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Historical mill is Amherst’s coziest getaway
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Historical mill is Amherst’s coziest getaway

Restoring the historic Amherst Milling Company building was a long time coming for Waukeshaw Development, Inc.

Earlier this summer and after years of hard work, the company opened Camp Trapezium brewery in the former mill site, preserving one of the last mills in the county.

However, the mill was only part of the project. Just over the hill, overlooking the brewery, sits an eight-room Airbnb fit for beer enthusiasts and city folk looking for a quick getaway.

The house, which is known as the Baldock House, after the original owners, is divided into eight private suites with the ability to be rented out together. (It recently housed bands from Lockn’ Festival) But guests don’t just have access to the suites. When they stay, they not only have Camp Trapezium less than 500 feet from the front porch, but 100 acres of property, including a working farm.

“(The farm) is two acres,” owner Dave McCormack said. “It has fruit trees like peaches and apples and tons of vegetables. But the coolest part about it is that all the ingredients for our pizza, except for the dough, come straight from here.”

As guests walk into the house, they’re greeted with a foyer and large sitting room where they can relax. Each door is on an August Lock, which allows guests to unlock the doors from their phones.

McCormack said that each of the rooms are decorated in a way where guests can feel like they could live there.

“With the projects we undertake are all stuff that we’d want to use [in our own homes],” he said. “From a design standpoint, we try not to just recreate what was here, but bring it back to period [standards]. So glass lighting and stuff like that is really important to us. And then of course, we add little touches to the rooms, like they all get guitars.”

Since the property is considered historic, McCormack said they must abide by certain guidelines. For instance, the rooms are intact exactly how they would be during its nearly 100-year history, with minor modifications to create elements such as the bathrooms and certain walls.

But the biggest selling point is that all the rooms overlook a part of the property, making people feel immersed in the slice of Amherst life that McCormack has created.

“We’ve been on this property for four years now and seen the cycle of the seasons,” he said. “No matter what time of year you’re here, there’s always something going on or growing. The farmers are out here working every day. A lot of people wander up the hill and talk to them about what’s going on.”

When McCormack bought the property in 2017, the house was not in great condition.

“This was a big design challenge more than anything else,” he said. “Getting a bathroom in every room was really hard. Having eight bathrooms in a building that only had two was hard. That was part of trying to maintain the [historical] standards and keep the layout, but tuck the bathrooms in. … That’s really the challenge with these old buildings is trying to bring them up to 2021 standards.”

Ultimately, McCormack wants the stay to be an experience to match what customer’s feel at craft breweries.

“When you’re paying for a glass of beer, it’s not a simple transaction,” he said. “If you’re coming to buy a beer or eat here, what you’re getting in that is this whole experience. You can live and hang out. … That’s really important to us. We’re not just selling beer. We’re selling an entire journey.”

And the property is a way to preserve a part of Amherst history that may have been lost.

“(The mill) was so bad to the point it was probably going to have to be a tear down,” McCormack said. “If we lose [these properties], you lose way more than the structure. Ultimately, we’re just the steward of the property for the short time we’ll have a title to it and then someone else will take it over. I think it’s critical to save these whole things and to keep telling that story.”

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