We are pleased to present these resources to help you best enjoy your visit to The Wayside Inn Historic Site. Although our grounds are open for public enjoyment from dawn to dusk, our grounds and buildings are private property, and we ask all visitors to please observe our policies.
As part of our commitment to reduce waste and be more sustainable, we’ve made our general property brochure and trail map available for download and printing at home. You can also use the interactive map below to learn more about our property features and buildings. We look forward to your visit.
Click the key landmarks on the interactive map below to find out more about the buildings and natural settings.
This water-powered stone reproduction of an early American grist mill was built by Henry Ford as an educational facility in recognition of the importance of milling throughout history. It was built near the location of the original early-1700s How family grist mill, and ground its first cornmeal on Thanksgiving day in 1929. Used for many years by Pepperidge Farms to grind flour for their baked products, it is recognizable to this day as the inspiration for the company’s logo. Today, the mill is used for grinding grains used in our baked goods and famous muffins served in our restaurant. Sacks of whole wheat flour and whole corn meal burrstone-ground at the mill are available for sale in our l thrug Noveber, Wednesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Staffed by a trained interpreter and miller, the interior is open and grinding demonstrations are held mostly on weekends when visitor traffic is highest.
This small structure was built by Henry Ford in 1930 to house a cider press to process apples from extensive orchards Ford had planted on the property, although there is no evidence it was ever used as such. A recent study of the building's construction method and materials suggests it may have been relocated to the property by Ford from a northern New England coastal town. Thanks to generous donations, we have recently restored the Cider Mill. Closed to the public.
This is the last remaining barn that belonged to the How(e) family and is believed to have been built in the early 1800s. Its importance is supported by historical records in our archives indicating the cultivation of hay, apples, Indian corn, rye, oats, and the raising of swine, sheep, cows, oxen and horses. Today, the stalls in the barn are used to display coaches, farming tools, and other artifacts from the Inn’s collections. The barn is also seasonally used for a flower and plant business operated by a local proprietor, and for special Inn-related functions.
Now referred to as the Gate House, construction of this building was completed in 1913 by then-owner Edward R. Lemon, who built the structure to house his coach and antique collection. Originally built near the Longfellow Memorial Gardens using salvaged timbers from Colonial era taverns and houses, the building was moved to its present location by Henry Ford during his ownership of the property. Today, this building is used for private residences for inn staff and as the private offices of The Wayside Inn Foundation. Closed to the visiting public.
Located just 300 yards from the Inn and sitting majestically at the top of a grassy knoll framed by towering pine trees, the Martha-Mary Chapel was built in 1940 by Henry Ford during his ownership of The Wayside Inn property. Named after Mr. Ford’s mother and mother-in-law, the nondenominational chapel was built by young men who were part of Ford’s experimental Wayside Inn Boy’s School then located on the property, largely using wood from trees that fell during the great hurricane of 1938, and used as the school’s daily chapel. From its gilded-banner weathervane atop the stark white spire, to the elegant Waterford crystal chandelier above the classic pews, the chapel’s quintessential New England charm makes it a favorite setting for many weddings and inspiration for countless photographs and paintings. Visitors are invited to enjoy the chapel grounds, but the chapel is open only for Inn events and private functions.
Nestled under great oak trees lining a quaint old stagecoach road, Longfellow's Wayside Inn sits proudly as the centerpiece of The Wayside Inn Historic District. First built in 1707 as a family home for the How family, a license for a “house of entertainment” was issued in 1716 to provide rooms, meals and spirits to travelers along the Old Boston Post Road, an important route linking Boston to points west. For over 300 years, the Inn has been providing warm hospitality to visitors from near and afar. Today, the Inn has eight traditional guest rooms, two historic guest rooms, and ten dining/function rooms to enjoy special functions or our legendary New England cuisine served daily at lunch and dinner. In addition, we maintain three period-style museum rooms (including the Longfellow parlor, inspirational setting for Longfellow’s epic work, Tales of a Wayside Inn) exhibiting historic objects pertaining to the How(e) family and life in an early American rural farming community. Visitors wishing to dine or stay overnight are encouraged to make reservations in advance.
Tent weddings are available from May through October and can accommodate up to 200 seated dinner guests. Beautifully situated between the Longfellow Memorial Gardens and our lily pond, our peaked white tent creates a lovely atmosphere for unforgettable dining and dancing pleasure. We hold only one tent wedding per day and provide a wedding hostess to assist you, to ensure your day will flow smoothly. Our professional staff and impeccable service combines with the exceptional quality of our food to produce a memorable wedding reception that everyone will enjoy.
This three-story building, built in the 1930s, served the Inn during the years of ownership by Henry Ford for storage of ice cut from the adjacent lily pond (named “Josephine’s Pond” after one of Ford’s granddaughters). Ice cut from the pond during winter months was stored in this building (protected from melting with hay) and could last well into fall months. Today, this building is used by the Inn for storage and is closed to the publi
This charming one-room schoolhouse was built in 1798 in Sterling, Massachusetts and gained fame as the likely school referenced in the famous poem Mary Had a Little Lamb, published by Sarah Josepha Hale in 1830. Purchased by Henry Ford and moved to its current location (along with its outhouse) in 1927, it was actually used by the Town of Sudbury as a public school until 1951 for grades one through four. Interesting fact: Thomas Edison, a close friend of Henry Ford, and frequent visitor to the Inn, made the first recording of a human voice in history reading this poem. The school house is open mid-May through mid-October, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am to 5pm, and staffed by a trained interpreter with information on schooling traditions in rural New England communities from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This building is not heated and open depending upon weather, so those planning a special visit are encouraged to call ahead.
Grist Mill Pond was constructed in the 1920s to dam a source of water to power the Grist Mill. The Grist Mill Pond feeds into the Hop Brook, which is partially diverted to feed the waterwheel on our Grist Mill, and then continues to be a tributary of the Charles River which flows all the way to Boston Harbor.
This small lily pond was named by Henry Ford after one of his granddaughters is now seasonally stocked with trout for fly-fishing (catch and release, and please feel free to use the nearby “Flybrary.” During the winter months, ice from this pond wash cut and harvested and stored in our Ice House next to the pond during Ford’s ownership.
These English gardens were designed and first planted in 1905 by Ella Lemon, sister of Edward Lemon, owner of The Wayside Inn property from 1897-1923. History suggests that a portion of the “west coping wall” was constructed with bricks sourced from the torn down remains of the John Hancock House in Boston. In 1918, Mr. Lemon added a bust (similar to the located in the Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey) of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in a prominent niche at the center of the far garden wall. A lovely space for personal inspiration and reflection, the Longfellow Memorial Gardens are also available for weddings and other ceremonies.
The “driveway” just outside the front door of the Inn is in fact part of the original King’s Road dating back to the 1600s that connected Boston to points west. In 1896, this road was relocated about 50 feet away from the Inn, to pull the carriage traffic on the dusty dirt road away from the front of the Inn. That new road, then known as Post Road, is what is known today as Wayside Inn Road. In 1926, after Henry Ford purchased the Inn, due to the increasing heavy automobile traffic on this road, which vibrations were causing damage to the Inn’s foundations, he constructed a new road that completely bypassed the property (the current parallel portion of Route 20, visible up on the hill across from the Inn). Today, we maintain this small historic stretch of the “Old Boston Post Road” and although limited automobile use is permitted, it is used mostly for wedding processions, pedestrian travel between the Inn and the Chapel and Grist Mill, colonial parades, militia reenactments, fox hunts, and other events where the authentic historic aesthetic of the road is valued as an approach to and from the Inn.