You know those times when you start your day, completely unaware that, before the sun sets, you are going to have something unexpected and wonderful happen? That’s what happened to me the day I visited the incredibly gorgeous Anne’s Washington Inn, and had the pleasure of meeting the very warm and hospitable Joe and Kathy Bokan.
For as long as I can remember (and I’m talking since childhood), I have looked up the hill on the park side of S. Broadway and wondered about what I perceived to be the mysterious and beautiful white buildings only partially seen from the road. I have been following Anne’s Washington Inn for a while now on Instagram and FB and, a couple of months ago, I sent them a message asking if I could come and take some photos. The response was immediate and very welcoming. Despite my excitement, I decided to hold off until the snow was gone and things started to grow and warm up around here.
I finally visited a couple of weeks ago, late in the afternoon on a warm and sunny early spring day. As soon as I got out of the car, Kathy was greeting me and welcoming me to what, as far as I could tell based on my initial impressions, was an utterly charming and elegant oasis on top of that hill!
After getting briefly acquainted (and it would be impossible for anyone NOT to like her), she encouraged me to wander about the grounds and take all the photos I wanted, and then to feel free to come into the Inn and explore to my heart’s content. I was in heaven.
After finishing my self-guided tour of the main house, I came back downstairs and bumped into Joe Bokan, son of Anne after whom the Inn is named. Joe was every bit as warm and welcoming as his wife, his big grin and easy manner making it easy to become instant friends.
Joe took me through the main house again, offering history and stories associated with the Inn and the individual rooms. And, make no mistake, those rooms are gorgeous. The word “charming” was popping into my head at every turn and there were several times when I audibly gasped.
The rooms are bright and beautiful, each different in Victorian decor, and all with beautiful antiques, and gorgeous rugs, comforters, pillows and amenities…again, so CHARMING and exactly what you would expect when picturing a true Saratoga experience.
We then headed over to the other house and explored/toured the rooms there as well. Equally spectacular!
The Inn has been owner-operated for three generations. The main house was built in the late 19th century, and purchased by Dr. R.H. McCarty in the early 1900’s. It was used by Dr. McCarty as his office and a labor and delivery hospital; he built the second house as a home for his family. In 1943, Charles Russell purchased the hospital and opened it as an inn, initially named the “Washington Inn,” and was run by his daughter, Anne, and her husband for 40 years. Joe and Kathy have been running it ever since. For a more detailed history and additional information, check out their website at http://anneswi.com/ and their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/AnnesWashingtonInn/.
After touring both houses and the grounds, we finished our visit with a relaxing chat on the beautiful wrap around porch (I am SUCH a sucker for porches), sitting in rocking chairs, drinking delicious spring water (from the Empire Spring and served at the Inn), and having the most fun and interesting conversations. I also met another really interesting guy who joined us on the porch…a true expert on all of the mineral springs in Saratoga…but I’m going to save that for another post after I take one of his tours.
Anne’s Washington Inn is the perfect destination for a wedding and reception as well…but only if you are looking for magic, beauty and charm for your special day. After doing my research, I realized that there was just too much to say and I didn’t want to leave anything out. Happily, I found this link to a FANTASTIC video about weddings at the Inn. If you’re interested in learning more, this is well worth a watch: https://youtu.be/wXbyZGKKzgU. I borrowed a few wedding shots from Joe:
And no wedding at the Inn would be complete without at least a FEW shots taken with this lovely 1927 Buick, lovingly and painstakingly restored by Joe himself…
To wrap things up here, I will finish by saying that my years of wondering about the beautiful buildings on top of the hill were satisfied by the overwhelming beauty and hospitality I discovered when I finally drove up there and saw it all for myself. And the warmth and kindness of Joe and Kathy Bokan will not be forgotten; I now consider them friends. I actually asked them to adopt me so that I would never have to leave (never mind that I’m actually older than both of them)!