New Milford's Homestead Inn re-opens Sunday

For the past 15 years, John Farley III has renovated buildings.

He’s always had an eye for old Victorians, like his first home in Bethel, that pepper Connecticut. When he’d find one he liked, his company, ACF Properties LLC, would buy it, and he and his father Jack would start renovating — bringing the old buildings back to life.

But in January, when he bought the Homestead Inn in New Milford, he had to renovate alone. Jack Farley died in November 2014. So this project, the renovation of a 15-room Victorian home first built in 1853 — and turned into an inn in 1928 — was special.

Between new windows, a new roof, all new furnishings, and countless other tweeks, Farley spent about $250,000 in renovations.

And it has already felt worth it, he said.

“People have been so appreciative of all the work we put into it,” Farley said.

Sunday, Farley and inn-keepers Renee and Bob Hodges will officially re-open the inn.

Among rooms named for famous guests such as Rose and Joe Kennedy and Mailyn Monroe, there’s one room dedicated to a celebrity in John’s world — his father John U. Farley Jr., better known as Jack.

Q : What first attracted you to New Milford and the Homestead Inn?

A: I have been visiting downtown New Milford for several decades and have watched it grow from a rural town into a quintessential New England downtown. The Homestead Inn is perfectly situated at the top of the Green and walking distance to restaurants, shops, a movie theater , banquet facilities, and all the weekly events that occur at the Green. The historical guest list at the Homestead Inn includes several famous people, such as Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy family. Something I never knew.

Q: You intend on registering the inn as an historic landmark, what is it about historic buildings the attracts your attention?

A: I continue to be amazed by the way things used to be done. The different types of construction methods, the unique moldings, and the materials used in older construction, much of which cannot be duplicated today.

Q: After sinking about $250,000 into fixing the inn, what’s been your favorite part of the renovation?

A: We have been partially open for a few weeks now, and the response that we get from guests has been outstanding. They really recognize and appreciate all the work that we put into this property. They love the original floors, original moldings, original doors. We went out of our way to save whatever we could while still providing all the modern conveniences guests are looking for and expect. The guest appreciation is what makes projects like this worthwhile.

Q: What has the community response been like to the new, John Farley-owned, Homestead Inn?

A: I couldn't be happier with the response so far. I've had multiple people contact me, thanking me for the restoring the inn and identifying it as a great asset to the town. We partially opened a few weeks ago and the guests have been really pleased.

Q: This was your first renovation without your father. What was one lesson he taught you that played into your renovation of the inn?

A: The first major renovation my father I completed was the 30 Bridge St. building in town. He always taught me that you will never know what you are going to run into when restoring old building, so be prepared. My father had a tremendous amount of pride in his work and he didn't take short cuts.

Q: What does it mean to you that your father’s name will share the honor of having a room dedicated to him like Marilyn Monroe and Joe and Rose Kennedy?

A: That's a great question. To some his name might be out of place among those celebrities, but to those that knew him, he fits right in. I know he couldn't be prouder of what I've been able to accomplish due to his past guidance.

Q: You’ll officially open the inn’s 15 rooms for the first time Sunday. What do you most look forward to about the opening?

A: I hired a wonderful couple from Virginia to operate the inn. Bob and Renee Hodges are the innkeepers, and they have been instrumental in getting the inn open. They are looking forward to sharing their southern hospitality and being able host guests. Whether it is a couple looking for a romantic weekend getaway, a family vacation, wedding, reunion, business traveler, or just a late night on the town, we have facilities for all types of travelers. Bob, Renee and I are all looking forward to being a part of the community and meeting our new guests.