Tourists, a motel on the side of Route 2 on the border of Williamstown and North Adams, is a completely reconstructed motor inn. Resurrected from the demolition of its predecessor, the Redwood Motel, it opened in January 2015. Neighboring Tourists is the very old Airport Rooms Hotel, 861 State road, a Georgian house built sometime between the 1820s – 1830s. After closing down, it was recently reopened and is currently in use by Tourists.
The history of the Airport Rooms Hotel begins with its construction in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Originally the house was built as a school for girls in collaboration with Williams College, though the documentation for this claim remains spotty. However, what is known is that in its first appearance on a map in 1858, it is listed as occupied by Truman Paul. In 1900 an article in the North Adams Transcript “Blackinton’s Grand Old Man,” Oscar Abner, wrote that the house was built by Truman’s father James Paul. Eventually Truman sold the house, which was in use as a farm, to a man named William S. Blackinton a man who raised and trained horses.
Another owner for the house was Virginia Stevens, the second wife of the late Frank P. Stevens. By the 1950’s Virginia opened Airport Tourists Home and Rooms. During this time, it was one of several lodges in town which took advantage of roadside America and the popular Mohawk Trail which attracted large groups of motoring tourists. By the 1980s Virginia began selling the property of piece by piece, ventually selling the farmhouse and the Airport Rooms Hotel, to The Beyond Place LLC. Today the house is owned and a part of the Tourist motel complex, and the kitchen is currently open. Patrons are welcomed to take a peek inside and admire the 1940s style, and décor.
In 1962, Francis T. Shea decided to open the Redwood Motel on the side of route 2. Travelers coming from the North or from the South could stop and rest at the motor lodge. Unfortunately, conditions at the Redwood deteriorated and by the second decade of the 2000s it was struggling to survive.
In 2015, John Stirratt, bassist for the band Wilco, discovered the dilapidated motel and was inspired to buy it and renovate it along with his partnership group: his old friend, Ben Svenson, a partner at the investment firm Broder; Eric Kerns, co-founder of Bright Ideas Brewing, Scott Stedman, founder of Brooklyn Magazine; and chef Cortney Burns. Inspired by roadside America, and many years of traveling on the road Stirratt had a vision: a motel for the twenty-first century traveler. Tourists, completely renovated, along with a ranch house from the 1960’s added on, in styled in plywood as the distinct feature of the building inside and out. The rooms look out through large bay windows that face an open courtyard, or the woodlands out back. Every room has its very own outdoor shower, a quirky characteristic that along with the windows makes Tourists that much more interesting and helps keep the focus on nature and the surrounding landscape.
With the Hoosic River directly behind the hotel, travelers and residents alike can walk to a 220-foot suspension bridge built across the river, and explore the thirty acres of walking paths.