The Chapman farm, former home to nine generations of the Chapman family, consists of 31 acres of rolling fields and a pond. Area residents may be most familiar with the farm’s white farmhouse and huge red hay barn and milking shed, which are visible from Main Street. People will also remember the farm as the site of the Miles Memorial Hospital Rummage Sale for many years. When asked why the family decided to sell the farm to Inn Along the Way, family member John Gallagher said, “David Chapman had the opportunity to sell the property many times in the past for much greater sums, but David thought of his community as his home and could not see any outside commercial enterprise improving his community by developing his land. The family felt that Inn Along the Way will better this community, and that is what David and Madeline would have wanted were they still here.”
Several clusters of cozy, environmentally friendly homes will be built on the property and rented on a long-term, “ability to pay” basis. Residents will be invited to share their gifts of time and wisdom through a collaborative support arrangement, creating a culture of interdependence and caring. In addition to the homes, several respite cottages are planned. These will be made available to the public on a limited-time basis for caregivers or their loved ones who are moving through the end days of life.
An early goal is to create a public gathering space in the farmhouse serving tea and coffee, with a small inn and café to follow. Some of the agricultural land will be available to local organic farmers, with potential for a seasonal farm stand. An art center and other meeting and classroom spaces will be created, all with the goal of drawing in the public. While these activities will generate income for the nonprofit, even more important will be the resulting intergenerational encounters between the Inn Along the Way’s residents and the broader community. The aim is to banish the sense of isolation and loneliness sometimes suffered by elders and replace it with a sense of purpose and belonging.
The Design Team
Architect Rick Burt has been selected by the board as the architect for this project. He has many years of experience working with boards, non-profits, and tight budgets. Rick was the architect for the Rising Tide project in Damariscotta, and he worked with the board at Lincoln Academy to develop the first master plan for the campus, before going on to design and oversee the construction of the Dining Hall and Science Building. He was instrumental in the transformation of a derelict boarding house into the now gracious and lovely Nebo Lodge on North Haven. We hope that you will take time to visit his website (www.richardburtarchitects.com) to learn more about him. Rick's understanding of the ethos of Inn Along the Way at the Chapman farm, the history, and the community, were all facets of what spoke to those of us around the table. As one member remarked, "he gets it."
Landscape Architect Ray Cragin brings an important mix of experience and expertise. Ray's early experience as a recreational planner, designing campgrounds as well as picnic and scenic areas for the U.S. Forest Service in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire, dovetails nicely with our vision of creating Inn Along the Way as a community destination replete with walking trails and picnic areas, where one can simply enjoy the pastoral surroundings of the Chapman farm. This, combined with Ray's later experience in the site planning of senior housing, churches, schools, condominiums, apartments, and municipal buildings, makes Ray's very generous donation an important component to us at this stage and greatly appreciated!