Thursday, April 16, 2015

Warrensburg’s Merrill Magee Inn Plans Summer Opening

mmhlogoThe Merrill Magee Inn in the heart of Warrensburg is undergoing a full restoration thanks in part to the new partnership between Michael and Donna Flanagan and Richard Flanagan and his wife Leslie Qin, all originally from New Jersey. The new owners hope to have the extensive renovations done and the tavern and restaurant open sometime this summer, although ten guest rooms are already available.

Brothers Michael and Richard have been regular visitors to the Adirondacks. After Michael and Donna moved to the region in 2004, they hosted an annual family party at the Inn admiring the combination of a comfortable night’s stay and a great meal.

Although stories circulating about the inn differ, according to Warrensburg New York: 200 Years of People, Places, and Events (2013) the Merill Magee Inn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built as a farmhouse in 1833 for Stephen Griffing; a second story was added in the 1850s and another wing in 1911.

Griffing’s granddaughter Grace Merrill Lown Magee was the last member of the Griffing (by then Griffen) family to occupy the home. Grace, who was born in Albany in 1885, lived in an apartment above the carriage house at the time of her death in her 90s. She was an avid swimmer in the property’s early indoor pool, said to be one of the largest in the state at the time. David J. Pitkin’s book Haunted Warren County (2012) claims the friendly ghost of Grace still watches over the property.

When Grace died in 1979 the property was sold to Florence and Kenneth Carrington, who turned the home into a inn and restaurant called the Merrill Magee House (later operated by their daughter Pam Converse). Subsequent owners renamed it the Griffen House and Grace’s Resturant; it has been closed since October 2011.

The construction was in full swing as I toured the inn’s first floor, now gutted but rebuilt. It’s expected to include three dinning rooms, a tavern, and outside patio. They also are looking to add a event area, a pond, and a nature trail with native plants and fruits. You can see photos of the renovations in progress on their Facebook page.

As the Inn looks to the future, I spoke with General Manager Daniel DelGavdio, who boasts 30 years of hospitality experience, about the renovations and plans. “The entire property is being revamped” he told me, adding that the new Merrill Magee Inn will be casual with “a real Adirondack feel” and modest pricing on the pub and dining room menus. DelGavdio said the menus are still in development, but they are looking to offer local crafts beers.

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Billy Trudsoe is a native of Chestertown who is a professional chef in the Adirondacks. Billy has worked in a variety of kitchens around Northern New York

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