“Newhart:” Checking Into the Stratford Inn

Newhart sitcom Stratford Inn

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:

Waybury Inn the Real Stratford Middlebury

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.

Stratford Inn-empty 1

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.

moving in

Tom Poston played handyman George Utley. In real life, Poston was married to Suzanne Pleshette, Newhart’s wife in “The Bob Newhart Show.”

Stratford Inn-fireplace

The Front Desk:

front desk

Dick’s Office, where he writes his how-to books:

Newhart TV show Bob's study

Dick's office

Newhart TV show Bob's study 4

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.

Dick's office 2

The Dining Room:

dining room 1

dining room 2

Newhart TV show dining room 3

Newhart TV show dining room

Newhart TV show dining room 2

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.

Newhart TV show kitchen 2

Newhart TV show kitchen 1

Gotta love the big fireplace in the middle of the kitchen and the butcher block island…

Newhart TV show kitchen 5

Newhart TV show kitchen 7

Newhart TV show kitchen 6

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:

plate rack on wall

Joanna had fallen through the ice in the pond, so they lead her upstairs to her room:

staircase at the inn

The Loudon’s (Very Blue) Bedroom:

Dick and Joanna's 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!”

Dick and Joanna's bedroom 2

The Inn at Night:

Stratford Inn at night

Here’s how the Waybury Inn looks today:

Waybury Inn today-sign

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!

closeup of front porch

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Comments

  1. Marie says

    I, too, loved that inn!
    I also remember that Dick’s wife, Joanna, always wore gorgeous sweaters.

    • hookedonhouses says

      That’s right! In that final scene of the show, I think the last thing Newhart says to Suzanne Pleshette is “You should wear more sweaters!” Ha.

    • ljb says

      I watched to see her sweaters every week. I remember she wore a Liz Claiborne like one of mine and boy I thought I was styling!!

  2. says

    I have always wandered where film makers shoot most of these episodes featuring grand entrances, and interiors. There have been many architectural gems such as this featured, not just on the Newhart show. It is good to see that a little bit of architectural history being preserved in film and video for us to enjoy later , again in a different time and place.

  3. says

    I loved (and still love) that show! I too had dreams of moving to Vermont and opening a B&B thanks to Newhart! Great look at the Inn. I’d love to stay at the real one, but would always be on the look out for Larry, Daryl and Daryl!

  4. Kim says

    What a nice and cozy inn. I love the interior and wish it looked like that in real life. I have often dreamed about running my own bed and breakfast, but then I think about how stressful it would be. That’s why I could never do it.

    I can’t wait for you to do “Mad About You”. If I had to buy an apartment, I would love to live in one that’s similar to the one on the show. I love how open and good sized it is. Also it’s not outdated to me.

  5. says

    The house as is famous with the sitcom. Houses that are used or featured by stars are usually gaining close attention to viewers and even buyers as well.

  6. DJ says

    LOVE IT! I was young when this was on, but I always loved the Inn & especially their bedroom, I always wanted floors like that.

    Off to check out your Gilmore Girls posts, that whole town was gorgeous.

  7. says

    That was a great show, Julia. Newhart’s brand of comedy was funny & inoffensive; probably wouldn’t be as successful in today’s TV market. After looking at those fabulous pictures of the Inn, I’m ready to book a room. It’s not that far from Montreal.

  8. laney says

    …oh i can just hear that theme music playing now…it seemed to fit the show so perfectly…you were not alone in your fantasies…i think there would have been a full house in our imaginary b and b’s…

  9. says

    Wow – this was great, Julia. I used to love this show! I don’t remember seeing the inn’s kitchen, but I always wished they would show it! I NEVER KNEW that Tom Poston was married to Suzanne Pleshette. I definitely remember that last episode when Bob woke up next to her — a great ending.

  10. nanne says

    thanks julia! i loved that show too….really enjoyed all of the interesting facts.

    nanne

  11. Jane says

    Newhart was rerun here recently so I got to watch almost all the episodes. What a nice family show for Sunday evening viewing. Anyway, there were a few scenes with the kitchen in a Thanksgiving episode. It had a wonderful vintage stove in it, but lots of dark paneling like in the dining room. I want that quilt that hangs on the wall opposite the check-in counter. Thanks for featuring this show!

