Welcome to Grand Colonial- a distinguished four-season bed and breakfast located in one of the most historic and scenic regions of New York State. Built as a private residence in the 1890s, our house is reflective of a pledge to quality that has stood the test of generations. Now more than a century later, we make that same pledge to you. We invite you to our comfortably elegant home where rich history, modern amenities, and exceptional hospitality combine to give our guests a uniquely local experience. Explore what it’s like to stay at Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast by clicking the tabs below:
We Can't Wait to Meet You
The service at Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast goes well beyond providing you with comfortable lodging while you’re traveling. We’re your home away from home, and you can expect your stay to be extra special in many ways, beginning with your arrival. As you enter our driveway, you’ll notice a designated Guest Entrance on your left. We encourage you to stop off there in order to easily unload your luggage. Complimentary off-street parking is available in our parking lot behind the Grand House.
Check in begins at 3 P.M. and ends at 8 P.M. We realize that you may need to arrive early in order to make it to a planned event, or encounter travel delays along the way, so we remain flexible in accommodating your needs. Your host will be waiting to greet you upon your arrival, so we ask that you notify us as soon as possible if you’ll be arriving outside of the check in window. Reception and check in begin in our Continental Room, an inviting sitting room filled with history, vintage furnishings, and our mercantile. As an added convenience, the Guest Entrance door is operated by a code-enabled, keyless entry system. We’ll provide you with a unique code to use during your stay. It’s one less key you’ll have to carry, and who doesn’t love that?
Next, we’ll offer you a brief tour of the Grand House, before we show you to your room and familiarize you with the many amenities that it has to offer. As part of your arrival experience, we invite you to enjoy complimentary natural artesian bottled water and indulgent chocolates. Complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are available 24 hours a day in the hallway outside of your guest room. Free Wi-Fi service is also provided throughout the house.
We have four en-suite guest rooms. All four guest rooms are located on the second floor and require a 15-step walk up on the grand staircase. Each well-appointed guest room is uniquely decorated and includes a private bathroom. The Kingsland Room features an enclosed shower with jetted bathtub. Our Palatine, Empire, and Oakbrook Rooms all feature walk-in showers. We respect your privacy, and will not enter your guest room unless requested. Each guest room door has a lock, for your own peace of mind. In keeping with our commitment to environmental conservation, we offer towel and linen reuse options, however, fresh towels and linen changes will be provided upon your request.
During Your Stay
We always encourage you to make yourself at home. Many of our guests love catching their favorite movie or sporting event on the big screen TV in our living room. During the mild-weathered seasons, guests may relax in one of three outdoor seating areas, including a private outdoor deck furnished with a table and chairs, a porch with rocking chairs, and a glider loveseat which overlooks the Grand Colonial back yard.
It’s no secret that Central New York is home to amazing cuisine. When you’re ready for dinner, we’ve put together a collection of menus representing the best restaurants in the area. From casual diners and pubs, to upscale eateries, and waterfront dining on the Erie Canal, you’ll find it all within a few minutes of Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast. If you prefer to order in, several in-town restaurants offer delivery. Chicken riggies (chicken, rigatoni and hot or sweet peppers in a spicy cream and tomato sauce), greens (a mix of escarole, prosciutto, garlic, peppers, Romano cheese and a few other items), and pizza (iconic, authentic, and the best you will ever taste!) are a few excellent take-out dishes you shouldn’t leave Central New York without tasting. As our guest, you and your family are welcome to enjoy your dinner delivery in our Harvest Dining Room.
Breakfast is our favorite meal of the day, and we’re confident that it will be a favorite part of your stay. With that said, not all breakfasts are created equal. If you’ve looked at the breakfast offerings included at nearby hotels, you probably noticed that breakfast has a very different meaning at Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast. After all, breakfast is part of our name, not theirs. We serve a full, classic American breakfast daily, between 7 A.M. and 10 A.M. (at the time of your choosing). Alternative service times can usually be arranged to meet your needs.
