After driving from New York for about nine hours, I arrived in Granville, a quaint village with fewer than 6,000 people smack in the middle of Ohio, right around 6 p.m. and checked in to the wonderful Granville Inn.
Built for guests of a golf club that was being constructed at the same time, Granville Inn opened in 1924, an event that attracted up to 5,000 people who enjoyed an outdoor buffet, indoor billiards, and orchestral music. After many decades of expansion, changes, unmanageable debts, and resales, Denison University, a beautiful campus just up the hill, purchased the inn in 2013. Following more than a year of historic renovation and restoration, the inn reopened in 2015.
Today, the Granville Inn today sports 39 guestrooms and suites. Located on the village’s main street, this Jacobethan Revival–style stone and half-timber structure looks like an English baronial manor. I approached the entrance from the broad lawn out front and took a peek at the terraces before walking under the graceful porte-cochère and entering the inn. A fire in the lobby fireplace was particularly welcome, as the temperature on this mid-October evening had dipped to an unseasonably chilly 37 degrees.
After checking in, I helped myself to a glass of fruit-infused water and climbed the graceful staircase with the huge window halfway up. I walked by the open business center with the coffee machine for everyone’s use and marched toward my quiet room at the end of the hall on the second floor. Decorated in whites and cool grays, my room was a peaceful oasis in an already peaceful village that suited me perfectly.
On the lower level, rooms for banquets, weddings, and meetings welcome large groups, and there’s a small library as well. A separate carriage house is the perfect venue for an elegant affair and opens to a courtyard kept private by a high stone wall. On the main level of the main building, The Tavern invites you to dinner in a wonderful setting. Four arched entrances open up to the dining room’s burnished metal chandeliers, red leather seats, fireplace, carved oak walls, friendly central bar, fleur-de-lis designs in the glass panels of the French doors, and a raised semicircular alcove with bow windows. Here, you can enjoy a dinner of, for example, lamb empanadas with cotija cheese and aji verde sauce for an appetizer, followed by lemon-ricotta ravioli with roasted cherry tomatoes, niçoise olives, oregano, basil, and parmesan.
The restaurant is open to the public for three daily meals. In seasonal weather, you can dine on the patio, with its flagstone floors and large shade trees. In inclement weather, you can receive your nourisment in The Tavern or in The Oak Room, with its fireplace and hand-dressed stone walls. No matter where you choose to eat, if you’re an overnight guest, you’ll receive a complimentary breakfast called “Big Red Breakfast,” in a nod toward Denison’s athletics teams: juice, tea or coffee, two eggs any style, sausage or crispy bacon, home fries, fresh fruit, and toast. And you can end your day at the bar, enjoying one of the inn’s signature cocktails, such as the Smoked Rosemary Manhattan, Pumpkintini, or Sunset in Granville.
The inn’s off-street parking makes it convenient to come and go at any time of day. If you’re exploring the village, however, the inn’s central location means you can leave the wheels behind and walk to all of Granville’s attractions, say, for instance, the hillside campus of Denison University, the Old Colony Burying Ground, the main intersection with a church on each of its four corners, and the Victoria Woodhull Clock, the only monument to the first American woman to run for president, way back in 1872. And when you’ve done all that, it welcomes you back with an indulgence of elegance and comfort.
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