  12. says

    Hello Julia,

    I was still a kid between 1992-1990…. still watching cartoons! :-) But I see this and it makes me very curious… it seems to be funny and the last quote makes me laugh.

    Have a blessed week, Julia!

    Oh, btw, if you have a minute, come drop by to see my interview with Paloma Contreras, of High Gloss Magazine. She’s a sweetheart! :-)

    Thanks, Julia.

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  13. says

    love, Love, LOVE this house and series. It was a “never miss” program and who can forget Daryl and Daryl. When we moved onto the Cutoff, we attended a city council meeting, and two men walked in, covered in soot, and my husband and I looked at each other, giggled, and whispered, Daryl and Daryl live here.

    I adore old inns and stay at them whenever we can, but, Vermont, ah, Vermont has the best inns. I’m sure my desire to stay at an inn in Vermont was sparked by this sitcom. I am also sure that the hankerin’ to going back to the Nutmeg Inn in Wilmington will be fueled by your wonderful blog today. Thank you.

  14. says

    Now I want to go to Vermont! 😉 I remember seeing snippets of the show growing up. I don’t think my parents watched it, but I know my grandparents did. Is this the one with the guy named Darrell, who would say. “This is my brother Darrell, and this is my other brother Darrell.” ??? That rings a bell somehow.

    While the decor looks dated, the bones of that Inn (on the show) are fantastic. I’d love to take a trip up there to stay. Looks like it would be a vacation well spent. :)

    I love sitcoms…this should be a great series. I loved Mad About You!

  15. says

    I always look forward to your Monday posts. You do all the leg work, and I get to enjoy the benefits of looking at the movie sets/houses. Thanks!

  16. says

    Ah Larry Daryl and Daryl…lol! My inlaws live about a half hour away from Middlebury, and my daughter goes to school up there, so I am very partial to this little town. I love the shops and miss the craft center Frog Hollow. Now, I feel the need to a road trip…but I will wait till after mud season. Thanks for this post Julia.

  17. says

    One of my all time favorite shows! I don’t know what held my interest more, the Inn or the actual series! Great cast of characters for sure.
    I do remember that I was obsessed with going to Vermont and buying sweaters!
    Oh how I wish theses types of programs were still popular.
    I can’t wait to see your blog on Mad About You. Another favorite causing me to obsess once again about moving to NY and having an apartment just like theirs!

  18. Claire says

    I was born in New England but moved away when I was young. This show always made me ache for home! When William Sanderson showed up on Deadwood my hubby and I used to always just hope he’d run into someone named Daryl!! Just to hear him say it again! (In high school both my sister and I were dating boys named Daryl and my dad got such a kick out of it !)

    VERY much looking forward to your Cougar Town post! I’ve rewatched the 1st season just so I could admire Jules’ living room / kitchen! I’d move into that house in a second!

  19. Judy says

    I’ve always loved this house! I watched You Again over the weekend and thought it would be great to see on here. It’s a beautiful home.

  20. ljb says

    Juila,
    That doesn’t look like Julia Duffy on the tape cover. Did someone else play her for awhile?

    • hookedonhouses says

      Julia Duffy didn’t come onto the show until later (the second season, maybe?). The pictures here are of the first maid they had, named Leslie.

  21. Julianne says

    Terrific house, great woodwork. I think I’ve only watched that show just a couple of times, but this post makes me want to go watch more.

    We watched Little Women yesterday (the Winona Ryder one) and I was reminded that the houses in that show are fabulous. There is quite a variety of shots, too, of the rooms and woodwork in the Concord House that the girls grow up in, plus some of Aunt Jo’s. Anyway…I vote a posting on that show sometime!

  22. Amber says

    I just scrolled through your list of tv shows houses and didn’t see Designing Women listed. I loved the 4 houses on that show, each perfectly decorated for the designer who lived there.

  23. says

    I used to love that show! This was a great trip down memory lane. I don’t remember that last episode though, must have missed it.

  24. says

    I just bought this c.d at Cracker Barrell, love it. I am so glad you did a post on the show and the Inn. I wanted to know more about the history and thank you for sharing it. I certainly am enjoying your blog.
    Betsy

  25. Allie says

    Loved this post! Ooooh…and can’t wait for the Cougar Town post. I’ve only seen the show a couple times, but the sets are awesome.

