A golden vision comes true: New inn opens in Worthington
|Published: 06-29-2022 6:49 PM
WORTHINGTON — Spouses Aaron and Eric Frary were looking to find a larger property for their goat farm. So they bought an inn.
Fast forward and the couple are now the owners and operators of The Goldenrod Country Inn. Located in the premises of the former Fiddlehead Inn at 144 Huntington Road, which contained The Rabbit Hole restaurant, The Goldenrod is very much the couple’s own vision — with their fingerprints on everything from the farm-to-table concept, to the menu, to the rooms and the name.
“It’s been really wonderful,” Eric said.
Aaron, 29, and Eric, 31, grew up in western Massachusetts in Northampton and Easthampton, respectively. However, neither had been to Worthington until they scouted out The Rabbit Hole to explore buying it.
“The tavern, in particular, I was really enchanted with,” Aaron said.
Aaron and Eric had a goat farm, Dank Farm, on their 2-acre property in Holyoke, and when they were looking for a larger property to expand to they found that the Fiddlehead was for sale.
“We decided to go for it,” Eric said.
Eric was also working as a teacher in Holyoke Public Schools at the time, while Aaron was working as a software developer. Eric has since left teaching to run the inn full time.
“It’s nerve-wracking to do something where you’re fully responsible, start to finish, for other people,” Eric said. “But it’s also incredibly exciting.”
And while Aaron remains working as a software developer, he is also involved in the inn.
“I’m a little jealous, to be honest,” Aaron said. “I help out wherever I can when I’m not working.”
Aaron and Eric live on the same property as the inn, and both praised Worthington as a community.
“The town really cares for each other,” Eric said. “We’re excited to be part of that small caring community.”
The couple have also received consulting assistance from Hilltown Community Development Corporation and the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
“It certainly helped us feel more confident in opening,” Aaron said.
The Goldenrod’s name references both the common flower and a lesbian bar that was raided by police in New Orleans in the 1950s.
The inn consists of five rooms, a banquet space, and a bar and restaurant, and the couple are also planning on building a goat barn out back.
The Goldenrod had its first guests in June, and the Frarys plan on opening its bar and restaurant in July once it receives its liquor license.
“People have been really thrilled, really wonderful,” Eric said, of the reaction guests have had to the inn.
If all goes as planned, the banquet portion of the business will roll out in the fall, and a number of events have already rented the space during that period, including a wedding reception in October.
“From there I think it will just grow,” Eric said.
The Frarys have retained two members of their goat herd, Moon Unit and Bleu Ivy, and they plan on making goat cheese and having it available at the inn next spring. In the meantime, they plan on incorporating herbs from their garden into cocktails on the menu.
The restaurant at The Goldenrod will feature farm-to-table food throughout, beer from Sena Farm Brewery, also located in Worthington, and champagne on tap.
“It is carbonated and charged the same way as beer,” Eric said. “We can make some really fantastic champagne cocktails.”
Menu items will include cheese boards and a white fish chowder, drawing inspiration from historical tavern dishes.
The inn will also be hosting aperitivo for guests, a tradition of predinner drinks and snacks that the Frarys experienced while on their honeymoon in Milan.
The couple painted all five of the inn’s rooms — they rent for $145 a night with breakfast and aperitivo coming after the restaurant opens — with Eric painting a mural of Mount Greylock in one. In another room, there are maple saplings flanking the bed.
“This has been part of the plan from the beginning,” Aaron said, of the saplings.
The Frarys also shopped for many of the antiques and art that decorate the inn, including going on a particularly successful trip to the Brimfield Flea Market where they secured a wagon wheel that had to be cut out of their vehicle to remove it.
Once the restaurant opens, the inn will have three to five employees, not counting the Frarys, with Eric saying that the smaller staff is part of the concept. He also said that people who used to work at The Rabbit Hole will return to work for The Goldenrod.
The Goldenrod Country Inn is located across from the R.H. Conwell Elementary School, and Eric said that teachers have asked when the restaurant will be open. He also said that they’re looking into having an ice cream stand on Fridays.Bera Dunau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.