We believe the house was originally built in the early 1870s. In 1910, the home, described at the time as “an old two-family house by the Nubanusit River”, was purchased by Marian and Edward MacDowell to be used as housing for the first male artists accepted to the world famous MacDowell Colony (the oldest artist colony in the United States, incorporated in 1907).
Referred to as The Mannex, the accommodations were a bit more rustic in those days as the earliest male colonists remarked about the lack of running water and the need to bathe in the river, but by 1913 the Colony's annual report indicated that electricity, running water and open fireplaces were all available.
It is believed that Thornton Wilder stayed here during some of his nine summer stays at the Colony starting in 1924. Other visits to the Colony by Thornton Wilder included one in June 1937 when it is believed that he was working on his now classic American play "Our Town" (set in the fictional town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, which was modeled in part after Peterborough and other towns in the Monadnock region).
Beginning in the 1930s, the house, along with two nearby properties (The Rosery, seen in the background of the above photo, and The Lower House, just up the road), was operated as the MacDowell Colony Inn and welcomed travelers to Peterborough and the Monadnock region. The Inn was in operation until the 1940s when the start of World War II significantly slowed the tourism business in the area.
From the 1950s to the early 2000s the house was used as a single and multi-family residence and the second building on the property, now referred to as The Carriage House, was home to various businesses. Chance visits from previous owners have provided clues as to some of the ages of various features in the home, but we are still working on putting all of the pieces together.
In the Fall of 2005, Paula and Rob Fox purchased the home with the intention of converting it into a Bed and Breakfast. At the time of their purchase, they were unfamiliar with the home's history. They were very pleasantly surprised to discover the history of the home and learn it had hosted guests in the past. Major renovations filled all of 2006 and some of 2007, but the Fox's hosted their first guests at Little River Bed and Breakfast in the Spring of 2007.
About Our Name
Little River Bed & Breakfast is scenically situated along the Nubanusit River, a fourteen mile long tributary of the Contoocook River. In another bit of fate, we selected our name to highlight that which attracted us to the property, the river. Later, we discovered that the origin of the word “nubanusit” is Native American (local Abenaki tribe) and has been translated to mean “small waters”.
About The Innkeepers
We started our journey to B&B ownership in 2007. We went on our first vacation together to Prince Edward Island where we stayed at a beautiful B&B on a red clay cliff overlooking an expanse of the blue waters of the Atlantic. At that point, we fell in love with the B&B experience. Three months later, we stayed at a B&B in New Hampshire where we fell in love with each other.
Throughout the years, we would choose B&B's when we traveled. Each time, we would dream of owning one ourselves.
Unfortunately, the reality was that we both had careers and needed to raise our children. Gary is a construction supervisor who oversees infrastructure projects for towns in Massachusetts. Patty was a mental health counselor specializing in addiction and recovery.
Finally in September of 2018, we became empty nesters and were able to pursue our dreams. We searched from Florida to Maine for the right place. When we saw Little River, we knew it was the perfect fit. We loved the inn and the town. And for a bit of fate - Patty's last name and Peterborough are different languages that both mean “town of rock”.
Patty retired from a 30 year career of helping others to be a full time innkeeper. Gary continues his full-time job in Massachusetts and helps out on evenings and weekends.
We are so grateful to the former owners - Paula and Rob - for creating such an amazing property and allowing us to take over. We appreciate their patience and generosity in helping us through our transition. We hope to continue their tradition of excellence and hospitality.
The Former Innkeepers
Like many, our dream of owning and operating a B&B began with our own wonderful experiences as guests. Our first B&B stay was in the mid-1990s at The Village Country Inn in Manchester Village, Vermont. We had traveled there to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a ski trip. We had a wonderful time and on our way out the door, we stopped in the gift shop to browse. Featured among their other items was a book, “The Best Places to Kiss in New England” by Pamela P. Hegarty. We purchased the book and read it on the way home. (Well actually, Rob drove and Paula read out-loud.) In a sort of game, we’d pick various states and towns we knew or had heard of and looked for the listings that had “4-kiss” ratings, the best. We spent the next several years visiting many of the locations we read about. The unique rooms, gracious hosts, and delicious breakfasts all made the best of impressions on us and we knew deep in our hearts that owning our own B&B someday would be the perfect way to combine our diverse skills and interests. Over time, our dream of being innkeepers began to take shape, but careers kept us firmly planted in the “here and now” and we relegated our dream for “some day”.
Through the 1990s and early 2000s, our “here and now” included moves from the Northeast (Rob from Long Island, New York; Paula from central Connecticut) to northeast Ohio and careers (Rob in his family’s commercial door hardware business; Paula as a chemist - first as a product development chemist in industry, later as an adjunct college professor). Eventually however, our careers brought us to the point where we both were interested in making a significant change. After considering a few other options, we decided “why not now?” and started what turned out to be a fairly lengthy search for a B&B in the Northeast. We were looking for something that was just right for us. It had to be the right community and the right property. Our search took us to many well-known and popular New England destinations including Cape Cod, Newport, Rhode Island, and coastal Maine. Eventually we turned inland, and when we came to Peterborough, New Hampshire, we found our “home”. We still had to find the right property though!
In the summer of 2005, we found that B&B, although it was just a large single-family home at the time. In the spring of 2006, we began our renovations, and in early 2007 we hosted our first guests. Our “some day” had arrived.
Rob’s accounting degree from Bryant University in Rhode Island, his experience in his family’s business, and his interest in computers have served us well as Rob tends to most of our business needs. Paula on the other hand focuses on many of the domestic and culinary details. She has made an easy transition from the chemistry lab to the kitchen and frequently uses her analytical skills as she perfects her recipes for granola, muffins, and other breakfast offerings.
We enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, geocaching, traveling, good food (especially ice cream) and good company, and we have been lucky to find all of these in Peterborough and New Hampshire in general. We also love to travel, both locally and further afar, and as time permits we have been on a mission to discover all the special places to visit in New Hampshire and New England. In addition, Rob is a huge sports fan (primarily football and hockey) and Paula loves crafts of all types. Her weaknesses are paper, namely scrapbooking and stamping, and glass, mostly stained glass and beads, but it could be said that she has never met a craft she didn’t like.