The Anchor Inn Hotel: From Prohibition to Present
My first impression of the Anchor Inn Hotel, if I may reference a catch phrase from a well known eighty’s TV sitcom, is “A place where everybody knows my name.” It’s more of a feeling than a fact. After all, I’m just one of a few thousand faces that have visited this establishment over the last few months and, being that I’m 30 minutes into my first visit, I am pretty sure nobody knows my name. Perhaps it’s the friendly “hello” as you walk in, the casual banter from the server, “Where you from?” and “ Where you going?”, or the plate full of chicken wings and a local pint of beer sitting on the table in front of me. Maybe it’s just the comfort of knowing a nights rest is just a flight of stairs away. Hmmm, no it’s not any one of those things— it’s all of them. You can’t ask for more at the end of a long day on the road than to end up at a place where you instantly feel like you belong.
Overnight accommodations above town pubs can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Here at the corner of Worthington St. and Water St. in Little Current, Ontario, the Anchor Inn Hotel has been providing tourists with the original take on the all-inclusive stay experience of food, room and entertainment since the end of prohibition. The building itself dates back to 1888 and, with the current owners at the helm for the past two decades, the Inn has undergone a number of improvements. The ownership prides itself on their businesses environmental efficiency—recycling, composting and energy efficiency are maximized. At the same time, the Inn maintained its historical charm so while you will find the modern convenience of high speed internet in your room. What you won’t find is an elevator, air-conditioning or a phone.
As you retrace the steps of a centuries worth of fellow travellers up the wooden stairs, on right side of the main floor you can enjoy fine dining at the onsite restaurant serving up delicious Canadian fare. Particularly tasty is the fresh local whitefish and rainbow trout from the cold waters of Lake Huron.
On the left of the main floor, welcome to the party. Pull up a stool at the bar, shoot a game of pool or catch the latest sport action on the tv screens. On the weekends DJ or live music set the mood. On the two floors above you will find accommodations ranging from double occupancy rooms to a two bedroom apartment (we were unable to get in for photos as the inn was full!). Staying above a pub does have some unique traits—it’s no secret that on the weekends the rooms directly above the bar come with a bit of a sound track, so if you are a light sleeper you might want to take that into consideration.
It’s late September and things are pretty quiet in Little Current, but it’s not hard to imagine this place a buzz with summer activity. While the Anchor Inn Hotel might have your evenings covered, being located just steps from one of the best boating destinations anywhere, the North Channel of Lake Huron, and at the gateway to the largest fresh water island in the world, Manitoulin Island, there is so much to explore. Shop along Water Street, stroll the water’s edge boardwalk, take a boat cruise, go horseback riding, take in the grand views from nearby lookouts or day trip in search of Manitoulin Island’s hidden charms. One night’s stay is definitely not long enough.
The Anchor Inn Hotel has a lot going for itself, located as it is in the heart of a northern Ontario town with Manitoulin Island at its door step. It offers historical charm, comfortable accommodations, delicious food and nightly entertainment, but most of all, at the and of a long day on the road, it offers the comfort of the feeling that this is the place you belong. Who knows, if you stay a while everybody here might even know your name.