Hidden Away in Guilford, Vermont | House For Sale

This classic New England property is known throughout the world, thanks to a certain remarkable lady.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 12 2018


The Green River Bridge House, originally a stagecoach stop and now a cozy B&B.

Photo Credit : Susan Pease/Alamy Stock Photo

After leaving the village of Guilford, Vermont—just south of Brattleboro, on the Massachusetts border—we drove slowly along a hilly, curvy dirt road until, quite suddenly, we were confronted with a venerable covered bridge. At this point we stopped and took in the setting. To the right of the bridge, water was surging over a restored c. 1811 timber crib dam; to the left was the magnificent-looking 1830 house and barn, once a blacksmith shop, that we’d come to see. And oh yes, up on a small rise behind us was a gleaming white Methodist Episcopal church (now used only for weddings and funeral services). Add in the green fields, stone walls, and rock gardens next to the house, and, well, in all our years of moseying around New England, we didn’t think we’ve ever seen such a gorgeous combination of historic house, barn, covered bridge, river dam, and church. It was quintessential New England—all in one view.

The Green River Bridge House, originally a stagecoach stop and now a cozy B&B.
Photo Credit : Susan Pease/Alamy Stock Photo

After drinking it in for a few minutes, we noticed a woman next to the house waving us to come over. In no time at all we found ourselves at a huge Chippendale kitchen table overlooking the river, enjoying coffee as well as just-out-of-the-oven bran muffins with our hostess, Joan Seymour, longtime owner of the B&B she calls the Green River Bridge House. “I have guests here from all over the world,” she said, “including England, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Australia, and so many others.” We thought to ourselves that each of these guests no doubt feels that the Green River Bridge House is their own little secret, something that only they have discovered. “We’re having a group of seven from Denmark tonight,” she said, passing the muffins and some butter over to us.

As we sat there that morning with Joan, we began to realize she does everything herself. All the cleaning, bed making, yard work, gardening, mowing, cooking (“Everyone loves my breakfasts,” she told us)—absolutely everything. “Anything that needs doing, well, I just do it,” Joan said. But there’s more. Recently she baked 40 pies (that’s right, 40) for a local hospital fund-raising event. A couple of years ago she put on a sit-down dinner for more than three dozen people connected to the Rhodes Scholar office in Brattleboro. She is also a licensed aesthetician, and people from across southern Vermont and parts of Massachusetts come to her attractive little basement spa for skin care, full-body Swedish massages, facials, and such.

Owner Joan Seymour.

Joan has been doing all these things by herself ever since she bought the property 18 years ago. “At that time, the place was practically falling down—there even were holes in the walls,” she said. So for the first year and a half she sort of “camped out,” as she put it, in the deteriorating house while paying for and participating in a massive restoration—including the foundation, the walls and ceilings, floors, windows, a second set of stairs to the second floor, and on and on. (Had she been scared to sleep in such a wreck of an empty house all by herself night after night? “Well, yes,” she admitted, “a little.”) Anyway, the result is that this old stagecoach stopover (on the route from Boston to Jacksonville, Vermont) and subsequent area post office is today in perfect condition.

Eventually, it was time for us to walk with Joan through the beautifully decorated living room, the formal dining room, and the full-length porch overlooking the gardens and the river. Then it was up to the second floor, where Joan’s bedroom and bathroom are located at the top of the new private stairs (“so I need not walk by my guests’ rooms in my nightie”). This is also where we peeked into the three luxurious B&B bedrooms, each with its own spectacular view and private bathroom. Also in each, recessed into the ceilings, are gorgeous chandeliers collected by Joan in past world travels.

The house’s namesake bridge.
Photo Credit : Pat & Chuck Blackley/Alamy Stock Photo

From the room she has named the Sunrise Room (the others are the River Room and the Bridge Room), we stepped onto the outside balcony and, once again, drank in the view of the gardens, fields, and flowing river just below. And everything we could see, Joan told us, is protected under preservation trusts, so it will all forever remain as we saw it that morning.

As for Joan’s future, well, now that she’s in her 70s she feels that it’s probably getting time to retire, maybe live with or near her children and grandchildren in Australia. Her asking price: $1.4 million … for a world-renowned B&B or simply a wonderful country home.

On our way back to New Hampshire later that day, we contemplated spending a night at the Green River Bridge House ourselves sometime. What a nice thought. We’d love to step out onto that balcony off the Sunrise Room once again. And maybe Joan would have made some more of those bran muffins, too.

For more information, contact Joan Seymour at 802-257-5771 or email