The Horse and Hound Inn opened in 1946 as a tasteful inn, tavern and restaurant. With three fireplaces and knotty pine paneling throughout, the inn welcomed everyone from Hollywood stars to local outdoor enthusiasts, and quickly established a reputation for great food, elegant lodging and warm hospitality.
The inn rests on a farm whose history can be traced to the 1830s . Sometime around that period a farmhouse with attached barn and shed were built on the site. The farm was sited on approximately 160 acres and in the later decades of the 1800s provided fresh produce for the Profile House Hotel located in Franconia Notch.
Through the first half of the 20th century the area surrounding Wells Road became increasingly popular as an outdoor vacation destination. In 1911 Congress passed the Weeks Act which created the White Mountain National Forest. The White Mountain National Forest borders the inn property. In the 1930s, the popularity of skiing at Cannon Mountain increased dramatically with the installation of the first aerial tramway in North America, further enhancing the location of farm as a potential site for a hospitality venue highlighting great food and the great outdoors. The creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) by President Franklin D. Roosevelt put thousands of men to work in the national parks and forests building trails, constructing shelters and planting trees. These laudable efforts by the federal government further helped make the White Mountains a year-round destination for hiking, skiing and sightseeing.
Following the end of World War II, the country was ready to continue its affinity for the great outdoors. William V.C. Ruxton, a retired Wall Street financier who made his fortune during the Roaring Twenties, purchased the farm and the surrounding 250 acres with the intent of developing an elegant inn, tavern and restaurant to cater to outdoor enthusiasts. The inn was marketed as "a country inn with a country club atmosphere."
The focus of the new inn was its spacious restaurant and cheery tavern. The kitchen was large and state-of-the-art for 1946, with an enclosed loading dock, and sizeable walk-in freezers and coolers.
Upstairs, the inn was designed to cater to a wide range of customers. While one end of the building contained large rooms with private baths and sitting rooms, the other end of the inn contained bunk rooms for skiers and hikers, with a community bathroom at the end of the hall.
During the 1950s and 1960s the Horse & Hound became the primary après ski spot for skiers having spent the day at Cannon. Thanks to its location, one could ski down the mountain via the Tuckerbook Trail and take several lesser trails to the back door of the inn. The stories of après ski parties at the Horse & Hound during this period are legendary. Skiers would fill the tavern and dining room until just before 6:00 p.m. when they would be politely (or not so politely) be asked to leave to make room for the service of formal dinner.
The restaurant at the Horse & Hound flourished during this period. The economic boom which followed the end of World War II created a market for fine dining in rustic locations, and the Horse & Hound was perfectly suited to meet this demand. Lavish silver filled the dining room, and patrons had their cars polished across the road while dining.
While we don't expect to revive days past, we do expect to create an environment for you that parallels that experienced decades ago. The cheery tavern, gracious dining room, elegant lobby, handsome library and restful guest rooms will welcome you to relax and unwind after an active day in the great outdoors.
205 Wells Road
Franconia, NH 03580
(800) 450-5501    (603) 823-5501
© 2013 Horse & Hound Inn
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