BELGRADE — The Village Inn and Tavern in Belgrade Lakes held a celebration Sunday to mark the 100th year its building has served as an inn.

The afternoon gathering drew local residents and others, who shared stories of summers at the inn and restaurant on Great Pond Stream.

Eric Hoogland of The Belgrade Historical Society opened the celebration with a history of the eatery now famous for its roast duck.

Hoogland said The Village Inn opened a century ago as The Locust House. It was owned by Ed Megill, who first came to Belgrade shortly after 1900 and became a guide. Megill bought the property in 1921, opening The Locust House the same year.

Judith Metzger, front right, and others applaud Jan Partridge, left, after Partridge shared memories Sunday of having worked as a waitress and hairdresser at The Village Inn and Tavern in Belgrade Lakes. The event marked the building’s 100th anniversary as an inn. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Today, Kate Beales and her partner, Heather Pena, own the business at 157 Main St. after buying it in 2014 it from Charles and Susan Grover.

Beales said her family has spent three generations in the area, including a camp on Great Pond that her grandparents bought in 1930.

“It was the opportunity of a lifetime to buy the Inn,” Beales said.

After World War II, the economy slowed and passenger rail service to the area was ended in the 1950s. Additionally, a nearby inn, the Red Oaks Lodge, burned, and another fire ravaged the community in 1956.

About this time, Paul Provandie, a longtime summer visitor, bought an abandoned restaurant and converted it into the Lobster Pot, now known as the Sunset Grille.

Jan Partridge shares memories Sunday of having worked as a waitress and hairdresser at The Village Inn and Tavern in Belgrade Lakes. Partridge is speaking during a public party marking the building’s 100th anniversary as an inn. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Provandie was later approached by Megill, who had offered to sell Provandie The Locust House for $10,000.

Provandie agreed to buy the building and spent two years renovating it. The Village Inn opened in 1969, with a slow-cooked duck recipe and pies made by Provandie’s wife, Priscilla. Both recipes remain staples today at The Village Inn.

Eric Hooglund, left, speaks Sunday during a public party at The Village Inn and Tavern in Belgrade Lakes. The event marked the building’s 100th anniversary as an inn. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Ownership continued to shift throughout the years, with Beales and Pena becoming the seventh owners and stewards of the property. Beales and Pena bring backgrounds that include experience as a chef and in marketing and advertising.

“It’s our job to conserve the history, while modernizing its food and service to reflect today’s taste,” Beales said. “We’ve updated our menu in a way that’s respectful to help us keep moving forward.”

Mes Amis performs Sunday during a public party Sunday at The Village Inn and Tavern in Belgrade Lakes. The event marked the building’s 100th anniversary as an inn. From left: Steve Lynnworth, Ross Gallagher, Harry Richter and Tomoko Iwamoto. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The famous roast duck recipe, however, has not been changed, although attempts have been made in the past.

“Kate has done a marvelous job of continuing the tradition of The Village Inn,” Charles Grover said. “There’s lots of stories we can all talk about, but the most important story is the people that come to The Village Inn on a regular basis — each of you, your friends and relatives that make it such a special place.

“It’s got a special place in the hearts of those in Belgrade, and those who have been here over the years.”


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