Cozy, boutique, design
194 Perry Avenue Norwalk, CT 203-489-9000 graybarns.com
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At a Glance
The iconic Connecticut escape Silvermine Tavern has been reimagined as GrayBarns, a chic, design-forward, six-room inn with a fabulous restaurant.
- The history of the property, including playing host to mid-century celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, Spencer Tracy and Arthur Miller
- The complimentary mini-bars that feature organic snacks like sweet potato chips and chocolate clusters as well as wine, beer and Champagne
- Supremely comfortable guest rooms with gas fireplaces, Frette linens, oversized bathrooms, four-poster beds and mohair-upholstered sofas
GrayBarns is the newest iteration of the former Silvermine Tavern property, once a textile factory in the 1800s and later a famed retreat popular with Manhattan dwellers for weekend getaways and local families for celebratory meals. In recent years, however, the property had fallen into disrepair until a local custom-home builder purchased the plot with the vision of reinvigorating the hotel, restaurant and event spaces. In the fall of 2017, GrayBarns opened, as a six-bedroom inn, tavern and mercantile shop.
The Silvermine area of Connecticut (located on the border of New Canaan and Norwalk, about an hour outside of New York City) has seen economic success from its 19th-century mills and timber business, and then a creative wave with the founding of the revered Silvermine Artist Guild. Today, it is a lovely, quiet neighborhood that marries suburban peacefulness with the countryside bucolic nature of New England.
The diminutive inn is home to six king suites, which are spacious, bright and beautifully designed—think California wine country meets the U.K.’s Cotswolds with a healthy dose of East Coast tradition. The owner, Andrew Glazer, says the goal is to “preserve and salvage unique historical elements of each space, while at the same time giving them an updated feel.” The result is wide, unvarnished floorboards, ceiling beams of salvaged wood, coffee-table books about the area and plush, cozy textiles (including velveteen sofas, cashmere throws, wool arm chairs and Frette linens).
The adjacent restaurant is open to non-guests and has become the happening hot spot of the residential area. The buzzing bar serves excellent cocktails and the comfortable dining room offers a well-curated menu including dishes like gemelli with grilled octopus, radicchio and ricotta salad and a great ribeye steak. Service is excellent, the wine list is impressive and the space is so well-designed, dinner and drinks might turn into an evening-long affair. Luckily for guests of GrayBarns, bed isn’t far away.
Who Should Stay
GrayBarns is open only to adults (guests must be 18 or older). There is no gym or spa, but the property offers in-room massages, private yoga and boxing lessons in the Barn, providing a personalized service catered to each guest. The grounds aren’t huge, so the property more closely resembles a b&b in terms of amenities; but for a romantic night or weekend away, few other properties can compare.
— Amelia Osborne Scott