By Rod Lee
Excitement was already running high in the place named Tillyer House even before the dignitaries and well-wishers swooped in to offer their congratulations on an official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony the afternoon of November 29th.
Connie Pion who is director of sales for The Publick House Historic Inn & Country Motor Lodge on Rt. 131 (On the Common) in Sturbridge and Michael J. Glick who is general manager of the property, were extolling the merits of the complex’s newest building.
A century-old barn was moved to make way for Tillyer House, which P&P General Contracting of Charlton put up in a year and finished one month ahead of schedule.
“This will be the hub of our hotel operations!” Mr. Glick said of Tillyer House’s twenty-eight rooms. Two of these are geared toward long-term stays, he said.
“Anyone who stays at The Publick House will check in here first,” Mr. Glick said.
For Mr. Glick, keeping the work involved in creating the showpiece that is Tillyer House “local” was important. “P&P workers who live in the community built this place,” he said. “Pioneer Window Fashions did all of the draperies.” He was standing at the time in the lobby of Tillyer House where logs burned in the fireplace and a Christmas tree, fully decorated, occupied one corner.
“This was designed to look like your living room,” he said.
Quite by coincidence and much to Mr. Glick’s satisfaction, Susan LeBlanc of Charlton Furniture was enlisted to furnish the three floors of Tillyer House. Ms. LeBlanc “acted as our designer,” from the selection of carpeting to the paint color to the choice of chairs and tables and sofas and bedroom furnishings for all of the suites, Mr. Glick said.
“Susan cold-called us when we opened the Chamberlain House several years ago and said ‘I’d love to have this job.’ She did a fantastic job there, which led to her getting this project.”
Charlton Furniture has also done work for the company at Concord’s Colonial Inn.
“He only caused me two heart attacks!” Ms. LeBlanc said of Mr. Glick a few minutes later, laughing as she said it.
Her pride in having attained “an 18th Century look” with period pieces that reflect the aged status of the Publick House was evident. “It was really exciting for us to work on this project,” she said. “It was local and we think it was a perfect fit.”
With that Ms. LeBlanc ticked off the names of suppliers of handcrafted American-made furnishings whose products Charlton Furniture (family owned and operated for over fifty years) utilized to outfit Tillyer House; Gat Creek for the bedroom furnishings, Haligan Upholstery for the upholstery and Nichols and Stone and Harden for “the occasional pieces.”
When, inevitably, the question arose as to “why Tillyer House,” Mr. Glick said “Tillyer is the man who owned the land and the daughter of a Chamberlain married a Tillyer.”
Mr. Glick’s certainty that Tillyer House will catch the eye of travelers, and visitors to the region, was reflected in his comment that “we opened our doors on October 19th and were sold out.”
In his remarks to an audience that had swelled considerably by the time the ribbon was snipped by Development Manager Michael Harrington at four o’clock Mr. Glick alluded to Tillyer House’s distinctiveness by saying “this will not just be a roadside hotel.”
Alexandra McNitt who is executive director of the Central Mass. South Chamber of Commerce addressed the crowd and introduced State Sen. Ann Gobi and State Rep. Todd Smola who spoke and presented Mr. Glick with legislative commendations and Mary Blanchard who chairs the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen. Mr. Smola noted that “when people hear Sturbridge, they think of two places—Old Sturbridge Village and The Publick House.”
“The Harringtons (who own the property) do so much for the community,” Ms. McNitt said. “They are quite the family.”
Afterwards guests were invited to take self-guided tours of the premises and to enjoy complimentary hors d’ouevres.
“Stay and sit by the fire,” Mr. Glick said.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.