Hello, and thank you for visiting the Grape Arbor Bed and Breakfast website. I’m Peggy Hauser, long-term owner and innkeeper here. I purchased the two buildings in downtown North East, PA that make up the inn in 2002, but their history certainly extends a long time before that. What I know has been graciously told me over the years by neighbors and former neighbors. Every year there is a new tidbit!
The two buildings were originally built for the same family (13 children!) and were completed in 1832 and 1835. The same architect built both, although the styles are very different. Actually there were originally three buildings (you can still see the third building east of 55 E Main; it is not part of the Bed and Breakfast.)
The town of North East supported both the merchants that made their living with shipping over the Great Lakes and the farmers who planted, among other things orchards of apple, cherry and peach trees.
The ownership of the buildings was split up, and the long-term owners of the buildings were the Bester family for 51 E Main and the Hampson family for 55 E Main. Although much of the original woodwork as well as the spectacular curved staircases are intact in both buildings, each has seen many changes over the years.
The Bester Town Home has been not only a private home, but a tavern, stagecoach stop, the town’s first primary and kindergarten school, a senior citizen home, and a restaurant. I look out the front door and try to imagine a trolley running up and down Main Street.
The Hampson House was owned by one family for a long time until purchased by the Stow Insurance Agency. The office was on the first floor and an apartment for the owner on the second.
When the buildings were converted to a Bed and Breakfast, the floorplan for 51 E Main remained pretty much the same, with bathrooms added into closets and spare spaces. The changes at 55 E Main were more extensive, to allow for not only the spacious bathrooms, but separate entrances for each suite.
I have been asked many times if the Grape Arbor Bed and Breakfast is haunted or not. How can buildings this old not contain the memories of everything and everyone that has passed through these doors–through scuffs on the floors, nicks in the woodwork and soot soaked through the bricks. Ask me when you visit, and I can tell you stories shared with me by local people.