By Christopher Gordon
As East Aurora became a hub of activity for artisans in the late 1800s thanks to the vision of Elbert Hubbard, who started the arts and crafts movement in the community, it eventually led to the creation of the Roycroft Inn.
In 1905, the Roycroft Inn opened its doors and for more than 20 years, it was a center of activity for more than 500 artists and craftsmen. The Roycroft’s reputation helped attract visitors from faraway places as it continued to serve as a center for the artisan community.
Today, the Roycroft continues to be a popular attraction for those who are looking for an overnight stay, fine dining or both.
Because of its unique history, the Roycroft was designated as a Historic Landmark in 1986. This would lead to an $8 million restoration project through the assistance of the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation. Over a nine-year period, the money would lead to the restoration of the Roycroft to its original look. It reopened its doors to the public in 1995.
As you enter the facility, the Roycroft returns you back in time as the work of some of the original artisans are spotlighted throughout. This includes the restored murals of Alexis Jean Fournier in the salon.
Fournier, known as the “Roycroft Court Painter,” was a Barbazon-style artist who originally painted 20 murals during the 45 years she performed work at the inn. Today, following the restoration, there are 16 of her murals that are still in existence. Four of the paintings, which depict times of the day, are seen in the new foyer. The other 12, which show cities, temples and other famous sites – including East Aurora – can be found in the salon.
As we close in on Christmas, the Roycroft has been filled with several activities throughout the holiday season.
On Dec. 15, the Roycroft Inn and Lounge Lizard Society teamed up for the annual toy drive. Those who came were asked to bring unwrapped toys to assist those in need. The toys were then donated to FISH of East Aurora, which is a local organization which dedicates itself to community involvement.
For those looking to enjoy a relaxing night out and some entertainment, the Roycroft has half off their appetizers on Thursday nights, while offering its patrons live music from 7 to 9 p.m.
To close out 2016, Samuel Tambe will entertain the crowd on Dec. 29.
If Thursdays are not a good night for you to come and enjoy food and music, Friday nights are always an option as well.
Having friends or family in for the holidays and looking for a place to relax and enjoy good food and good entertainment? You can enjoy a cocktail and an appetizer from the lounge while listening to the sounds of professional musicians. On Friday, Dec. 23, Wilson Curry and Falling Rock will perform from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Rob and Jess will close out the 2016 schedule on Dec. 30.
The Roycroft Inn also offers those who interested in hosting a celebration, such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries or other special events, a place that can be rented to house those celebrations.
Looking for a special place to go overnight to enjoy an anniversary or just to get away? The inn offers a variety of suites and guest house rooms and suites. This includes three-, four- and five-room suites, a campus view suite, honeymoon suites, guest houses and guest house rooms.
For more information, visit roycroftinn.com.
The Roycroft Inn is part of the Roycroft Campus, the best preserved and most complete complex of buildings remaining in the United States of the “guilds” that evolved as centers of craftsmanship and philosophy during the late 19th century. The Campus, designated a National Historic Landmark district (NHL) in 1986, contains nine of the original 14 structures, including the Inn, the Chapel, the Print Shop, the Furniture Shop, and the Copper Shop.
If you have some last minute shopping to do this weekend, and are looking for one of a kind, special gifts for your loved ones this holiday season, the Roycroft Campus is a must-see. Visit the Copper Shop Gallery for work from over 100 local, national, and international artisans, or find unique gifts in wood, leather, stained glass, paint, print and more. Visit the Roycroft Antique Shop next door to the Copper Shop for more special treasures. For more information about the Roycroft Campus, visit www.roycroftcampuscorporation.com.