Pancakes dripping with real, locally-sourced maple syrup, bacon, farm fresh eggs, and homemade pastries are just a few of the items you’ll find on our breakfast menu. Every breakfast item is made to order in our kitchen, using our very own signature recipes. When you check in, you’ll receive a breakfast menu card. Because good things take time, we ask that you make your selections and return the menu card to us on the evening prior.
Breakfast is complimentary, and you’re welcome to order whatever you would like. We guarantee that you will not leave hungry, and with so much homemade goodness, you’ll probably be full for a good part of the day! Veiw our full breakfast menu.
Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast offers access to the very best of Central New York. While you’re here, you may explore a timeless variety of attractions, including the Herkimer Diamond Mines, the Herkimer Home State Historic Site, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown Dreams Park, and the Glimmerglass Opera House, as well as many local festivals. If you love to shop for one of a kind treasures, you could easily spend a day at the antique malls in Mohawk and Little Falls; both are only a few minutes away. Once you arrive, feel free to browse our travel brochure display, which includes hand-selected rack cards from local attractions that we think you’ll enjoy visiting. If you want ideas on the go, check out our Activities page.
We take great pride in curating a unique and authentic experience for our guests, and it all starts with the special relationships we have with other local businesses. Because the real stuff makes a difference, we proudly serve Kraeger’s pure New York Maple Syrup and Heartsease Hill Honey with every breakfast, and provide a full line of Beekman 1802 amenities for your personal use while you are our guest.
Kraeger’s Maple Syrup is locally harvested and bottled on the farm by the Kraeger family in Constableville, New York. We know that you’ll love it so much, you’ll want to take some home! Glass 12-ounce bottles exclusively labeled for Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast are available for purchase at GC Mercantile, our pop-up gift shop.
Local honey connects us to nature in a way that is direct and pure and honest. In 2014, Heartsease Hill began as a small apiary selling honey and handcrafted soaps at the farmer’s market in Westmoreland, NY. Beekeepers Joe and Sue Kappler harvest their honey in the rural town of Plainfield, NY, and it is a mixture of wildflowers and nectars. We serve and sell a variety of honey products from Joe and Sue, including their delicious Mead Jelly.
In 2008, after taking in a neighboring farmer and his herd of dairy goats, the Beekman Boys began producing soaps and cheese on their over 200-year-old farm in Sharon Springs, New York. Today, Beekman 1802 has become one of the fastest growing lifestyle brands in America. We love their seasonally produced natural goat’s milk products and we know that you will too, so we provide complimentary Beekman 1802 amenities to all of our guests. Larger quantities of the most popular Beekman 1802 products are available for purchase at GC Mercantile.
Check out time is 11 A.M. We hate goodbyes as much as you do, so we will make every effort to allow for late check out when requested.
As a small business, a guest review is a powerful thing for us and our future guests. We are forever grateful to guests who review us on online platforms like Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook and Yelp, or simply recommend us to friends and family members. If you booked directly with us, we’ll give you a coupon code for $10 off per night on your next stay.
A Storied Heritage
Shortly after purchasing the Grand House in 2017, we set out to discover its more than a century-old history through the lives of those who made it their home. During our research, we gained a new appreciation for its historical significance as a visible symbol of community, commercial prosperity, and local prestige. Through harsh winters and hot summers, war, and economic hardship and boom, this and other local structures have stood the test of time. We hope you find its history to be as fascinating as we do. Explore our past by clicking the tabs below:
Though more than a century likely separates the colonial period of the United States and the construction of our house, the history of Revolutionary War events that unfolded in the Mohawk Valley are closely tied to the story of Herkimer and our nation. So, we begin our story there. In about the year 1700, the present-day Village of Herkimer was merely wilderness, and was inhabited by the indigenous Mohawk and Iroquois Indians. The area was first settled around 1720 with the arrival of Palatine Germans, the most famous of whom is Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer. In 1776, during the Revolutionary era, Fort Dayton was built on a site a few blocks from the present-day Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast. The fort provided a place of safety and storage.
