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Inn BoonsBoro expected to open in mid-February

November 30, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BOONSBORO -- The Inn BoonsBoro is expected to open in mid-February -- about one year after the building in Boonsboro's town square was nearly leveled by a fire that damaged seven downtown structures.

Innkeeper Suzanne McErlain said she has been taking phone calls from people worldwide who are interested in staying at the inn being opened by romance novelist and longtime Washington County resident Nora Roberts and her husband, Bruce Wilder.

McErlain, who was hired about a year ago, is now living in Boonsboro and working at Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe, owned by Wilder, while she prepares for the inn's opening.

"We hope to start booking by mid-December," McErlain said. "We wanted to be firm with the opening date first."

The three-story inn has eight rooms, seven of which are themed after a literary couple. The eighth room is the penthouse.

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The inn, which is being constructed where the historic Boone Hotel once stood, was about 60 percent complete when fire tore through the building, nearly destroying the structure and damaging six other Main Street buildings, McErlain said.

Roberts and Wilder purchased one of those buildings -- the one next to the former Boone Hotel that housed a bakery and several apartments.

McErlain was in Boonsboro the day of the fire and had just walked through the under-construction building the day before it was nearly destroyed. McErlain had been planning to move to Boonsboro from the Philadelphia area in mid-April, but those plans were delayed after the blaze. She will have an apartment in the Inn BoonsBoro once it is complete.

McErlain said the construction has been moving at a "rather rapid pace," and that last week, workers began laying tile in the bathrooms. Painting in some of the rooms also is under way.

McErlain said the first and second floors will have hardwood flooring, some of which has been put down.

"There is still a bit of construction work, but we're on the home stretch of the actual physical construction," she said.

All of the furniture has been purchased and is being kept in a storage unit for now.

Furniture in the rooms will represent each room's theme, McErlain said. Each room also will have its own scent, such as honey or ginger.

"Each will have its own scent that's reflective of them," McErlain said.

The literary couples represented at the inn are Marguerite and Percy from "The Scarlet Pimpernel"; Nick and Nora from "The Thin Man"; Jane and Rochester from "Jane Eyre"; Elizabeth and Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice"; Titania and Oberon from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; Eve and Roarke from "In Death" novels written by Roberts under the name J.D. Robb; and Westley and Buttercup from "The Princess Bride."

McErlain said the "Princess Bride" room will be like stepping into a castle, while the room created with Roberts' own characters in mind will have more a futuristic feel.

Once open, McErlain said she is expecting many visitors. Even some Boonsboro residents have called asking when the inn will open, saying they would like to stay there.

"They live literally up the street, but they want to stay at the inn," she said. "It's definitely an experience that people want to have."

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