Life in Maryland
Historic Princess Anne inn receives preservation award
By Emily Witty /
August 14, 2017

For more than 270 years, the Washington Inn and Tavern has served as a headquarters for the Princess Anne community on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It was only fitting that when a prospective owner decided to revitalize the vacant historic structure to its former glory, he took on the immense task as a collaborative effort with the surrounding neighborhood.

A partnership with the Town of Princess Anne and Somerset County, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland Department of Commerce gave Ian Fleming the support that was needed to be able to restore every facet of the structure from mechanical systems to floor joists to windows.

"In all honesty, no single investor/developer/operator would take on this project on their own," Fleming said. "The economy is struggling in this area but there is great potential with its unique proximity to Salisbury and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The persuasion to take the project on came out of a plan developed by many different parties who understood the charm and sense of history that the Inn provided the community."

Through investors and matching Community Legacy grants, the Inn reopened its doors last September, offering visitors a unique combination of history, meeting space, and locally-sourced food. This summer, the Somerset County Historical Trust presented a preservation award to the public-private partnerships that made the Inn's restoration possible.

From left: Somerset County Economic Development Director Danny Thompson, Les Hall of Maryland Department of Commerce, Inn owner Ian Fleming, Inn Partner Kathy Washburn, contractor John Nicholson, former Town Manager Brenda Benton, Inn partner Charlotte Sharf, Town Commissioner Garland Hayward, Inn partner Jim Sharf, and Inn investors Beth and Albert Modiano

"The town could see this project as the cornerstone of main street economic regeneration," Fleming said. "An enormous amount of time and energy was put in by commissioners, managers, and staff to move this complex project forward and ensuring grant conditions were met and goals achieved."

The Washington Inn and Tavern is now hosting various community functions including wine nights, gourmet dinners, and select live music with the goal of reintroducing itself as a cornerstone to the community once again. For more information about the inn's history and to make a reservation, visit



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