beers are made inhouse by Brewmaster Jeremy Hebert in one of the smallest microbreweries in the country. Prefer the grape over the grain? The alehouse also offers over 200 varieties of wine from 17 countries, as stored in the 2,000-bottle Wine Cellar.

How has The Norwich Inn persevered for over 200 years? A big part of it is location. Situated just across the water from the esteemed Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, the Ivy Leaguers, families and visitors often stay here while attending the college's various events. "The Upper Valley has many other attractions," says owner Joe Lavin, "and visitor generators such as King Arthur Flour, Montshire Museum, the Connecticut River, Appalachian Trail and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center."

People stay in Norwich for the gorgeous Green Mountains, as well as for farm-fresh food, cheese, and maple syrup. Nature rules here. Lavin tells us, "We love canoeing on the Connecticut River, hiking the many trails and walking the circumference of the spectacular Lake More in nearby Fairlee."

Then, there are the 17 quaint and quirky rooms, each of which is decorated with period antiques and old-time Vermont country furnishings. Bed and room sizes differ to accommodate a range of needs and budgets. Amenities include television, private bath, air conditioning and high-speed wireless Internet.

Recently, two older buildings on the Norwich Inn grounds were replaced with modern structures that retain some of the character of the historic Main Inn, yet have more up-to-date conveniences that include warming and relaxing gas fireplaces. The Walker House has 18 rooms of differing bed sizes. Ivy Lodge has four rooms with king-size beds - and two of them even accept pets, so your furry friends can come along!

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