TURNING 50: The 1661 Inn
There are several Block Island businesses celebrating their 50th year in 2020. This is the second article in the series.
Rita Draper, who operates The 1661 Inn and Farm and Garden with her family, reflected on how her family’s venture in the hospitality service came to be.
“Our foray into business on the island started with an overcrowded sailboat. My parents, two brothers and I visited Block Island regularly on our sailboat, but as we grew, we found the boat [became] too crowded. My mother came ashore to find a home, and came back with an inn, the Florida House which we rechristened The 1661 Inn. My father, Justin, continued to work on the mainland, and the rest of us dove into renovations and innkeeping. Over the last fifty years, we have taken on a number of businesses, including expanding The 1661 Inn property, the Abrams Animal Farm, the original renovation of the Hotel Manisses, The Oar and the Narragansett and a host of other projects. While sailing brought us here, we quickly became part of the community and cherish our history here,” said Draper.
Draper continues to run her island businesses with her husband Steve, and two of her three sons - Seth and Ross Draper. Now that her grandchildren help out when they are on the island, it is truly a forth generation family business.
“Our focus has always been on service - to our guests, employees and our community. We consider ourselves lucky that so many of our staff have been with us for over twenty-five years and that they share in that love of service as well. We truly are one family trying to share our love of the island with everyone,” added Draper.
To learn more on The 1661 Inn, check out blockislandresorts.com.