LENOX — A family-run New York City-based firm that operates boutique hotels and short-term stay rentals has purchased the Apple Tree Inn, a 34-room bed-and-breakfast across from Tanglewood that originally was a 19th-century estate and briefly was owned in the 1970s by Alice Brock of "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" fame.
Aries Living purchased the property at 10 Richmond Mountain Road from Sharon A. Walker for $2.4 million, according to documents filed at the Berkshire Middle District Registry of Deeds in Pittsfield. But, the total purchase price, with inventory and business assets included, is $2.7 million, according to the listing provided by Stone House Properties of West Stockbridge.
James and Maxwell Khaghan of the New York City borough of Manhattan — they are the principals at Aries Living — will run the inn under the local entity 10 Richmond Mountain RD YT LLC. The property — it originally was an estate that was built in 1885 and was called The Orchard — also has been known as Portofino, Alice's at Avaloch and the Avaloch Inn.
Brock ran Alice's at Avaloch, a restaurant, after purchasing the establishment in June 1976. But, after two years of battling the state over problems with the establishment's septic system, Brock auctioned off the property and all its contents in 1979, according to Eagle files, and moved to Provincetown.
Walker had purchased the property in 1996 for $1.8 million from Gregory Smith, a former assistant to the music director at the Metropolitan Opera, and his wife, Aurora, who had owned the inn since 1983. The Smiths had put the property on the market for $3.5 million in 1989.
In a statement provided by their attorney, Jeffrey Lynch, of Lenox, the new owners say that they plan to continue the "tradition of service excellence the property is known for" while breathing "new life" into the "food, beverage and cultural elements at the inn."
They plan to upgrade the inn's restaurant and bar, with "activations" in all things "related to music, arts and entertainment." The upgrades are expected to be completed in time for the upcoming summer tourist season.
"We intend to be a hub for culture here at Apple Tree Inn," said Max Khaghan, Aries Living's founder and CEO. "We want to introduce the culture and the property to a new generation of travelers."
Aries Living, founded in 2015, operates three apartment boutique-style hotels in Miami — Villa Paradiso, Ithaca of South Beach and Treehouse. According to its website, Aries Living is well-positioned for "quick, disciplined growth in the hospitality space" and is seeking partners for joint ventures and management contracts "in diverse markets and for a wide range of property types."
The Apple Tree Inn's main house, built in 1885, contains 13 guest rooms, a tavern/taproom, and a 100-plus-seat restaurant. A second structure, the lodge building, includes 21 additional rooms.
The parlor, entrance hall and four rooms of the the main house were constructed by Cecile Bristed, of New York, a frequent visitor to Lenox who had The Orchard built at the base of Baldhead Mountain. The main house was completed by Henry Pease, who bought the property in 1899 and added four bedrooms and a billiards room, according to Eagle files.
The property was sold in 1937 and became a seasonal lodging establishment called Avaloch. The property was enlarged in 1954, when then-owner Judith Rappaport combined it with neighboring Hawthorne Hill. It was sold to a real estate trust in 1958, before being swapped a year later to Michael Bakwin for a property that he owned on Route 183 in Stockbridge.
Bakwin, who owned the property for 10 years, added what now is known as the lodge in 1966. Max Wasserman, who bought the property from Bakwin in 1970, demolished Hawthorne Hill, then tried, but failed, to turn the inn into a resort before Brock purchased it.