Lodi’s Hill House re­opens as bed and break­fast

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By John Bays NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

On Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Lodi Hill House Trustee Jane Lea wel­comed guests to the grand re­open­ing of the mu­seum that, af­ter be­ing closed for re­mod­el­ing for a year, will now also serve as a bed and break­fast.

“The tours are free, but we weren’t gen­er­at­ing any in­come,” Lea said. “We de­cided turn­ing it into a bed and break­fast would fit with Lodi be­com­ing more and more of a tourist des­ti­na­tion.”

For $300 a night, guests can rent a suite on the ground floor of the white two-story house with a bed­room, par­lor and bath­room — all of which fea­ture fur­ni­ture that orig­i­nally be­longed to the Hill fam­ily — and ex­pe­ri­ence what life was like when the house was built in the early 1900s.

The house was built in 1901 by the Cary Broth­ers — pop­u­lar builders at the time — and was home to Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Hill, his wife Mary Lewis Hill, their two chil­dren Nel­lie and Mau­rice and Mary’s half-sis­ter Daisy.

When Mau­rice Hill died in 1984, he left the house, its con­tents and $100,000 for its up­keep in a trust, which was used to turn it into the mu­seum it serves as to this day.

The suite will be avail­able Fri­day and Satur­day nights, Lea said, and the Hill House will of­fer a spe­cial rate of $200 per night — with a two-night min­i­mum — from Novem­ber to Fe­bru­ary.

Lea said the Hill House will also be avail­able as a venue for events such as fam­ily re­unions, wed­dings and more, and they will still of­fer tours from 1 to 3 p.m. ev­ery Sun­day ex­cept for hol­i­day week­ends.

Guests can even call ahead to ar­range pri­vate tours on Sun­days, Lea said.

“We hope this will gen­er­ate in­come to keep the house go­ing and keep im­prov­ing,” Lea said. “Mov­ing for­ward, this should be a place that peo­ple think of when they want to have an event.”

Mi­randa LaBecque and Cami Ferry, both ac­tors from In Mo­tion The­ater Com­pany, dressed as Mary and Nel­lie Hill, re­spec­tively, led guests on a tour of the suite be­fore the guests made their way to the back­yard to en­joy wine and ap­pe­tiz­ers as they lis­tened to live jazz mu­sic by gui­tarist Travis Vega.

“This place is ab­so­lutely gor­geous,” Paul An­der­son, Lodi Cham­ber of Com­merce am­bas­sador, said as he sipped a glass of wine. “When I heard they were open­ing up, I was very ex­cited. Lodi needs more bed and break­fasts.”

With money gath­ered from rent­ing the suite and host­ing var­i­ous events, Lea plans to fin­ish restor­ing fur­ni­ture in the up­stairs be­d­rooms to rent to guests in the fu­ture, as well as roughly 180 of Mau­rice Hill’s paint­ings.

“That’s what Mau­rice wanted,” Lea said. “He wanted the house to be open to the pub­lic.”

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing their first dol­lar and a mem­ber­ship plaque from the Lodi Cham­ber of Com­merce’s mem­ber­ship co­or­di­na­tor Ma­rina Nar­varte, Nancy Sch­mer, a Hill House trustee and Lea’s sis­ter, pre­pared to cut the cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon for the Hill House’s grand re­open­ing.

“We’ve been open to the pub­lic since 1991, and we’ve tried to show­case the Hill fam­ily’s love of Lodi and how life was lived when the house was built in 1901,” Sch­mer said. “We have our first book­ing this week­end, and we are so ex­cited.”

JOHN BAYS/NEWS-SEN­TINEL

Hill House trustee Nancy Sh­mer, cen­ter, cuts the cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon held by her sis­ter Jane Lea, also a trustee and Lodi Cham­ber of Com­merce am­bas­sadors while Tracy Merritt, a Hill House His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety board mem­ber, holds their first dol­lar and Cham­ber mem­ber­ship plaque.

JOHN BAYS/NEWS-SEN­TINEL

In Mo­tion The­ater Com­pany ac­tors Mi­randa LaBrecque, left, and Cami Ferry, right, dressed as Mary Hill and Nel­lie Hill re­spec­tively dur­ing the grand re­open­ing of the Hill House Mu­seum and Bed and Break­fast on Thurs­day evening.

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