ARLINGTON — It’s been a little over a month since Buzz Kanter purchased The Arlington Inn. But it didn’t take long for Kanter and his partner, Tabetha Hammer, who met in the world of motorcycle collecting and restoration, to realize just how difficult life as a Vermont innkeeper can be. hectic.
How hectic? The champagne set aside to celebrate their closure on the historic property is still parked in the fridge, waiting for a time when they can pause to mark their purchase of one of Arlington’s most historic landmarks.
“We closed the place at 11 a.m. on a Friday. That night we logged 12 rooms and it hasn’t stopped since,” Hammer said. “Our second weekend of ownership, we hosted a dinner party for the Equinox Hill Climb group for 80 people.”
The bubbly may have to wait a bit longer. The hostel, which serves breakfast to guests, plans to open to paying guests from October 6. The company also plans to hire a licensed massage therapist and is taking bookings for appointments starting Oct. 3.
“I get rave reviews for our breakfasts from our customers,” Kanter said. “We wanted healthy and fresh and we try to use local ingredients when possible.”
To that end, the hostel is looking for workers to join the team and work to revitalize the property while keeping it running for paying guests. Fall leaf season is already well booked, they said.
The property was purchased by River Run Properties LLC, of which Kanter is principal, for $1,199,000 from Eric Berger, according to records filed with the Arlington Clerk’s Office. Closing was July 29.
Looking around the four-acre property, there’s plenty of evidence that Kanter, Hammer and their team have been busy. Several trees were felled, opening up views across the four-acre property. Overgrown bushes next to houses have been reduced. Inside, the entrance has been redesigned to bring the reception desk into the entrance hall.
They also uncover history in every nook and cranny, including a 19th-century guest register.
Kanter came to the hospitality industry having already retired from the publishing industry. Coming from a family in the publishing business – Dell Magazines and Penny Press, which his mother founded – Kanter edited and published classic motorcycle magazines until 2020.
Kanter, who has owned a home in West Arlington for eight years, learned that the Arlington Inn was for sale and went to have a look.
“We walked in and walked around, and I would say the best word is we were ‘enchanted.’ This is an amazing property,” Kanter said. “We walked around and every room was a discovery. “
If that wasn’t enough, Kanter was sold when he met his potential new neighbors.
“We met the people of Arlington Common, who are doing an incredible job of revitalizing and creating a new asset in the city,” he said.
And although the inn, circa 1848, kept Kanter and Hammer busy, they see great things ahead of them for the company and for their city.
“We love the potential. We didn’t want to invest all that time and money into something that no one will appreciate. The feeling is that Arlington is having a renaissance. People are investing in the city, growing it.”
So far, local reception of all the work has been positive, Kanter said. He was present on Saturday when the inn held a sale in its barn, behind the main inn and shed, during Norman’s Attic Fall Fest.
“We must have had 20 or more people say, ‘I’ve lived here all my life and never knew there was a barn here,'” he said.
Kanter and Hammer met at a high-end motorcycle show – she was manager of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, he was a judge.
After getting his start as a photographer for United Press International, Kanter worked for his parents’ publishing houses, until he got his master’s degree in business administration and started his own motorcycle magazine, Old. Bike Journal, as part of his thesis project. A member of the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame, Kanter purchased American Iron Magazine, editing and publishing that magazine and several others through 2020, when, he said, the COVID pandemic “fundamentally brought down our advertisers.
If the Arlington Inn was a classic car, what kind of car would it be? Hammer thought about it for a moment, and she had a remarkably specific answer: a 1911 Oldsmobile Touring Limited seven-passenger car, bought at auction for $1.65 million in 2007. One of Hammer’s friends was the caretaker of the car.
Why? This 1911 Olds was considered the only completely original, unrestored example of its kind – and only 159 were built that year. At the time of the auction, Hammer recalled, there was significant debate in the classic car world about whether it should be restored so it could run, or left completely original.
“A fully stock car is only fully stock once – and if you start fixing it, how far will you go?” said Hammer. “I think a place like this is very much in the same vein. And we’re going into this after several people have already done their thing.
But in the automotive world, she explained, there is a “sympathetic restoration”, which involves keeping as much of the original as possible while still running and running it like a car – the thing for which it was built.
“So I think a place like this has the same spirit,” she said. “You want to do with it what you have to do to exploit it. Operate it as a hostel, as a good place to live, while trying to do everything you can to maintain this originality, preserve the areas that can be preserved. »