Is it an 18th Century Farmhouse, or an Inn? There seems to be some confusion about that between viewing the historical record and hearing the recollections and accounts of locals in Howard county. When owners Susan and David Balderson purchased the Wayside Inn in September of 1998, they came into possession of a great deal of historical research which had been compiled by previous owners. That research show a tobacco plantation which was founded by one Henry Pierpoint during the late 18th century. He named his new plantation “Search” and upon doubling the size of his holding some years later, re-named it “Search Enlarged.” Obviously creativity was not Pierpoint’s strong suit! He sold it to The Pues and it later passed on to prominent Howard County residents such as the Parletts and the Dorseys (perhaps the inspiration for the Columbia village of Dorseys Search?) among others. The historical record shows the house to have been the main house for what became a 200 acre plantation.
The house was built to last! The main structure of the house is built of locally quarried granite. At its base the walls are approximately 26 inches thick, thinning somewhat to 20 inches at the levels of the living quarters. There are four fireplaces on both the first and second floors, one in each room used as the only source of heat back in the day. There is also a rather large and deep ninth fireplace in the ground level basement that was once the winter kitchen for the plantation. One can just imagine the incredible aromas wafting up from the basement while breakfast and supper cooked each winter day. Of course the summer kitchen would have been outside, to take away the heat from the house on those hot, muggy summer afternoons.
The locals tell a different story both in person and print. They say the house was a local roadside Inn known as the Wayside Inn. It was close to the Main road that ran from Washington to Ellicott City and on to Baltimore. Many people travelling that road would have stopped here for a room and a hot meal on their way to and from one of those towns. Local lore says one of those many travellers was one George Washington. We have also heard that John Quincy Adams was a visitor. A pair of travelling scholars of the period told us that they have no doubt at all that George Washington visited as he would have passed by many times and it would have been considered rude not to at least stop in to pay his respects to the owner. We don’t know that as fact, but they were pretty convincing! We do know one thing: it NOW is definitely an Inn and we have continued to use the historical name the Wayside Inn for our Bed and Breakfast. We have also continued the tradition of keeping a lighted candle in each of the bedroom windows of the Inn. This was supposedly an early vacancy sign to travellers passing by. the candle is extinguished only when the room is let for the night.
The Baldersons purchased the Inn in 1998 and began the first renovation to the interior right away. The entire interior was repaired and painted, new woodwork was mounted throughout the Inn and two talented interior designers went to work furnishing the new Inn with federal period antiques and reproductions. Plasterers, painters, electricians and plumbers all joined in bringing the Inn up to code. The first three rooms opened to the public in late 1999 with the fourth bedroom coming on board for Valentines weekend in February of 2000. In September of 2003, the Balderson began the next major renovation with the construction of a three story addition and the complete renovation of the second floor of the Inn. This added, among other things three brand new bathrooms on that floor: no more shared bathrooms! It also provided new living quarters for the Baldersons which is partly responsible for them still being married! This new addition was launched with A grand re-opening in June of 2004 where County Executive Jim Robey joined the Baldersons in cutting the ribbon on their “new” Inn.
In 2008, construction was started on another new addition. This addition was to replace a very old screened-in porch which badly needed replacing. This new sun room is 23 FT. by 18 FT. and is completely conditioned for all year use. It allows for use as an additional breakfast area in the mornings as well as for afternoon refreshments. Most importantly, the sunroom now allows the Wayside Inn to hold functions such as small weddings, corporate retreats, parties, and intimate dinners that will start later in 2011. Below the sun porch is a new bedrrom with its own private entrance and terrace (hence, the Terrace Room) bringing the total room count now to six. Above the sun porch is a roof top deck overlooking the beautiful landscaped yards and pond.
The Wayside Inn has been written up in many Newspapers and Magazines during the Balderson’s tenure. Just a few of the latest:
1. Accepted into the Select Registry TM of Distinguished Inn of North America in June 2008. This puts it in rare company: only approximately 400 out of 20,000 bed and Breakfasts and Country Inns are accepted into Select Registry.
2 Accepted as a Diamond Collection Inn by Bed and Breakfast.com in September 2009. Even rarer: only about 200 B & Bs and country Inns to date!
3. Chosen as one of the ten Best Bed and Breakfasts in the Baltimore Area by Baltimore Magazine in their August 2010 “Best of Baltimore” issue.
4. Feature article in the Baltimore Sun newspaper Real estate section Sunday, July 19, 2009. Title: “At Home at the Inn” by Marie Gullard.
5. Feature article, center spread, in the Washington Post Express on January 11, 2010. Title: “Hospitality is Their Business” by Ellen Ryan.