Located in the township of Grafton, two miles from the village, Woodchuck Hill Farm is located off Middletown Road in what was the original settlement known as Thomlinson. This was the first permanent settlement from 1780, also sometimes known as Middletown or Middle- of-the-town. On Middletown Road you will see the bronze marker indicating the locations of several of the buildings of this settlement. Only the first cemetery, stonewalls and cellerholes remain. With a population of 561 people in 1791, the town was an active community created by adventurous individuals and families moving into Vermont's virgin wilderness from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
One of these men was William Hall who made the journey with oxen and wagon from Salem, N.H. in 1787. On November 6, 1788, the Reverend William Hall was ordained on Middletown Hill as pastor of the congregation, Grafton's first minister. He would remain the spiritual leader of the settlement until his retirement in 1815. In 1792, Rev. Hall exchanged his property on Middletown Hill for the Edward Putnam farm. Rev. Hall built a stately new home overlooking the Thomlinson congregation. The home was known as the "first parsonage". It is now the Inn at Woodchuck Hill Farm.
Rev Hall and his family lived in this house until his death in 1823. His son, also William Hall, went on to found one of the earliest general stores in Thomlinson with Nathan Wheeler. The Adin Culver family moved into the house after purchasing it from the Hall family. During this period, the Inn's third floor was used as a cobbler shop by Charles "Gramp" Culver who traveled the districts roads making and repairing shoes. Another family member , Allen Culver, operated a busy blacksmith shop next to the meadow behind the Inn. There was also a sugar house next to the Inn boiling sap for maple sugar every Spring. Dating back to the Hall family, the stone foundation is all that has survived.
In the late 1930its s, the farm was purchased by Dr. and Mary Strong. The Strong's purchased additional acreage to the West to create what are the present day property boundaries. In the 1950's, the farm came under the ownership of Col. and Mrs. McKeege. They began the extensive renovations to restore the building after decades of decline and decay ensuring that Rev. Halls' "first parsonage" would still be around in 200 more years.
The barn on the property is known as a "bank barn". It is constructed against a large stone wall built into a sloping earth bank. This allowed for hay to be brought directly into the second floor by wagon and stored. The hay was dropped down to the animals on the lower level as needed. This barn was originally located in Houghtonville, another early settlement up the old road about 1 1/2 miles. Dismantled and moved to the property in the early 1800s, it was located 100' to the west of its present site. The huge stone wall, 20' in height, remains where the barn was located. In the 1950s it was again moved to prevent its continued deterioration. It was also made smaller, cutting away the rotten timbers. Reconstructed at its present site, the barn renovation began in 1975 with the Barn Residential Suite. Further design and construction ended in 1996 with the completion of the Barn I and Barn II Suites.
Anne and Frank Gabriel purchased the property in 1963 shortly after moving to Grafton. The Gabriels' property criteria were: top of a hill, end of the road, and the house had to be old. For many years Gabriels' Barn, their antique business was on the property. The West wing of the Inn was also added in the 1970s. Mark and Marilyn Gabriel returned to Woodchuck Hill Farm in 1990, residing in the newly built Spruce Cottage. This is a 1790's reproduction cape which became available for guest rentals in 2000.