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, the Buffums constructed the Inn on a prominent spit of land between the Atlantic Ocean and salt pond that offered stunning, panoramic views. With the goal to make it a resort for families like themselves, the Buffums exuded hospitality, welcoming guests at the front door with cheer and genuine warmth.
This camaraderie, coupled with the Inn’s spectacular location and carefree schedule of boating, swimming, sporting and socializing, quickly made the Inn a popular destination for guests from throughout New England and beyond. The Buffums found themselves expanding the Inn from its initial capacity of 30 to a 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.
Guests Were Welcomed At the Front Door
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.
The Next Generation of Hospitality
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, 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 at this historic Rhode Island inn.