As a boy we used to visit Northfield for various college related events and activities including the Defeat of Jesse James Days celebration, the weekend after Labor Day each year. At teh center of the charming and historical district that Northfield as gone to great extents to preserve is the Archer House Inn. Last winter, my wife and I were invited down to Carlton College and then had to go onto Rochester to show a movie we'd made.
In the spirit of historic Northfield and to celebrate our anniversary we booked a room at Arhcer House and made a dinner reservation at the Ole Store. I was deeply saddened to see what has happened to the Archer House. First, as we approached the lobby through the main door, we discovered that front door had plexy in the place where there was probably once a cut glass or etched glass window.
The hallway floors have been carpeted with cheap carpeting from a discount dsitribution center and inside the rooms, you will find cheap plywood ceiling fans bought form Mennards or Home Depot and poorly finished plywood bars made by amateur carpenters or handimen. The rooms are small which isn't bad, just that they need to be well-appointed and not this tacky for the prices they are charging.
We've traveled fairly extensively in the past couple of years to Boston, Baltimore, New York, Toronto, Galena, IL, and the Pacific Northwest and stayed in historic inns and small charming B&Bs that paid a great deal of attention to detail and preserving the historic charm.
We expect to pay a little more per night for this charm and detail but the Archer House was destroyed by a very poor renovation that is faux-historical with a cheap lumberyard plywood feel. Each room has a theme but all are tacky -- unless you are unworldly enough to think enamel paint on wrought iron cafe stools (patio funriture) and a poster from Molin Rouge makes something Parisine.
And the plexiglass in the front door made it feel like a flop-house in the Midway along University avenue. I hope one of Northfield's sophisticated denizens has the decency to rescue this old inn from the poor makeover it suffered at bthe beginning of this decade.
However, the Ole Store is a fantastic place to eat! Highly recommend!