Inn at Glencairn Offers Visitors A Home Away From Home
A new inn has come to town.
Described by its owner as "the perfect blend of old and new," the Inn at Glencairn, originally built in 1736, is located on the outskirts of Princeton, on Route 206 South.
"I think there's a real need for an upscale bed and breakfast in the area," said Janet Cochoff Pressel, who had originally purchased the home with her husband, Michael, when they decided to move to a suburb within commuting distance of New York City.
"This was the fourth house we saw. We fell in love with it," said Ms. Pressel, adding that the moldings, details, and hardwood floors of the Georgian manor house drew her to it.
After purchasing the home in 1999, Ms. Pressel continued in her job as a stock analyst for a few years before she became pregnant with her daughter, Edie, now one-and-a-half years old. Convinced it was time to leave the fast-paced city life and find something that would give her more time with her family. Two years ago Ms. Pressel decided to turn her home into a bed and breakfast.
She moved out, began renovations, and opened the Inn at Glencairn over this Memorial Day weekend.
The entire house has been renovated and redecorated by Ms. Pressel, who now lives in Pennington. She purchased the antique furniture that can be found in the bedrooms, dining, and living room areas at various markets and antique shows around the country, particularly in New England.
All of the rooms have bathrooms attached, decorated in their own style with new tiles, fixtures, and linens. White terrycloth robes hang from the door for the guest's convenience, and hairdryers can be found by each bathroom sink.
All of the beds and mattresses are new, with feather bedspreads and Egyptian cotton sheets. Antique dressers and armoires give the rooms a more traditional, at-home feel. One bathroom has the original wash basin, since Ms. Pressel felt that removing it would take away one of the home's valuable treasures.
While the inn has the feel of a bed and breakfast in the country, the owner has provided wireless Internet use throughout the facility. Each room is also hard wired for dial-up access.
Additionally, the heating and air conditioning systems are entirely new, and flat screen TV's are hung in viewing distance from beds in each room.
"I wanted a family, cozy atmosphere, with all the amenities of the Ritz Carlton," said Ms. Pressel. Along with four regular rooms, the inn has one two-bedroom suite with a separate entrance from the rest of the facility.
"This room is great for a couple with kids," said Ms. Pressel.
Rooms are priced at $195 per night, with the suite priced at $235.
Adding the Right Touch
Mornings at the Inn at Glencairn begin with guests coming down to the kitchen to enjoy a home-cooked meal by Bob Riggs, the innkeeper.
Mr. Riggs, who has an apartment on the third floor, has made the process of opening the inn much easier, said Ms. Pressel.
"We looked far and wide for an innkeeper," she said, adding that she and her husband sifted through more than 200 resumes before selecting someone.
Mr. Riggs came to Princeton from Oregon, where he had taken some time off from innkeeping to write a book, Innsights, an Innsitter's Tale, published in 2004.
For many years Mr. Riggs ran "The Country Innsitter," a contracting business through which he operated bed and breakfasts around the country while the owners were away. He and Ms. Pressel found each other through the search site, www.bbonline.com.
"He just seemed to have a great amount of experience. And his breakfasts are amazing," said Ms. Pressel, mentioning stuffed french toast, oven-raised pancakes, and Eggs Benedict as just a few of the many plates he can prepare. Every morning guests are given a hot platter, along with fruit and some type of bread, which can vary from croissants to muffins.
Along with his culinary skills, Mr. Riggs is also a fine arts photographer, and some of his works are hanging throughout the inn, along with works by Manhattan artist Allen Barber, and Janet Hautau, a nearby resident on Cold Soil Road.
The site's extensive history began in 1697 with the Opdykes, a Dutch family from New York. It is believed that Glencairn, which is the original name of the home, was confiscated for British headquarters in 1776, and may even have served as a Hessian hospital for a brief period during the Revolutionary War.
After being converted into three apartments in the 1940s and then remaining vacant for several years, the home has been privately owned for the past 20 years.
Of the experience of opening the inn, Ms. Pressel said: "It's been a lot of fun and we've met a lot of interesting people."
She said her guests have included parents visiting the area to look at the Lawrenceville School for their children, as well as business people working at or visiting Bristol Myers Squibb, which is less than a mile from the inn's location.
"Business people seem to like the variety, the change of scene from a regular hotel chain," said Ms. Pressel, mentioning that while there are several large hotels on Route One, the atmosphere of her inn appears to attract those who are looking for the chance to get away from it all.
"She's a natural for hospitality," said Mr. Riggs, adding that he has been very impressed by the former New Yorker's transformation of her own house into a welcoming home for the visitors of Princeton.