The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, the original New Hope b&b, is immersed in layers of history dating back many hundreds of years. The land was home to the Lenni Lenape Indians who survived here until 1775 when the last of the natives fled westward to escape the influences of "war and rum." The town of Holicong itself is named after a natural spring located on the property known as the Konkey Hole. Native American legend holds that a tribesman dropped a sheaf of barley into the deep, cavernous limestone spring, and it resurfaced over three miles away at the Ingham Spring. Another story claims it was a native American and not a sheaf of barley that made this trip. Yet another claims that it was a deer that jumped into the depths of the spring. In any case, the waters are deep and rich and they are the source of our drinking water here at the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm.
History continued to intrigue here at Barley Sheaf, with a rich colonial history. The property is part of the original William Penn Land Grant. Penn was awarded Pennsylvania and Delaware land by the crown to settle a £16,000 debt to his father. The original structure, the Stone Manor House, was constructed in 1740. The original Stone Bank Barn that, originally housed horse stalls stands across the circular courtyard.
During the ownership of Juliana Force, director of New York's Whitney Museum, the ice house was converted into a caretaker's cottage, and a swimming pool and a small pond were added to the property. A woodshed, corn crib, various storage buildings, and a greenhouse also came into being. George S. Kaufman and his wife Beatrice purchased Barley Sheaf Farm for $45,000 on September 25, 1936. The playwright dubbed his new home Cherchez La Farm, which means "I Can't Find the Farm" or "Dear Home: The Farm," depending on the translation. Kaufman pumped an estimated $100,000 into renovations on the old home, including a new kitchen, a theme he explored in his comedy George Washington Slept Here, which ran for 173 performances in New York before being filmed with Jack Benny as the star in 1942. Life Magazine featured a photo essay on the star-studded house parties at Barley Sheaf Farm in its edition of September 6, 1937. On the weekend of Life's photo-shoot the guests included Moss Hart, Harpo and Susan Marx, Broadway producer Max Gordon, Lillian Hellman, and lyricist Howard Dietz and his wife. Kaufman's outdoor passion was croquet, and a single match at Cherchez La Farm would sometimes last well into the night.
The farm was sold in 1953, then again in 1974 to Don and Ann Mills, who opened the property as the original New Hope b&b.
The current owners are particularly proud of the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, as an example of an adaptive reuse of a large old property, proving that it is possible to preserve and restore an old farm and make it self-sustaining and profitable, without the need to subdivide and develop the land. The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm is quintessential Bucks County and represents the finest of Bucks County history and heritage.
Not only is the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm an impressive example of exceptional hospitality, but Barley Sheaf Farm is an important model for the conservation and adaptive reuse of a beautiful old farm property in the Bucks County countryside. The owners are very seriously committed and deeply involved in land conservation and historic preservation in Bucks County Pennsylvania, and Barley Sheaf Farm is one of the jewels in their crown of important properties which are fine examples of land conservation and historic preservation in Bucks County. The adaptive reuse of this beautiful and historically important Bucks County property serves as a model to other preservationists and conservationists, proving that it is possible to restore and preserve a large and beautiful old property, and make it self-sustaining and profitable, without the need to divide it up and sell it off to developers. Guests' stays represent not only the finest lodging of any Bucks County hotel, but the money they spend helps to preserve the beautiful land and history that are quintessential Bucks County. These are indeed the very reasons why guests want to come to this beautiful region to appreciate it.
It is this unique and priceless setting that makes the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm the Inn that is truly exceptional and valuable. Guests are welcomed here to enjoy the rare magnificence that is the true essence of the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm. It is this wonderful heritage of history and beauty that is truly a hallmark of the Barley Sheaf Farm experience.