PIQUA — A home that was opened up to the community as a bed and breakfast was recently named the best bed and breakfast in all of Ohio.
Arrowston Inn, located at 1220 Park Ave. in Piqua, was the winner of the category “Best Bed and Breakfast/Inn” in Ohio in this year’s 2016 “Best of Ohio Reader’s Choice” awards, sponsored by Ohio Magazine. Every year, Ohio Magazine sponsors a poll that compiles a list of the best attractions and venues in Ohio, chosen by readers.
“We were shocked, and we were just thrilled,” said Georgia Armstrong, who co-owns Arrowston Inn with her husband, Dr. Norman Armstrong. “It’s quite an honor, we are very, very honored to hear.”
The bed and breakfast currently is closed for the winter, but will reopen in mid-April.
Armstrong said the past season was the inn’s third season, which ran from April 15 to Oct. 15. “We feel like it’s a very special place … we’ve had fantastic people staying with us,” she said.
When asked what brought about turning their home into a bed and breakfast, Armstrong explained that it was her history in the South that first inspired the idea.
“I grew up in South Carolina, and I went to college in Charleston, S.C., and there are a lot of bed and breakfasts in South Carolina,” Armstrong said. “That home reminds of the beautiful bed and breakfasts in South Carolina.”
She and her husband then decided to share it and its history with travelers and community members alike.
“I just suggested to him that we have this lovely home, it’s just the two of us, and there’s so much history … why don’t we share it as a bed and breakfast?” Armstrong said. “And it’s been so much fun.”
Piqua locals may also know the Arrrowston Inn as the Woods Estate.
“Most of the people in Piqua know the estate as the Woods Estate because of the Woods family that owned it before my husband,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong explained that they searched the history of the house and the land that is on and found out that an Indian tribe had resided there at some point in the past. According to Armstrong, when someone dug around the foundation, there were numerous arrowheads found there, hence the original name of the estate, Arrowston.
“We just thought Arrowston sounded better than any of the other names we thought of before,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong noted that the history of house itself centered on a couple families. “The original house in 1887 was built for William K. Boal. He was the owner of Favorite Stove and Range Company,” she said, explaining that their company made the old cast-iron wood burning stoves and heating stoves. “He had the original house built for his family.
“The second owner of the home was Lucius Cron,” Armstrong continued, explaining that Cron bought the home from Boal for a period of time. “He was the owner of a funeral home business in Piqua and also a furniture industry.”
Armstrong explained that when Cron passed away, the story of the house becomes interesting. According to Armstrong, William W. Wood bought the house, whose family owned the Wood, Shovel and Tool Company.
“He married the Boals’ daughter,” Armstrong said about William Wood and the original owner, William Boal. “It brought it back to the Boal family.”
Wood and his wife lived in the home, and the after they passed away, Wood’s son Bill and his wife lived in the home.
“Bill and Fran Wood, they were friends with Bing Crosby and his family. They would come and visit the Woods(es),” Armstrong said. “Bing Crosby used to visit the home quite often.” Armstrong added that Crosby was a fan of the home, saying, “Bing Crosby loved the house, and he said that if he could take our home and move it to West coast, it would be his.”
After Bill and Fran Wood passed away, Armstrong’s husband bought the home and has owned it for 27 years.
“The fun part about having the bed and breakfast is, of course, sharing it with other people,” Armstrong said, explaining that they have had visitors from not only Ohio but from Wisconsin and other parts of the United States, as well as from Canada and England.
Being named “Best Bed and Breakfast” in Ohio illustrates what the Armstrongs already know about Arrowston Inn: people love it.
“People who have never been to Piqua, when they arrive and they walk into the foyer of the house, they’re like, ‘We get to stay here?’” Armstrong said. Armstrong added that she wishes she had a camera to capture the expressions on her visitors’ faces sometimes when they first take a look around the house.
“People are so happy … and they just love it,” she said.
Armstrong and her husband are also always there when they have people staying with them. “We are always there, and we talk to them and give them tours of the house … we make them feel welcome, and also, I do all of the cooking.”
Armstrong said that giving tours of the home fits in with her background as a teacher and she cooks their guests a gourmet breakfast.
“They know that we are very involved in running this bed and breakfast,” she said.
Darke County was also awarded five accolades in the 2016 “Best of Ohio Reader’s Choice” awards, including:
• Best Main Street/Downtown: Main Street Greenville
• County Fair: The Darke County Fair (second year in a row)
• Best Historical Museum: Garst Museum (second year in a row)
• Best Summer Festival: Gathering at Garst
• Best Winery: The Winery at Versailles
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall