The present owners of the Crest Country Inn, Gary and Kandi Stake, are fourth-generation Iowa County hoteliers. Since the late 1800s, Gary's great grandparents, Florence and Harry, began operating the Stake Hotel in Williamsburg, Iowa. Their son, George, purchased the hotel from them. George and his wife Virgie extended their gifted hospitality to local residents and guests alike for years until they sold The Stake Hotel. Gary's other grandparents, Alvin and Emma Kraus, owned and operated Sudbury Court in Marengo, Iowa.
Dr. Alvin and Emma (Howe) Kraus come from a long line of Hoteliers and named their motel Sudbury Court after the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
Emma Howe Kraus' family entered into the hospitality industry in 1716. David Howe was granted permission to "keep a house of entertainment for travelers" along the Old Boston Post Road.
-(1748) David's son, Ezekiel's rates were:
Lodging - 4 pence
Dinner - 20 pence each
Common Dinner - 12 pence each
Best Supper and Breakfast - 15 pence each
-(1775) Lieutenant Colonel Howe leads Sudbury Massachusetts Company to Concord Center.
-(1853) Henry David Thoreau (Poet) Stays at Howe's Tavern.
-(1862) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visits Howe Tavern and writes Tales of a Wayside Inn, making the Howe Tavern a Colonial Landmark.
-(1923) Henry Ford purchases the Wayside Inn, renamed and restored the property which is now a National Historic Site.
The Wayside Inn, located in Sudbury, Massachusetts, is still operational today offering a restaurant, ten historically accurate guest rooms, and hosting for small receptions. It is reputedly the oldest operating inn in the country. The inn's archive has documents from 1686 including the official license granted to the first innkeeper, David Howe, in 1716. Lydia Howe, the granddaughter was born in the inn.
The Inn celebrated its 300th Anniversary in 2016. For more information go to www.wayside.org where a list of present-day prices for food and lodging can be obtained.