Our Christmas Story
Part jail, part church, part farm house… Few country inns have as fragmented a history as the Christmas Farm Inn. Sadly, most of the official records of the inn’s early years were destroyed by a fire in the courthouse in 1886, but certain remnants of those roots have been passed down through time.
The original building – the front section of the red house-was built more than 200 years ago. This Cape Cod-style “saltbox” believed to be built in 1778, was the farmhouse of the Rufus Pinkham family. The front portion of the white main building was erected about 1786 and became the new Pinkham homestead. The red house was then converted to storage use. At one point, though, the red house was the local lockup!
The property passed through several owners before Chase B. Perkins acquired it from his brother in 1883. As more visitors came to the area, Chase Perkins decided inn keeping would be a profitable sideline to the ever-risky farming business. Before long, “Perkins Cottages” were going so well that Chase had to expand. An addition to the Main Inn was extended out behind the original two stories, but that even wasn’t enough. Guests at this time were almost totally summer visitors in this country. Rather than build again, Chase decided to move the abandoned “Free Will Baptist Church” from just up the road and attached it to the back of the Inn.
The structure was jacked up, lowered onto logs, and pulled here by oxen where it was secured to the existing Inn. This structure had been built in 1803 as Jackson’s first church. A tablet still marks the original location a mile toward Black Mountain at the “triangle.” Stand outside the Main Inn facing the porch and you can clearly see the outline of the old church.
The Inn and farm survived the Depression and after 50 years in the family Chase Perkin’s daughter sold the farm to a gentleman from Philadelphia who gave it to his daughter as a Christmas present! She renamed the place ‘Christmas Farm’ and had romantic dreams of making it a working farm, which failed miserably and he ended up selling the farm to Doris and Dick Welch in 1946 who renamed it to the Christmas Farm Inn. A photo of the Inn’s very first guests that winter, the Freeman family, of 1946 still hangs in the lobby of the Inn (the Freeman family has been returning to the Inn for the last 3 generations!).
In the 70’s the Welches sold the business to the Powers who were the co-founders of the now famous Jackson Ski Touring Foundation-the nation’s first municipal ski touring operation-which was formed right here at the living room of the main inn.
In 1976, the Inn was purchased by Bill and Synda Zeliff who ran the Inn successfully for 24 years, making it a household name and one of the most popular places to stay in the White Mountains.
The Zeliffs sold the Inn to the Tolley family in 2000 who added the Carriage House and Spa, indoor pool and fitness center to the property, making it the resort it is today. The Tolleys are now in joint venture with the new Innkeepers Gary and Sandra Plourde since August 2010. Freshly arrived from South Africa, they have chosen Jackson as their home after living abroad for many years. Originally from Maine and Germany, Gary and Sandra have come here with many years of hotel experience and a passion to re-establish the Christmas Farm Inn & Spa as a first choice for travelers to the region.