On August 4, 1777, as Brigadier General of the Tryon County Militia, Nicholas Herkimer led a regiment of about 800 people from Fort Dayton to Oriskany. On August 6, 1777, he and hundreds of patriots were ambushed by British and Loyalist troops and their Native American allies in the Battle of Oriskany. During the engagement, General Herkimer suffered a severe leg wound. He was carried back to his home where he died 10 days later. The Battle of Oriskany was later acknowledged for its role in turning the tide of victory in favor of the Americans. General George Washington visited Fort Dayton in July 1793, when he toured the Mohawk Valley. Today, the Herkimer Home is a state historic site and a popular tourist attraction. The Village and County of Herkimer both took their name from the Herkimer family.
Our house, often referred to as the “Grand House,” is situated on a one-acre Revolutionary lot. Its long, rectangular shape was desirable for colonial farming. The property extends north to a babbling brook and forested hillside. Before it was as we know it today, the topography of this area provided a vantage point for patriot militiamen to keep watch for British foot soldiers and their allies. Relics from Revolutionary War scrimmages are reputed to have been found nearby. In a nod to the area’s heritage, the American Revolution is the inspiration for much of the hand-framed wall art we chose to display inside Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast.
The Centennial Exhibition of 1876 was the first official World’s Fair in the United States. It was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of American independence. It led to a revival of Colonial-style architecture as a means for Americans to reconnect with their colonial past. Although we don’t know the exact year the grand house was built, we found evidence of its existence in 1890. In colonial-inspired form, the grand house boasts a formal entry with a large paneled door centered on the front of the house. The front door is accented with a decorative crown called a “pediment” which is supported by white-colored columns. Double-hung windows with multi-paned sashes are placed symmetrically on both sides of the front door, and the exterior is constructed of brick.
The oldest known owners of the property at 112 West German Street are Joel Sheaf (1817-1890) and Martha Sheaf (1819-1908). The earliest records we found linking the Sheaf family to the property were from 1886. On March 26, 1853, Joel and Martha welcomed Jerome Farrington Sheaf (1853-1948), a son, into the world. Jerome and Mary A Durst Sheaf (1860-1918) were married on May 26, 1881. Together they had two children, Floy E Sheaf and Hazel I Sheaf. In October 1890, Joel and Martha sold the lot upon which the Grand House is situated to Jerome for one dollar. Sometime between 1890 and 1900, the Sheafs moved to Niagara Falls, New York, where they lived out the rest of their lives.
As late as June of 1900, the Sheafs rented the Grand House to Albert Orrin McMath (1847-1942) and Frances Evaline Burnette McMath (1849-1920), his wife. Albert and Francis were married on September 29, 1870. Albert was a well-known local marble merchant. Herkimer Marble and Granite Works, his business, was located at 217 South Main Street. Many of the marble headstones he fabricated can still be found today at Oak Hill Cemetery on West German Street. Chlorinda Langdon Burnette, Frances’ mother, briefly resided in the grand house with the McMath family. Together with their four living children, Albert and Francis resided in the Grand House until December 1905. It was then they moved into the Kay house on Main Street and eventually returned to Webster, New York, where they lived out the rest of their lives. After the McMath family left the Grand House, it remained under the ownership of the Sheafs through at least 1911. A 1906 property map hung in Grand Colonial’s Continental Room shows “MA Sheaf” as the owner. Locally, the Grand House was known as the “Jerome Sheaf house on German Street.”
Daniel Willard Wendover (1863-1918) and Jennie L Hynds Wendover (1863-1937) purchased the Grand House free of mortgage around 1912. They had no children. Daniel worked as both a farmer and locomotive contractor and was retired by 1913. After Daniel’s death in 1918, Margaret A Hynds, Jennie’s mother, resided with her in the Grand House. Sometime before 1925, Jennie sold the Grand House and moved a short distance to North Main Street.
