By CARLA KOLBE
For the Recorder
NORTHVILLE --This weekend, the long awaited grand opening of Northville's Inn at the Bridge will take place. The historic landmark has undergone extensive restoration and refurbishing during recent months, and transformation into the 21st century. Tours of the inn will be available this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
More than ready to display the inn's latest restorations, the new innkeepers explain their latest work and the process involved with the historic undertaking.
"It's an icon, and it's the first place you see as you come across the bridge into Northville," said owner Michael Intrabartola.
For years Michael and wife Lorrie kept the Inn at the Bridge in their crosshairs, conjuring ideas on how to bring back the original luster to the iconic home.
Since their purchase of the home last fall, the Intrabartolas have been working to clean, repair and restore the structure. The basics have been updated such as wiring, heat and central air conditioning. All of the inn's six B & B rental rooms are being renovated.
Paneling was removed from the walls, exposing the original plaster. On the ceiling,12-inch-by-12-inch acoustical tiles were taken down, allowing for the actual plaster and in some cases the original tin ceilings to be exposed. Special detail to recreating the original crown moldings has been made, keeping the homes original time and place in tact with the decor.
"We are so fortunate to have my son and his wife who are artists to advise on the restoration," said Intrabartola. "They have such incredible insight, and are so particular on the process."
The Intrabartola's, with their son Michael and daughter-in-law Michele Drozd, also run and have restored the The Orendaga on Northille Lake & Bellwether Studio, a historic 1850 Northville property, directly on the other end of Northville.
The Orendaga needed much TLC when it was purchased 10 years ago, but has since been tastefully restored and serves as a gallery for unique art, offering art shows in the main house gallery, and offers classes in pottery -- further enhancing and educating the community in the arts.
The Inn at the Bridge will follow suit with restoration and integrity. Intrabartola himself is a general contractor who took on much of the renovation. The family has been researching old photos and checking on the home's history with Northampton historian Gail Cramer.
The home was built around the turn of the 20th century, and first appeared completed in a 1905 map of Northville. Prominent lumberman, financier and politician John Willard (1851-1942) and his wife Elizabeth Fuller Willard had the home built. Willard had five children: Seymore, Wesley, Hugh, Elizabeth and Harold -- for each of whom he built a home, and all but one are still standing in Northville.
The Inn at the Bridge served as the prominent gateway into Northville, owned by the prestigious Willard who was also vice president of the Northville Bank, and served as chairman of the board of supervisors in Fulton County.
Situated on the Great Sacandaga lakefront, the inn hosts a marina with docks available to rent.
The inn will be run as a bed and breakfast this first summer, offering and an in-house breakfast and a 3 p.m. tea for those who visit. Breakfast is promised to be heightened by savories such as the bakery's applewood bacon, swiss and thyme quiche -- and sweetened by pastries.
Open to the public will be the inn's bakery on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with fresh-baked goods made by the Chick and Hen available to go.
According to the Intrabartolas, Chick and Hen at The Inn is a collaboration between a baker and an innkeeper. One crafts the finest sweets and savories out of the purest of ingredients, the other creates thoughtful experiences and lasting memories for those who wish to indulge.
The bakery to-go tempts your trip home with selections such as pecan lace cookies with orange buttercream filling, giant gingersnaps, raspberry almond linzer bars, bittersweet brownies, coconut honey macaroons, and more. Special order items will be available to order.
Although they have been active members in the community for many years, the Intrabartolas are looking forward to being a permanent part of Northville, retiring and running a bed and breakfast.
"The lights on this corner have been off for too long," said Michael Intrabartola. "The inn will be an illuminated welcome into the village day and night now, as this historic icon should be."
The Inn at the Bridge is located at 641 Bridge St. For further information, call (518) 863-8013, or go to www.innatthebridge-.com, or on Facebook The Inn at the Bridge.