The original Airport Rooms sign and its neon is being restored and will be put back in place.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Tourists is planning a new eatery that will reflect some of the 200-year-old history of the property.
The Airport Rooms will open in February in the historic 1813 farmhouse that first welcomed visitors to the area.
It marks a significant change in the resort's plans for a fine-dining restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue that guests at the State Road motel would have accessed via a bucolic trail over the river.
In a press release Wednesday, the motel said it the Airport Rooms will be "serving classic cocktails and a creative food menu from Austin [Texas] native, Greg Thomas."
The developers of the former Redwood Motel had touched on some possibilities for the farmhouse but had not integrated it fully into their plans until now.
A restaurant had been planned adjacent to the motel on State Road but complications of siting it near the Hoosic River led the group to look toward Blackinton, where it has been buying up properties including the Blackinton Mill.
Award-winning chef Cortney Burns had been key to the development of farm-to-table restaurant Loom in the former Our Lady of Incarnation Church on Massachusetts Avenue. The plans had been approved by the Planning Board back in October. But Burns is apparently out of the picture, focusing on a forthcoming cookbook and other projects.
The food and beverage menu at the lodge and deck bar is being taken over by chef Corey Wentworth, formerly of Boston's Flour Bakery. The motel is also working to create a venue for larger gatherings in response to inquiries from guests and residents.
Tourists opened in August after several years of development. According to the release, the decision to open the Airport Rooms was also based on feedback over the past five months from guests and residents.
"As a result, we have decided to not build a fine dining restaurant on the Tourists property at this time and are instead focusing on enhancing our food and drink offerings with a lively new addition."
The nine-room farmhouse was known as Airport Rooms and Tourist Home from 1944 to 1995, accommodating travelers along Route 2 and those who flew into Harriman & West Airport located across the street. The Airport Rooms will be open daily from 5-11 p.m. serving drinks, dinner, snacks and more.
Benjamin Svenson, one of the principals in the motel development, said he couldn't speak to the decisions being made on the restaurants but could on the motel's operations so far.
"Things are going really well. We're blessed to have the audience we've had to date," he said. In barely five months, Tourists has welcomed more than 4,000 guests.
Svenson said the hope was that Tourists would attract people to North Adams and, based on conversations with and feedback from guests, that seems to be the case.
"The vast majority are being introduced to North Adams for the first time," he said.
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