The Inn was originally established as a colonial homestead in 1763. It has served as a working farm, a coach inn and tavern, a waypoint for runaway slaves on the underground railway, a Girl Scout camp and a boarding school.
In 1748, the northwestern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee was granted by the Province of New Hampshire. It was on this land grant that Eliphalet Rawlings “of Canterbury in the province of New Hampshire” owned proprietor’s shares and established a homestead in 1763. Historical documents show that Eliphalet Rawlings, “a house built, 8 or 9 acres of land fell, &3 acres clear” apparently was landlord to tenant farmers while he lived with his family in Loudon (formerly Canterbury) as a successful tanner and businessman. Fifteen years later, in 1778, the homestead was sold to Captain William Davis who improved the structures on the land using what is rumored to be remnants of his dismantled sailing vessel. In 1776, William Davis and Eliphalet Rawlings signed a document pledging to “hereby solemnly engage and promise that we will do the utmost of our power, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, with arms oppose the hostile proceedings of the British fleets and armies against the United American Colonies”.
Since those revolutionary war days, what is now the Nutmeg Inn has been owned by 26 families and has been the site of a working farm, a coach inn and tavern, a stop for runaway slaves on the underground railway, a Girl Scout Camp, a boarding school and a restaurant. A complete history of the Nutmeg Inn can be found in the Great Room of the inn.*
*Eliphalet Rawlings Homestead, Meredith, New Hampshire, A Study By Highland House Histories & Research Services.