By 1925, the Grand House was owned by Ernest A Rhodes (1881-1941) and Matie E Dechau Rhodes (1883-?). Matie immigrated to the United States from Germany with her parents in 1890. She and Ernest were married on September 14, 1904. Together they had two children. Ernest worked as vice president of Standard Furniture Company. Standard Furniture Company was founded in 1886, and was once the largest manufacturer of desks and wooden furniture in the United States. The business was comprised of a series of red brick buildings that sprawled from King Street to West Washington Street, with land extending to Route 5. Although Standard Furniture closed in 1978, one of the original factory buildings still stands today. In 1930, while still owned by Ernest and Matie, the Grand House and property upon which it is situated was valued at $14,000. Sometime between 1936 and 1938, Ernest and Matie divorced. Beginning in 1938, Ernest resided in the Grand House with Nellie H Rhodes, his second wife.
By 1944, the Grand House was owned and occupied by Thomas Donato (1893-1984) and Clara Foglino Donato (1896-1974) and their two sons, Renato Donato (1923-1975) and Rudolph T. Donato (1927-2015). Thomas and Clara were both born in Italy and immigrated to the United States in 1909 and 1920, respectively. They were married in about 1920. Prior to their marriage, Thomas was drafted into the United States Army, and served overseas during World War I, between 1918 and 1919. Thomas had his beginnings in Herkimer working as a local barber. In the early 1940s he opened Herkimer Linen Supply and Laundry Service at 204 South Main Street. Throughout the years, the Donato family shared in the success of multiple businesses in the Village of Herkimer, including Rudy’s Menswear, which offered fine clothing and formalwear. In retirement, Thomas did much to improve the grounds of the Grand House, including clearing the backyard, which was at one time wooded land. Some of the improvements he made on the interior are still being enjoyed today. The Donatos were the longest residents of the Grand House. They called it home for many decades and passed it through the generations until it was sold in 1997.
In 1997, Darwin L. Putnam and Patty D. Putnam purchased the Grand House and commissioned a renovation soon thereafter. The most notable transformations were the addition of en suite bathrooms in three of the bedrooms, and many upscale decorative touches, including the European wallcoverings, still present throughout the house today. The Putnams debuted the Grand House to the public for the first time as The Putnam Manor House Bed and Breakfast in the spring of 1997. Revered as one of Herkimer’s finest accommodations, the Grand House was host to political dignitaries and other distinguished guests until the Putnams retired from fulltime hosting and sold it in 2008.
Befitting the Grand House’s prestigious character, John Murray and Dr. Ann Marie Murray purchased it as their private residence in 2008. Ann Marie served as the third president of Herkimer College from August 2008 to January 2014. Before holding several administrative positions at SUNY Broome and Hudson Valley Community College, she was a long-time professor of mathematics at Hudson Valley. John was an engineering science mathematics professor at Hudson Valley Community College for 42 years. After her retirement from Herkimer College, Ann Marie was hired as associate provost for program development at the University at Albany in Albany, New York. When the Murrays left Herkimer in 2014, they maintained ownership of the Grand House and leased it as a vacation rental until it sold in 2017.
In 2017, the Grand House was fully refreshed and rebranded as Grand Colonial Bed and Breakfast, and is proudly owned and operated by E2W, LLC. As the newest owners, we are thrilled to once again open its doors to the public. We invite you to stay as our guest, and join us in experiencing the history, heritage, and future of this landmark house firsthand.
Grand Colonial's Commitment to Conservation
We’re focused on ensuring your guest experience reflects our commitment to environmental conservation. These are the efforts Grand Colonial takes to lessen our environmental impact:
- Compost certain food waste
- Donate used amenity bottles to charity
- Offer linen and towel reuse options to multiple night guests
- Purchase locally sourced food when possible
- Purchase supplies in bulk to reduce packaging waste
- Recycle aluminum, glass, plastic, mixed paper, and cardboard
- Replaced all our toilets to 1.6 gpf
- Use a programmable thermostat
- Use energy efficient LED light bulbs and dimmer controls
- Use newly installed energy efficient appliances
- Use organic cleaners in sink and bath drains