Since the new year a second new business has opened in the Town, Stonehurst at Hampton Valley, an events venue that features an inn and barns set on 90 acres of countryside. The events venue provides facilities for weddings, showers, proms and corporate and community gatherings. The proprietors are well known local business people, Craig and Elke Gates and Kathy Borner.

The inn, which can accommodate 80 guests, is set on a small rise that overlooks a large open field with views of rustic barns and the Little River. The property was an alpaca farm and bed and breakfast and will maintain much of its former past.  The existing barn is currently being renovated and a new post and beam barn will soon be constructed. All work is expected to be completed by August 1st, and once completed, the barns can accommodate up to 299 guests and will be climate controlled with modern bathroom facilities.

Since its opening on March 1st, the facility has already booked ten events, including a local high school’s junior prom. Events can be catered by the owners’ Black Dog Bar and Grille restaurant, or one can rent a space and catering can be provided by a licensed caterer selected by the guest. A future bed and breakfast utilizing the upstairs rooms at the inn is a possibility, however there have been only preliminary discussions with the Town.

In addition to the building of the barn and other general renovations, the owners are re-landscaping the property. The landscaping is being done by Elke Gates’ business, Elke’s Plant Scapes. Areas along the Little River have already been cleaned and a gazebo has been moved from the inn to a site overlooking the river to create an intimate space for wedding ceremonies.

As with any changes in a small town there has been some concern on local impacts to the environment, traffic and the general quiet nature of the area. As reported by The Gazette, these impacts were discussed during the site’s permitting process and specific terms have been added to the permit to address potential impacts. Several of the concerns will be reviewed again in one year by the Town.

Peter Witkowski