The Olde Mill Inn and the Grain House Celebrate 20 Years of Service to the Somerset Hills
The Olde Mill Inn and the Grain House Celebrate an Important Milestone
(Basking Ridge, New Jersey – May 21, 2014) In June of 2014, the Bocina Group will celebrate twenty years of serving the Somerset Hills at the Olde Mill Inn and the Grain House Restaurant (1994 – 2014).
Although the property has a 20-year history of ownership by the Bocina Group, it has a very long and interesting history in the Somerset Hills. The original Olde Mill Inn was in the Grain House, which was first constructed as a barn 1768 by miller Sam Lewis to store grain for his wooden water-powered grist mill in Basking Ridge. The mill was later enlarged and then passed through several owners. Legend states that the Grain House barn was used to store the grain that fed George Washington’s Revolutionary Army during the winter of 1779 – 1780 at their encampment in Jockey Hollow, Morristown.
In 1929, well-known restaurateur William Childs purchased the Grain House “barn” and moved it away from the mill to the opposite side of Route 202 with the objective of turning it into an inn. The Childs family started a national chain of restaurants and ultimately owned 107 establishments up and down the East Coast.
To convert the Grain House “barn” into an inn, William Childs made the following changes: the wagon room was renovated for dining, the horse stable was turned into the grill room (now called the Coppertop Pub), the grain storage room was turned into the current Grain Room, and the haymow upstairs became seven small bedrooms and baths that were used into the 1970s as hotel rooms. These sleeping rooms originally featured historic “rope” mattresses. The Olde Mill Inn began serving food in the 1930s, and the Childs family owned the property until 1952.
There were other subsequent owners of the property, and a separate building was added in 1977 to be used as a hotel, as a venue for large social events, and as a full-service conference facility.
The Olde Mill Inn’s mortgage was sold by Carteret Savings after then-owner William Graulich & Associates went bankrupt. Carteret was absorbed by the Resolution Trust Company in December of 1992, and in March of 1993, the RTC sold the Olde Mill Inn property to the Bocina Group. At that time, the Inn was a total eyesore and had dilapidated to a point of complete disrepair and mismanagement.
After renovations, the restaurant of the Olde Mill Inn was renamed “The Grain House” and officially re-opened in February of 1994.
The Bocina Group restored the Olde Mill Inn as a unique country inn boutique hotel and as an area landmark. The hotel was redecorated in an upscale federalist colonial style. The Washington Ballroom at the Inn was decorated in English Country style with English gardens in the courtyard. The grand re-opening of the Inn was in June 2014.
Over the years since its beginnings, the Olde Mill Inn has been the site for many joyful gatherings and family celebrations including weddings, showers, christenings, anniversaries, graduation parties, birthday parties, holiday parties, sweet-16 parties, and numerous other types of events. These gatherings have continued through several generations of some area families. In addition, many special events are hosted at the Grain House throughout the holiday season, as well as for Easter and Mother’s Day.
The Coppertop Pub in the Grain House has become a meeting place for locals and hotel guests, and has twice been named as one of New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s “Coziest Spots for a Drink.” The Grain House has established a reputation for excellent casual American cuisine. During the winter, the various dining areas have fireside dining, and when the weather is warmer, outdoor dining is available on the Grain Room patio.
The Olde Mill Inn definitely has a place in the history of the Somerset Hills, but has also been ahead of its time under the ownership of the Bocina Group. The Inn and the Grain House have pioneered new ideas and practices regarding healthy natural cuisine in the Grain House Restaurant and the Olde Mill Inn banquet kitchen. They have also been very early adopters of many innovations to create environmentally friendly buildings and sustainable practices for the preservation of the environment.