During the winter lull, the Brown County Inn has been getting the face-lift its new owners have been dreaming of since they bought the property last summer.
Barry and Deborah Herring bought the landmark hotel from Andy Rogers, who had owned it for 24 years. They are running it with the help of their daughter, Courtney Gosser, and her husband, Dietrich.
It was closed all of January and reopened Feb. 4 — though work isn’t finished yet, Courtney Gosser said.
The renovated dining room, bar and pool facilities are all open for business. But the first 19 renovated guest rooms won’t be available until Valentine’s Day, she said.
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From there, they will reopen the renovated areas one 20-room section at a time, Deborah Herring said. The goal is to have all 99 rooms completed and available by the end of April.
The hotel was taken down to bare bones in many areas, Gosser said.
One are that needed a great deal of updating was the Town Hall room, which is rented for banquets and other large events, Deborah Herring said. It has been completely redone in a more modern and muted theme that will make it easier for parties to decorate to suit their needs, she said.
The overhead doors at the pool have been replaced, and they open onto a new outdoor deck running the perimeter. The pool was power washed and repainted and all the other equipment was replaced, Herring said.
Gosser showed off the strings of barn-style lighting that adorn the main dining room, replacing the former chandeliers.
The dining room now has a wood floor and a new set of sliding doors to separate it into sections.
While much of the menu will be familiar, the ingredients will now be fresh, local and even homemade — from the jams and salad dressing to the french fries, Gosser said. There will be more healthy options, too, including a vegetarian sandwich and more fresh produce.
“The idea of it will stay similar, but each of the ingredients will be homemade,” she said.
Plus, guests who sleep in will be able to get brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Gosser said.
Yet in the midst of all the new, there is still room for the old, Gosser said.
The dining room chairs and tables were kept. The solid pieces of wood that paneled the guest rooms are being reused to make headboards in the new rooms.
Touches of the old wood will be used in the renovated bar, too, Gosser said.
It’s important to them to honor the favorite memories of their guests by holding onto some of the familiar.
“It will still feel like Brown County,” Herring said.
Helping that feeling will be familiar faces, Gosser said.
“All of our staff are coming back, which is incredible,” she said.
Many of the staff never left during the renovation: the Herrings invited any who wanted to the opportunity to work alongside them on the renovation.
“Everyone’s been working really hard,” Gosser said. “We’re managing our stress and our workload every second.
“Luckily we have a lot of help, and a lot of people who will roll with the punches,” she said. “Because they’re flexible, it’s less stressful.”