100 years ago William Rogers Chapman, a musical maestro whose winter residence was a suite in the original Waldorf Astoria in New York City, would arrive in the Mayville section of Bethel accompanied by his entourage of liveried servants, all poised to open his home for the summer season. His appearance in the spring — with a virtual wagon train of horses, Shetland ponies, carriages and dog carts — was much anticipated in the usually quiet town. Chapman, who grew up in Bethel and attended Gould Academy, entertained guests from around the world in the house that has now been refurbished and repurposed as GraceNote Inn; the name a nod to its famous prior owner.
A grace note is an embellishment to a principal note — an ornamental note that the performer or composer adds to enhance a piece of music. Brenda Blond, the visionary owner of Bethel’s newest lodging house, has taken her cue from the world of music by transforming the maestro’s old residence into a gloriously warm and welcoming country inn with embellishments galore. Born and raised in New Hampshire, Brenda visited Bethel about seven years ago to participate in the Trek Across Maine bike fundraiser. She had attended nursing school in Maine and enjoyed several Gentle Dining dinners at Café DiCocoa, but something clicked on that return visit — she fell in love with Bethel and began to envision a future here.
That future appears now in the form of an inn with six spacious suites, a full commercial kitchen and room for up to seventy diners, as well as a relaxed and comfortable common space. Breakfast is included in your stay. The property is surrounded by an attractive white fence which bursts forth with colorful blooms for much of the spring and summer. Brenda grows the flowers and greenery she needs for her window boxes and table tops in the small greenhouse and potting shed on site. The new spa area, which opened in late 2022, is available to guests and day clients for facials, manicures, pedicures and massage.
From a glorious dream to an impressive end result, GraceNote is an impressively thought-out and attractive establishment.