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About Us

Guests of The Fan House Bed and Breakfast in Barnard, Vermont, experience concierge-style service in a world-class setting near Woodstock, Vermont.  Resident host Sara Widness comes to inn keeping after a career in international public relations that led her to, among others, Rio de Janeiro, Myanmar (Burma), Australia's Gold Coast and Botswana. Her clients schooled her in the art of delivering the finest in service and accommodation which she now brings to her inn in Barnard, a region second to none in natural beauty. As with anything that's become an antique, The Fan House is about lore and legend.

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A place with soul is bound to have a lot of history surrounding it.


  • Were those bricks discovered in the attic really used as shields against Indian arrows way back in 1840?

  • What about the gardens that were said to be the showplace of Barnard? (We’re working on bringing those back, by the way.)

  • Vermont's first female lawyer lived here.

  • A Vermont artist, Wm. B. Hoyt, lived here. (Today he commands six figures for his paintings, some of which fell out of the barn that was razed a few years ago. Those paintings now hang in The Fan House.

But today The Fan House is also about what it has become 160 years later:

  • Original floorboards measuring 18 inches from trees long obsolete

  • Woodwork that speaks to the transition from simple cottage to the more ornate fin-de-siecle

  • Textures of heirloom tapestries complimenting paintings gleaned from around the world

  • Senses that luxuriate in 300+ thread count linens, down comforters and wrap-around bath sheets

  • Relaxing massage treatments in the privacy of your own room

  • Private yoga sessions

  • Sensibilities reminiscent of a Mediterranean patois in the choice of fabrics and décor

  • The Chateauguay across the steep incline to the brook, a close-to forest primeval

  • Birch trees and perennial gardens

  • Leisurely home-crafted breakfasts

  • And much more than we can elucidate here.

The Fan House is also said to be a replica of a dwelling that once graced the property of nearby (a mile up the road) Twin Farms where author Sinclair Lewis and journalist Dorothy Thompson lived.

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