  26. says

    I forgot to mention that there was a picture of the kitchen. George kept flipping the switch to what he thought was the garbage disposal, he said he was hitting the light switch, he fixed it by swapping switches. The kitchen had this huge chopping block island , Joanna was making salad with Kirk or (Kurt) I keep messing up his name – anyway he was sitting there with her. The refrigerator looked antique.
    betsy

  27. Kim says

    An old boyfriend of mine went to Middlebury College & told me that the inn was the only bar in town so they went there all of the time!

  28. Nita says

    I loved this show and house at the time, the final episode being the best in TV. If I am not wrong, Suzanne Pleshette and Tom were married after he did this show. Sadly, Mary Frann unexpectedly died over ten years ago, I think. I just loved her on the soaps and on this show.

  29. Nita says

    Another story. When this show was on, I kept saying that the writers must have it all wrong with Larry, Daryl and Daryl because the east coast was waaaay too sophisticated to have those people there. Well, when I lived back east, I saw more gun racks in trucks than anywhere else I’d been, and my friend who moved to upstate NY joked to a teacher that when she looked out at the classrooms, she was seeing one gene, and the teacher remarked,”How’d you know?” So, I guess the writers knew that place. :)

  30. says

    Wonderful post! We have actually been to this Inn! While living in upstate NY for 31/2 years, we spent 2 weekends every month scouring the Northeast. Always stayed in Inns and this one was a joy. Of course we knew the outside had been used as Dick and Joanna’s Inn…one reason we chose to check it out! *smile*
    Always loved the show and never had a bad experience at an Inn! : )
    Love,
    Sue

  31. says

    Julia-This is one of my all time favorites! I loved the entire cast! I too had romantic notions about running an inn in New England. Just read Whistling Dixie in a Nor’easter (by a Memphis girl-Lisa Patton)—that’ll change your mind! It is hilarious! Love the photos! Thanks!

  32. says

    Julia,
    Love this post. I loved the show, not as much as Bob’s original “Bob Newhart Show”, but it was good. Thanks for the history on the Inn. I would love to stay there sometimes. I think this show was always in the back of my mind, when I decided to become a Innkeeper. Ours is for sale now, but we met so many great people.

  33. says

    I remember this show! I used to watch it on Nick At Nite when I was younger. I love Bob Newhart and I loved his sitcoms. This inn was beautiful, I loved seeing it then and now. How cool that it had a bowling alley to boot! Great post Julia!

  34. says

    Ack…it’s tan! :-( Man, did I love that show…I wanted to BE Joanna. And my father would break into the “Larry, Darryl and Darryl” speech every time they came on screen. 😉

  35. Cheryl Stoy says

    An all time classic…this and the inn from “White Christmas” are how I always picture Vermont.

  36. says

    You know, I still sometimes say, “I’m Larry, this is my brother Daryl, and this is my other brother Daryl.” I loved that show! The original Bob Newhart show was from my childhood, but this one was from my days as a young wife. I’ve still never been to Vermont, but someday I’ll go. Of course, my favorite places in Vermont are fictional. . .like the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree. :)

  37. trent says

    Youve done it again..L0L
    You should do the house from jumanji Its a beaut !
    Thanks Trent

  38. says

    I DO remember seeing the kitchen!!! It was a scene when George was cooking something like a bean soup, I think. I remember there being a door to the left of a free-standing stove (think oldschool stove with the pipe coming out of the top and going into the wall). The door probably would have aligned with the door from the dining room; so you could walk straight through and out of the house from the living/check in area. Now I’m going to have to find a way to watch every episode and hunt it down :) Thanks for the fantastic post on such a great sitcom!!

  39. FT says

    I always LOVED the bizarre dream ending of ‘Newhart-‘ I think that’s the right way to end a TV show!

  40. Greg Sutherland says

    I loved the Newhart series (more so the later episodes with Darrell and Darrell). I saw the kitchen in more than one episode. In one kitchen scene, Joanna is making several turkeys for the town on Thanksgiving. In another kitchen scene, George is explaining how he’d like to buy a wardrobe that looks more like Kirk’s (from the Minuteman Cafe).

    Ever remember the episode where George sits out on the back porch and sees the UFO? I also remember Stephanie’s bedroomm when she was sick and the Darrell brothers put on a puppet show while she was in bed.

    • hookedonhouses says

      I must not have watched the later seasons–or maybe I just don’t remember those episodes. Thanks, Greg!

