Weekapaug Inn, Past and Present
Our story begins in 1899, when Frederick Buffum, a Rhode Island-born entrepreneur, and his wife Phebe, opened a small inn. Sensing the appeal of the Weekapaug beach community, they named it for the location, and sited their resort prominently, on a spit of land between ocean and salt pond that offered splendid, panoramic views. With the goal to attract more families like themselves, the Buffums welcomed guests at the front door with genuine warmth, treating each arriving party as old friends.
This camaraderie, coupled with the Inn’s spectacular location and carefree schedule of boating, swimming, sporting and socializing, quickly made the place a popular destination for guests from throughout New England and beyond. The Buffums found themselves expanding the Inn from its initial capacity of thirty, to space where more than 100 guests could appreciate their renowned hospitality. Like migrating birds, Inn guests returned year after year, filling the place to its rafters.
Because of the precariousness of its beachfront location, the Buffums rebuilt on a more sheltered site on the western shore of Quonochontaug Pond, after the original building was damaged by the hurricane of 1938. The family’s farsighted wisdom to protect the barrier beach, which included convincing other landholders who had lost homes to rebuild back from the dunes, has resulted in a privately owned, secluded enclave in an unparalleled setting that has changed only minimally, with many of its cottages dating back to the early days of Weekapaug, still occupied by descendants of original families. The place retained its beauty, serenity, and coastal character, and the annual migration to the Inn continued for decades.
Although the broader community thrived, the Inn’s single-season business became a difficult economic model for the Buffums to sustain into the twenty-first century. After nearly seventy years at its “new” location, in 2007 the fourth generation of innkeepers regretfully closed their Inn, to the sorrow of many loyal guests, friends and neighbors.
Happily, the story does not end there.
In 2010, Weekapaug resident Lang Wheeler teamed with Watch Hill resident Chuck Royce to create a new plan: they would restore the Inn to discerning standards of comfort and low-key luxury, making it available to guests in all seasons. At the same time, they resolved to maintain the traditions and values that have made the Weekapaug Inn a treasure to those who know it, and a great find for those who will now discover its charms.
The owners and Weekapaug Inn staff cordially invite you to experience this newest chapter of Inn history, and make it part of your own story.