From the beginning...
The Winsor family and Duxbury have been linked together since the town was first settled in 1632. The first Winsors came to America onboard the Mayflower, and after landing in Plymouth, they migrated to Duxbury and created a life there. Living in a seaside village during the era of maritime commerce, the Winsors became prosperous shipbuilders; and their fleet of seaworthy vessels charted courses around the globe.
The history of the Winsor House Inn begins with a wedding gift. Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., was the third generation of this prosperous, ship building Winsor family. He gifted a piece of land to his daughter and son-in-law, John Howland, so that the young couple could build a home and start a life together. The newlywed Howlands built their home here in 1803, and this is the property that we know now as the Winsor House Inn.
The property was maintained by the Winsor family through the nineteenth century, but at the turn of the twentieth century, the home was abandoned by the family for more than 30 years, because the owners moved to England. 390 Washington Street developed an aura of forlorn mystery in the time it sat uninhabited. The gates and windows were shut, the shades were pulled down, and the grass grew long. Children in the village wondered if the house was haunted.
In 1932, the property came alive again. It had been gifted to Daniel Winsor, who moved to Duxbury to convert the home into an inn. Daniel and his wife Marie transformed the stately home into a bustling center of activity in the community. With Daniel tending bar and Marie serving as hostess, this Winsor couple created the culture of warm hospitality that is still alive in the Winsor House Inn today.
In the 1950s Daniel and Marie Winsor retired, and they sold the property to a French chef, Lucien Vivas. This was the first time in 169 years that the property was not owned by a Winsor. From Vivas’ ownership, the property was purchased by the restaurateur, David Wells, in 1969. After two short years, the three brothers Connor assumed ownership. They in turn sold the property to David and Patricia O’Connell in 1976. The O’Connells assumed leadership for thirty-seven years, and they preserved the Winsor House Inn’s role as the town’s social center, the destination for all occasions, special or simple.
In 2013 two generations of a Duxbury family who were already neighbors to the property became the new owners of the Winsor House Inn. Husband and wife, Chuck Weilbrenner and Holly Safford, and their sons, Andrew and Alex Marconi, respect the rich history of this community treasure. They are committed to preserving its legacy of gracious hospitality, and they are inspired to elevate the dining experience for all who enter their doors.