Day Trips

Take a ride in the slow lane at the Country Place Hotel in Fayetteville

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

Country Place Hotel in Fayetteville has gone from being the funkiest hotel in Texas to being among the best places in the state to spend a night in the slow lane.

In an early issue of a statewide magazine, the hotel was singled out for its rustic but friendly accommodations. Fifteen years later, after a complete remodel, the same place made the magazine's list of best small-town hotels. "They were really talking about two different hotels," says Clovis Heimsath, who, along with his wife and business partner, Maryann, has owned the beautiful brick building on the square in Fayetteville since 1972.

The inn is more of a bed-and-breakfast than a traditional hotel. Each of the eight rooms is tastefully decorated with antiques, and handmade quilts cover the beds. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with private bathrooms, and a gourmet breakfast is included in the price. Downstairs, in the rear of the building, the Moravian Room hosts weddings, concerts, and special dinners. Many of Clovis' paintings hang on the walls. Behind the hotel, in the old carriage house, Clovis has his art gallery and studio, where he works on weekends.

Parts of the building date to the late 1800s, when Hugo Zapp opened his mercantile business in the farming village. In 1900 he added a two-story red-brick building accented with yellow-brick trim and upstairs porches at either end of the hallway that runs the length of the building. Over the years, the building has housed a dry goods store, photography studio, hospital, school, cafe, boarding house, and speakeasy in the basement during Prohibition.

The couple purchased the building at the beginning of the bed-and-breakfast phenomenon. "We rented the rooms upstairs for $15 a night," Maryann says. The rooms were sparsely furnished and had no air conditioning, and only two bathrooms served all of the customers. "It was very causal," she says.

Clovis was teaching at Rice University at the time and working as an award-winning architect in Houston rehabilitating old homes. The Heimsaths and their five children wanted to escape the city, so they purchased a farm outside of Fayetteville. In 1975 the Zapp building became home to the family's architecture firm.

Ten years later, the mom-and-pop architecture company moved to Austin (now son Ben manages the business). "By that time we were either going to be known as the architects who let the building fall down or the architects who saved it," Clovis says. They decided to be the latter by redefining the building while retaining its historical charm.

The second edition of the Country Place Hotel opened on Labor Day 2003. "A lot of people found us on the Internet," Maryann says, "but more have heard about us from their friends." You can find the Heimsaths at www.countryplacehotel.com or by calling 979/966-7771. Rooms rent for $95 to $150 a night.

1,015th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips" 101-200, is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Country Place Hotel, Fayetteville, Clovis Heimsath, Hugo Zapp, Maryann Heimsath

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