Alex Ray, owner of the Common Man Family of Restaurants, surveys the work that was done in rebuilding an 1840's barn that he purchased and moved to Plymouth. Now known as The Barn on the Pemi, it is a rapidly growing venue for catered weddings, large social affairs and other special events. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 11, 2018PLYMOUTH — The Common Man Family of Restaurants is pleased to have welcomed their newest family member this spring, the Barn on the Pemi, which is situated behind The Italian Farmhouse on Route 3 in Plymouth.
While new to the "family," the barn itself actually dates back to the 1840's when it was built by Shakers for a potato farm in Canterbury. Common Man owner Alex Ray said the move from Canterbury to Plymouth was several years in the making.
"It was once part of the Peverly Farm down there and the new owner kept calling me to see if I wanted to buy a barn but I wasn't interested at the time," he said.
Then he heard from his catering staff that they were being called on to cater many events in barns all across the state and asked why they couldn't just have a barn of their own to work out of.
That's all it took for Ray as he looked around his property in Plymouth.
"The Italian Farmhouse was the perfect spot for a barn with the farmhouse already in place and the incredible views from here," he said.
On a clear day, mountains like majestic Mt. Lafayette in the northern White Mountains, Moosilauke and Cardigan to the west and southwest, and Prospect Mt. to the east are just a few of the magnificent vistas available from the property.
Committed to the idea of a new event venue, Ray rallied his team and formatted plans to move the nearly 200-year-old barn to Plymouth in 2016.
He said it took nearly three months to disassemble the barn piece by piece, carefully marking each board and fixture as it was removed. The massive structure was then trucked to Plymouth where it sat until the following spring of 2017 when the reconstruction process could begin.
Ray knew that the original barn was not going to be enough for the vision he had though, so as construction plans were being formulated, he went in hunt of other materials that would help his new dreams become reality.
"A lot of this barn is actually materials that have been repurposed," Ray explained.
In his hunt, he found pieces of other old structures like the metal roof from Rockingham Park and old doors from St. Paul's School that were incorporated into the structure. Stringers for the sweeping interior staircases came from pines cut down behind the Italian Farmhouse to make room for the barn while one of the bar tops is something he bought years ago in Boston, not knowing where or when he would use it at the time. It's now found its new home.
To complete the project Ray had a first-rate professional kitchen facility built on the basement level. Among the other modern amenities added were elevators to bring food to the two upper levels that are cleverly disguised with barn-style, folk art décor covering their doors.
A massive fireplace is the focal point along the far wall of the main floor and rustic-styled chandelier lighting lends an elegant atmosphere to the main hall and open loft area above. Glass doors leading to outdoor patios, quiet corners with bar set ups, quaint nooks off both levels for buffet service and a spacious dance floor further add to The Barn's outstanding features. Ray even had a projector and large screen installed for video presentations that tucks nearly away in the beams so as not to disrupt the atmosphere of the barn while not in use.
A broad brick walkway with wide gradual steps now lead to The Barn on the Pemi and beautiful gardens surround the building.
Future plans are to add "tiny houses" along the wooded hillside. Bridal parties will be able to stay right there on the property while trails leading to a main corridor of the snowmobile trail system along the Pemigewasset River will also make the houses available to other types of guests throughout the winter months.
One other special attraction to The Barn on the Pemi is the quaint old trolley car Ray found in Maryland that is being refurbished for the venue.
"Guests at the Common Man Inn who want to have dinner at the Italian Farmhouse or attend an event at The Barn will be able to take the shuttle down here then back again without having to worry about driving," said Ray. "I thought it would be a fun feature."
Opening just this spring, The Barn on the Pemi is already becoming a popular attraction for a variety of events. With the capability of accommodating 300 people at a time, it is the perfect place for large celebrations, but it can also provide a cozy atmosphere for as few as 25 people.
To learn more about the Common Man Family of Inns and Restaurants and The Barn on the Pemi, visit their Web sites, www.thecman.com or www.thebarnonthepemi.com.