Built in 1828 by Daniel Chipman, a United States Representative from Vermont and professor of law at Middlebury College, the original farmhouse began operating as an inn and public dining room in 1974.
Joan Bullock, a single mom, bought the Inn in 1978 and with her children owned and ran the business through 1985. Once her children had graduated college and went off to start their own lives she sold the Inn, but was never far from the hospitality business. Joan owned Bow Street Candle and Mug in Portsmouth, NH, worked for Country Inns Magazine, and The Black Point and the Norumbega Inns both in Coastal Maine before her retirement. But the fond memories of Ripton and its people, the Inn’s guests who had enjoyed her stories and her cooking, and her love of taking care of people drew her back. In 2012 Joan once again purchased The Chipman Inn, and with son Christopher, whose background is in the hospitality industry, have returned the Inn to the warm and inviting respite for travelers it once was.
In the summer of 1938 Robert Frost attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Ripton. He came to Ripton almost every summer until his death in 1963. Frost bought the Homer Noble Farm so as to have a place to stay while summering in Ripton. The property had a large farmhouse and a little cabin.
Frost stayed in the cabin, a short walk up the hill. Today, the fragile cabin is opened on special occasions. In 1999, The Robert Frost Conference was held there to celebrate the poet’s 125th anniversary. It was attended by scholars and Frost lovers from all over the country. There were programs and talks for three days and time to get to know other people who loved Frost’s poetry. The idea of The Friends of Robert Frost grew out of that weekend.
In 1964, the year after his death, an historical marker was dedicated to the poet:
Robert Frost 1874-1963. “A distinguished American Poet by recognition and a Vermonter by preference. Robert Frost was Poet Laureate of Vermont and for many years “First Citizen of the Town of Ripton.”
Along the same road is the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, a nice hike along varied scenes annotated with Frost’s poems. The trail was developed by the Green Mountain National Forest with the help of one of Frost’s old Middlebury friends, Reginald Cook who chose the poems appropriate for the trail and supervised the installation of the plaques.
Rates of Toll sign– Ripton, VT
The Chipman Inn is on the Middlebury – Woodstock Stagecoach Road, Center Turnpike was chartered in 1800, The tolls for Turnpike usage are still visible on the Rates of Toll – Ripton, VT sign on the Chipman Inn property.
By Paul Grimes
Published: July 18, 1982
“What makes the inn delightful, however, is the zestful personality of the owner, Joan Bullock, a native of Lancaster, Pa., who decided four years ago that she had had enough of planning social-welfare programs in Somerville, N.J., and wanted to run an inn in Vermont. So she moved to Ripton with her three children, and innkeeping became a family enterprise.” Entire Article
An item for Baseball Fans…
Hometown Baseball Hero Ray Lyle Fisher (October 4, 1887 – November 3, 1982) was an American professional baseball pitcher. He pitched all or part of ten seasons in Major League Baseball. His debut game took place on July 2, 1910. His final game took place on October 2, 1920.
In a letter to Chris Bullock by Ray Fisher’s grandson, Mr. John Leidy, dated September 28th 1982 (when Chris was still in college) Mr. Leidy wrote, “Ray’s grandfather, Sylvester lived in the home that is now the Chipman Inn. His (Ray’s) father was brought up there in Ripton and Ray remembers visiting the home frequently as a boy when his Aunt Harriet (Fisher Ripley) lived there. His grandmother left Ripton not too long after Sylvester died in 1885 and went to Iowa to live with one of her daughters.”
The History of Addison County indicates “Sylvester Fisher, born in Bethel on June 25, 1811, came to Ripton at the age of twenty-one years. He lived in Ripton at intervals only, until 1851, when he became a permanent resident, locating on the Chipman homestead.”
Ray Fisher was born in Middlebury on Oct. 4, 1887, attended schools in Middlebury and Middlebury College where he was a pitcher on the College Baseball team. During his Middlebury school days he spent many summer days at his uncle’s farm in Ripton and the farmhouse that is now the Chipman Inn.
Fisher got his start in minor league pitching for the Hartford team of the Connecticut League. In his first year, he amassed a 12-1 record and returned the next year to garner a 24-5 tally. After his seasons with Hartford, Fisher went to play for the New York Highlanders, a team that later changed its name to the Yankees.
Ray Fisher’s photograph, autograph and 1911 T-205 cigarette baseball card hang on the wall in the Taproom.