Stonover Inn Turns From Rock Music Producer to Former Broadway Star and ‘West Wing’ Actress | Central Berkshires


LENOX – Many locals still call it “the duck farm” – officially, the Stonover Inn, a historic Under Mountain Road property owned for 20 years by former rock music producer Tom Werman and his wife, Suky, an educator who reinvented himself as an art gallery curator for the farm’s renovated barn.

Randy Grimmett and Allison Smith bought Stonover Farm from Tom and Suky Werman. The location is well known for its duck (and geese) pond, …

Now, having first transformed and then operated Stonover as an upscale guesthouse and elaborate wedding destination for 12 events a year, the Wermans in the mid-1970s are turning the site around, including the much-photographed pond home to a duck village, to a couple deeply rooted in show business.

Randy Grimmett and his wife, Allison Smith, seasonal residents at Lenox for five years, promise to keep Stonover as it is, with a few cosmetic updates, when they reopen the inn.

He will be able to practice there as a lawyer and she will pursue her acting career and her new literary career there.

“I’m happy to confidently say that I’m not done acting,” said the former Broadway child star of “Evita” and “Annie” and cast member of “The West Wing” on NBC.

And, as part of the Stonover deal, the waterfowl crew keep their home forever.

The deal for the property and the robust business will close on Oct. 29 at $ 4.4 million for both.

The Wermans paid $ 1.5 million to acquire the land and its buildings in 2001, then funded a major and costly restoration before opening the inn a year later under a special permit from the Zoning Council , with Linda Ronstadt, performing at Tanglewood, as first guest.

“She was incredibly graceful,” recalls Suky Werman. “It was literally the first time we had cooked breakfast for someone, and she had brought an entourage.”

The Wermans, good friends of Grimmett and Smith, will move to a house they bought over a year ago, a mile and a half from Under Mountain Road.

“It was a gigantic change,” Werman admitted, referring to his arrival at Lenox to become a squire and innkeeper after 23 years signing artists and producing hit albums in the 1970s and 1980s. His clients included REO Speedwagon , Boston, Ted Nugent, Motley Crue, Cheap Trick, Twisted Sister, Poison, Molly Hatchet and Jeff Beck.

“Now I’m so excited,” he enthused, preparing to step away from his second career. “But, it’s quite difficult for Suky; she loves it, and she would stay here forever. We had been considering closing the five-unit hostel and only having weddings, but it’s an expensive place to maintain and operate unless you work it out.

Randy Grimmett and Allison Smith with Tom and Suky Werman

Grimmett and Smith, left, bought Stonover Farm from the Wermans, right. After first transforming and then operating Stonover as an upscale guesthouse and elaborate wedding destination for 12 events a year, the Wermans in the mid-1970s entrusted the site to a couple deeply rooted in the show. . Business.

How did Grimmett and Smith decide to make a similar drastic change from Studio City, right above a Hollywood hill, to the bucolic countryside of Berkshire? Allison recalled reading an article in the Los Angeles Times in 2007 about the Wermans’ purchase of “a rambling country property and its transformation into an upscale bed and breakfast.”

“I turned to Randy and said, ‘See, people do it, why don’t we do it? “Said Smith, a native of Waldwick in Bergen County, New Jersey, just west of the borough of Manhattan in New York City.” It sparked something that Randy and I in our life personal, knew we would like to do. “

The Stonover Farm stove in Lenox

The Stonover stove is one of a kind.

A year or two later, on a family visit to the Northeast, they spent several nights in the Inn’s cottage.

“I said, ‘What a dream. I just wanna live there someday. We were loyal customers and became friends with the Wermans. I said to them, “If you ever think of selling this place, could we be the first to call? I thought if they made it available I would be heartbroken if someone else got it.

“The big part for us,” recalls Randy Grimmett, “was that we weren’t in a rush and they said, whenever we were ready, let us know.”

“When they called last year, after sorting out some family logistical details, there was no hesitation,” he said. As permanent residents of Lenox since last June, Grimmett pointed out, the pandemic restrictions have shown he can work remotely from anywhere.

“It made thinking about [acquiring the inn],” he stated.

“We have undergone a change in what the social contract for work looks like now,” he commented. “Tons of people have moved to the Berkshires.”

“Along with making our coveted dream come true, it’s an addition to the many things Randy and I do in our lives,” said Smith. “Our heart and soul will be devoted to Stonover Farm, but he will continue to do what he does and I will continue to work in the way that I want to creatively. I grew up in a small town, now a small town life while having a professional life.

“Randy grew up in the countryside [on his fourth-generation family farm near Tulsa, Okla.], which really talks about who he is, but he’s also explored his intellectual and professional pursuits, ”she said.

“The ducks will stay,” Smith added. This means that they will not be evicted from their 130 year old ancestral home and that the history of the property will be protected. It was built in 1890 by Pittsfield architect Charles T. Rathbun for New York lawyer John E. Parsons, who named the farm after his “cottage” Lenox, the 45-room French country house. , Stonover, then a mile across the valley on Yokun Avenue, but demolished in 1942.

barn at Stonover farm

Stonover Farm is renowned for its hospitality and as an event venue.

Smith described “the half-way through life we ​​thought we wanted” as making the transition to the innkeeper job easier. The family home purchased five years ago on West Street was the gatehouse of the old Stonover “cottage”.

The day-to-day running of the inn throughout the year will continue to be managed by Stonover CEO Christine Fraser, who the Wermans hired from Blantyre four years ago.

“She will be indispensable to us,” said Randy Grimmett, as she continues to oversee a team of staff in what amounts to a “turnkey” property exchange.

“Tom and Suky have created the most wonderful place, the most magical place,” he said. “The whole attraction for us is due to the realization of their vision, so we don’t have to make any significant changes. The way the hostel is run, the kindness and hospitality, the beautiful space they have created, it is our privilege to take this well marked trail back and continue on the path to the future. The visceral response everyone has to being here is because of what they’ve created.

“We are entering a pristine, well-built, beloved and beautiful creative environment,” Smith added. As Tom Werman noted, “I feel great to give them a solid business, with all of next summer’s weddings already booked.”

For the last words, Suky Werman, fighting back tears, wanted people to know that “we love this community; we feel very lucky to have moved here, and everything is still good to live there.

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