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Historic inn in Central Pa. changes hands

| Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, 9:57 p.m.

FAIRFIELD — A Central Pennsylvania inn that dates back to 1757 and has sheltered famous guests such as Patrick Henry and Robert E Lee has been sold for $700,000.

The (Hanover) Evening Sun said the winning bid by Katherine Bigler of Orrtanna for the Fairfield Inn in Adams County was $50,000 more than her original price at Saturday afternoon's auction.

Bigler, who will be the 27th owner of the inn, said she was attracted by the history of one of America's oldest inns.

A large crowd gathered in the dining room of the inn for the auction but there were only two bidders, with most people there only to witness a moment in the inn's 250-year history.

Among the onlookers was former owner Dave Thomas, who said it was his first time visiting the inn since he sold it 10 years ago. He said the experience of being back and seeing the place sold again was strange and bittersweet.

Similar emotions were expressed by Sal and Joan Chandon, who bought the property in 2002. Sal Chandon said they enjoyed serving guests and explaining the history of the inn, playing much the same role as innkeepers did 200 years ago.

“Our life is here. The inn has taken care of us as much as we have taken care of it,” he said.

But after 10 years, he said, it's time for a break. Sal Chandon said he hopes to devote more time to his sound engineering business, and the family plans to travel.

They will remain owners for at least four more months, and plan to help Bigler and her husband, John Kramb, for their first few months of ownership.

Sal Chandon said he's happy that he will be able to celebrate the 255th Christmas at the Inn with guests this year.

Bigler said she has no immediate plans for changes at the inn, because she likes what the Chandons have done with the property.

“We're excited,” she said.

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