Location: Westerly, Rhode Island
General Description: The history of Weekapaug Inn begins in 1899, when Frederick Buffam built a small inn of 30 rooms on a spit of land between ocean and salt pond. Renowned for their hospitality, treating all guests as family beginning with meeting each guest at the door, the small inn prospered in the early 1900s. When severely damaged in a hurricane in 1938, they rebuilt a much larger inn of over 100 rooms set back from the dunes. Weekapaug Inn was only open in the summer season, but was filled to rafters every year with many returning guests each summer that stayed for a month or more at a time. Through four generations, the Buffam family continued to offer the same brand of hospitality and relaxed atmosphere. However, this economic model proved difficult by the turn of the century and the old hotel was becoming expensive to maintain and did not have many of the more modern facilities. In 2007 they closed the door over the objections of their long time guests and community. Weekapaug Inn was not finished, however, for in 2010 Weekapuag resident Lang Wheeler teamed with Watch Hill resident, Chuck Royce, restored the Inn to discerning standards of comforts and low-key luxury, making it available to guests in all seasons while maintaining the hospitality and family atmosphere. Today Weekapaug Inn is listed on the Registry of Historic Places, while offering fully modern accommodations in a beautiful and serene setting along the coast of Rhode Island.
1) We visited Weekapaug Inn because I worked there during the summer of 1973 under the third generation of the Buffam family. It was an enjoyable summer on the staff and I agree with everything in their advertisement about the hospitality offered to each and every guest. As one of the houseboys I worked behind the scene sweeping, cleaning, assisting the chambermaids, rearranging furniture for different activities, and even setting up guests rooms with personal items they stored at the Inn for there use each summer.
2) While there are many changes in the Inn over the past 40+ years, it is still the same hotel and the view of the ocean is everything I remembered. I had a chance to talk with the current manager who was very pleased to see me and talk about the changes that had occurred. I also met a gentleman on the staff that worked there in the 1983 and between the two of us we identified most of the changes in buildings. For instance, the dorm that I lived in is no longer there and was closer to the Inn than I remembered.
3) During the period of time that I was there, the staff were all college students from mostly the New England area and today the staff is still primarily college students. However, most of these students are majoring in Hotel Management and are from around the world. The other main difference is now the guests are short term, staying only a couple of nights to a week at a time instead of for months and the Inn is now open all year.