The sitcom Newhart ran on CBS from 1982-1990, fueling my fantasies of moving to Vermont and running a Bed & Breakfast someday while writing books in my spare time, just like Dick Loudon (Newhart) did.
In fact, when I was on vacation in Vermont back in the ’90s, I was determined to track down the real inn that the Stratford was based on. It’s called the Waybury Inn, in Middlebury. Here’s the photo I snapped of it from the car window:
The inn had been repainted tan with green shutters by the time I saw it, and I was disappointed that it didn’t look the same, but it was still a thrill to see the real thing. The Waybury has been a fixture of Middlebury for over 200 years, having begun as a boarding house and tavern serving stagecoach passengers at the gap in the Green Mountains.
In the pilot episode of the sitcom, Dick and Joanna Loudon walk into the empty inn with a real estate agent and decide to buy it on the spot.
In the beginning, the show was videotaped, so the picture quality of those episodes isn’t great. They switched to film later in its run.
Tom Poston played handyman George Utley. In real life, Poston was married to Suzanne Pleshette, Newhart’s wife in “The Bob Newhart Show.”
The Front Desk:
Dick’s Office, where he writes his how-to books:
He later became the host of a TV show called “Vermont Today,” and Peter Scolari played his yuppie producer. Julia Duffy was cast as the new maid, and Peter Scolari was her love interest.
The Dining Room:
2013 UPDATE: I hadn’t found the episodes that showed the kitchen when I first posted this but a reader named Brett steered me to episode #8, “Some Are Born Writers.” I took some screenshots of it, and you can watch the episode yourself to see more of it here.
Gotta love the big fireplace in the middle of the kitchen and the butcher block island…
This is a terrible picture of Mary Frann, who played Dick’s wife Joanna, but it provided a rare glimpse of that wall behind her:
Joanna had fallen through the ice in the pond, so they lead her upstairs to her room:
The Loudon’s (Very Blue) Bedroom:
In the famous series finale, Dick wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, his wife from The Bob Newhart Show, and realizes it was all a dream: “Nothing made sense in this place. The maid was an heiress. Her husband talked in alliterations. The handymen kept missing the point of things. Then there were these three woodsmen, but only one of them talked!”
The Inn at Night:
Here’s how the Waybury Inn looks today:
You can learn more about the Waybury Inn’s history and see the rooms they have available (with names like “The Robert Frost Suite”) on their website. There are all kinds of interesting facts, like how the local paper mentioned that it had “an attached bowling alley” back in 1866!