- by Tom Eastman
Opening of the Eastern Slope Inn
An historic moment in the life of one of North Conway's prouder establishments took place on Friday, July 17th, with the grand opening of the newly renovated and restored Eastern Slope Inn. Open to accommodate overnight guests for the first time since 1976, the elegant village centerpiece has once again firmly established its place among New England's finer first class resorts.
The opening coincides with the Inn's 55th birthday, and helping to celebrate that event were general manager Floyd Hunter (left), desk clerk Charlin Carlson, and Joe Berry, general manager of the Eastern Slope Inn Associates, the firm which purchased the facility in March 1980 for $1 million. Head of the $1 million restoration project which has transformed the handsome structure into an elegantly styled yet modernly efficient and equipped hotel, both Floyd and Joe are pleased that the Eastern Slope Inn is once again something of which all can be proud.
The Inn offers guests a choice of 48 rooms in the main building and 26 in the annex, the Eastern Slope Lodge. the suites are furnished with the highest quality pieces and elegant decor, featuring furnishings in the traditional Queen Anne-Chippendale style. Wall coverings in the rooms are from the classic Van Cortland motif of the Schumacher Collection, with all bedspreads and drapes coordinated with the other pieces. Other features of each room include a full private modern bath, individual heat and AC control, direct dial telephones, cable color television and AM-FM Sylvania radio consoles. The carpeting is plush and tasteful, the ambiance of each room relaxed and casually sophisticated in the style of a high quality country inn.
The transformation over the past year has been magnificent in size yet patiently painstaking in detail. Beginning in December 1980, renovations commenced on the north and south wings and on the lobby, all with the intention of thoroughly restoring the Inn to its former elegance. The renovations were not limited to cosmetics by any means, however. The project was carried out from the framework on out, with new wiring, plumbing insulation, double thick sound-proof flooring, and carpeting, insulation, thermo-pane windows and electromagnetically controlled fire doors installed. Three-way heat detecting sensors were placed throughout the building which can set off alarms, and fire pull boxes connected directly to the North Conway Fire Department have been placed on every floor.
As Floyd commented, "With every conservation, construction and fire protection measure as well as with the restoration of the building to its former elegance, we went one step further than even the strictest of laws would have required us to do." He noted that each room's climate is controlled by a Scientific Atlanta Energy Management and Control System, a microprocessor which monitors the energy requirements of the building so that waste is reduced and conservation id optimized. "It's all a matter of protecting the investment we've made, as well as carrying out out responsibility to the public to insure that the Inn is as secure as possible," Floyd added. Consequently, the Eastern Slope Inn can be considered to be one of the safest and most efficient large resorts in the United States.
All of the work was done by local craftsmen, a fact of which Joe, Floyd and administrative consultant Bob Kantack are proud. General contractor for the project was Independent Building Company; electrical work was done by Lord Electric; plumbing was installed by Vernon Smith and GB Carrier performed all of the sheetrock and finishing work. Their efforts have resulted in an outstanding example of fine craftsmanship.
The restoration of the lobby and of the north and south wing represents the completion of phase I for the Inn. Over the next few weeks, the Inn's dining room with be expanded and renamed as the Currier & Ives Room, decorated with Harvey Gibson's print collection. The veranda which leads to the front of the Inn will be glassed in to provide additional dining space as well as to serve as a private meeting room. Culinary fare offered at the Currier & Ives Room will feature traditional and gourmet items of hotel caliber, including such offerings as Chicken Cordon Bleu, Filet of Beef Tenderloin (stuffed with oysters) and nightly specials. Those nightly entrees might include Duck a la Orange, Roast Prime Rib, and Baked Stuffed Trout. In addition, luncheon on the Courtyard Patio at Daisy's will feature a fashion show every Wednesday afternoon from noon to 2 p.m., hosted by different Valley clothing establishments. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served in the Currier & Ives Room and on the Patio daily. Arthur Card will continue in his present position as food and beverage manager for both establishments.
Speaking about further restoration projects slated for the Inn, Berry and Hunter both stated that Phase II will focus primarily on the renovation of the west wing sometime this fall. Once that work is completed, the Inn will be able to offer a total of 106 rental units. further down the road, Berry noted that Eastern Slope Inn Associates plans to completely winterize the Eastern Slope Playhouse, renovate existing buildings on the 13-acre site, and the expansion of the resort's recreational facilities.
A more immediate goal of the entire management team is to acquire a Four Star rating from the Mobil Guide, a coveted distinction symbolic of the best lodging quality and one which is held by only four other establishments in all of New England. "We want to have a first class, full service resort hotel here run by only the highest of standards," explained Floyd. "Our staff is professional and cordial; they sincerely want to make our guests feel comfortable and at home." He added that the Inn will provide all the services that one would expect of a hotel of its era, "enhanced with all of the modern conveniences that you desire."
Aside from its beauty, the Eastern Slope Inn's strongest appeal has always been its convenient central location in the heart of North Conway Village. within walking distance of such attractions as Mt. Cranmore, the Volvo International, village shops, tennis courts, the North Conway Country Club, the Saco River and cross-country skiing, it truly can be said that one may never have to use a car once it has been parked at the Inn during a stay in North Conway. As Joe Berry noted, "The Inn is centrally located, and that is certainly a major advantage. There is no other place in New England which can boast of Mt Washington Valley's four season appeal as a destination resort, and we're located right in the middle of it. As the appeal of the destination resort style of a vacation grows among the vacationing public, the future of the Eastern Slope Inn appears brighter than ever."
Rates at the Inn are competitive with those offered at conventional large roadside inns of the modern day. Coupled with the charm and tradition of the Eastern Slope Inn, it makes for a vacationing package few establishments can match. Stop by and take a tour on your next stroll down Main Street.