      • Greg Sutherland says

        Happened to warch an old re-run last night where Stephanie’s high school rival shows up at the Inn married to Stephanie’s old beau. Anyways, two scenes take place in Stephanie’s bedroom. She’s moping around the room depressed when Dick stops by to console her. Dick has to move around her wardrobe racks like a maze…lol. It wasn’t the same bedroom that was used for the Darrell and Darrell puppet show a couple seasons later. Sure do love that show. :)

  41. Heather says

    I grew up in Middlebury and actually one of our past class reunion get-togethers was at the Waybury. I am a local photographer and would be happy to pop into the Waybury to get some inside shots for you, if you would like! East Middlebury is gorgeous, no matter the season! I grew up watching Newhart as well! Love your blog!

  42. Julie says

    They did absolutely show the kitchen in the first two seasons or so of the show – it was absolutely PERFECT! Exactly, what you’d expect: big butcher block, checked curtains, a wood cookstove and the fridge built into the cabinetry.
    There’s an episode with George fiddling with the garbage disposal, another where Bob goes to the fridge to find something to eat, and a memorable one where Joanna’s parents visit and she’s too busy in the kitchen making 100s of turkeys for the whole town to eat!
    The door to the kitchen opens on to the back porch… Gorgeous!

  43. Kevin says

    Just saw the kitchen in an old re-run titled “First of the Belles”…..good shots of Joanna and Stephanie talking and great shots of the kitchen…..

    • Julie says

      I know, wasn’t that kitchen SUPERB!?
      It was SOOOOO much better than the lobby, which I never thought quite looked ‘real’ with all that panelling ‘antiqued’…

  44. lea says

    They do show the kitchen in Season 1, Episode 8. The kitchen has an old stove, a huge hearth, big butcher block island and a pantry about the size of a linen closet.

  45. Buffy Denver says

    Larry, Darryl and Darryl are perhaps the 3 greatest characters ever created
    in the history of television!

  46. Roger (also from Montreal) says

    Funny I should stumble upon that thread making mention of the kitchen in Newhart… I just started a “run” of the 8 seasons of Newhart and I was telling myself that the kitchen set (one of the nicest of the show) was “under-used”…

    You see the kitchen in episodes 8,9, 15 and 22 of the first year (Some Are Born Writers… Others Have Writers Thrust Upon Them – Dec. 13, 1982 *** No Room At The Inn – Dec. 20, 1982 *** Breakfast Theatre – Feb. 7, 1983 *** I Enjoy Being a Guy – Apr. 10, 1983), then it makes a small appearance in the second season sixth episode (Don’t Rain on My Parade – Nov. 21, 1983), the one Julie is talking about with Joanna working on “100” turkeys for Thanksgiving…

    Then the kitchen just “disappears”… but strangely enough, makes an unexpected return some 76 shows later in season 5 episode 14 (The First of the Belles – Jan. 12, 1987), the episode Kevin is referring to…

    I’m watching the start of the sixth season right now, and so far no kitchen… lol… Still some 70 episodes to make it to the final 184th… Just watching all those episodes brings me so easily back to that time of my life (the 80’s lol)… I cant’ believe I watched this sow on its first original run when I was 14 to 22 years old…

    Sorry for the spelling errors… I’m a french canadian…

    • says

      So interesting! I keep meaning to go back and track those kitchen episodes down but just haven’t had a chance to rent the DVDs again. Thanks, Roger!

  47. David says

    Recently I rediscovered “Newhart” after watching it during its original run on Television. I introduced the program to my wife who never saw it before or heard of Bob Newhart because she is from Russia. She loves the program and wants me to take her to Vermont so we can stay at the Inn. Always wondered why a very good actress that played Leslie during the first year (Jennifer Holmes) left the show after the first season. If anybody knows the answer to that we would be interested to know.

  48. Clare says

    All 180 episodes of Newhart are on YouTube now! Have been watching them all! Love this show!!! Just finished watching episode 52 “The Fan” which shows the kitchen. The antique stove is the best part:)

  49. Nadine says

    I love watching “Newhart” every evening on the “Rural” network on Dish Satellite.
    When the program was originally aired, I was living in Miami and feeling extremely homesick for the Northeast where I was from — and where I am now living again. I Iove the evening shot of the Inn that is seen during the credits — I’d love to have a copy of it, if available — I wonder if it is!