For Brie and Matt Woods, it took just one visit to fall in love with Owego’s historic charm. The couple had been searching for a property such as the Belva Lockwood Inn, located at 249 Front St., and when they stumbled across it available for sale, they immediately arranged to travel from Annapolis, Md. to see it.
Last summer a dream was fulfilled for the couple when previous owners of the inn, Ike and Julie Lovelass, handed off the keys to Brie and Matt. July 1, 2022 was the official transition date for the new owners.
Julie and Ike conveyed, “We have been privileged to have Matt and Brie buy the Inn. They will honor Belva Lockwood’s name, and have both been very open to learning the ropes about running the Inn,” adding, “They have been very open to getting to know the Owego community, too, and the community has truly welcomed them with open arms. Owego is lucky to have them.”
Julie and Ike continue to operate The Owego Kitchen just around the corner on Lake Street, and also shared, “We have been still pretty involved at the Inn with the many caterings that Brie and Matt have booked from us.”
Brie, from Chincoteague Island, on Virginia’s eastern shore, grew up in the hospitality business. Before moving to Owego she was involved with everything to do with wedding planning at various venues in-and-around Annapolis, Md., and is well-versed with meeting and dealing with the public.
Matt, who grew up outside of Chicago, is an information technology professional and content developer, and is able to work remotely while also being involved at the inn.
The Woods shared that first impressions of Owego were positive, and Matt commented, “There was an immediate sense of community, and welcoming neighbors,” and Brie added that now, six-plus months in, she feels, “Owego is a place we can now call home.”
Regarding the operation of the inn, Brie and Matt remarked, “We are not here to change anything,” and ensured that they will aspire to continue sharing the historical significance of the property.
Actually, Matt and Brie were drawn to the fascinating story of the property, from the time Charles Pumpelly lived there and his contributions to Owego, to learning that 249 Front St. has evidence of being a safe stop for the Underground Railroad as well as a former home for the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and then, of course, feeling connected with a special fondness for Belva Lockwood’s time there.
While admiring a portrait of Belva Lockwood in the main sitting room, both Matt and Brie agreed, “Belva was driven, and advocated for all people.”
Brie and Matt will continue to embrace the “Be Like Belva” campaign, too, that began shortly after the inn opened in 2018.
Lockwood, who studied law in the 1870’s, was the first woman to practice before the Supreme Court. Among many notable accomplishments, Lockwood ran for President of the United States twice and authored several articles about the women’s suffragist movement. Her portrait is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Lockwood’s connection to Owego stems from her career as the principal of the Owego Female Seminary from 1863 to 1865 located at 249 Front St., and where a historic marker placed on the property recognizes that piece of history.
Today, the Belva Lockwood Inn is a comfortable inn featuring five individual rooms with queen-sized beds and private baths, and offers boutique-like linens and other luxury-like amenities. The inn draws travelers from near and far, and is often host to guests working at nearby Lockheed Martin.
Brie and Matt have hosted several private events and look forward to more, such as weddings, and birthday and anniversary parties, among others. The inn has space for a more intimate setting, and welcomes parties of 50 or less. Matt and Brie have also been involved with community events such as Porch Fest, and look forward to the annual Strawberry Festival in June.
Most recently the couple hosted a Women’s Retreat, the second session since they assumed ownership, and recently reached out to the Ti-Ahwaga Players to pursue a potential future “Murder Mystery” evening.
Brie and Matt look forward to partnering with other local businesses as well. A special accomplishment, Brie was recently selected to be on the Board of Directors of Finger Lakes Wine Country, and is excited to connect that role to the inn, as well as to Owego, which has been identified as a “Gateway to the Finger Lakes.”
The couple shared, “We hope to bring a little bit of us to the Belva Lockwood Inn, while maintaining its timeless, elegant and traditional setting.”
The Woods are announcing an event scheduled for April 21, a Mediterranean five-course dinner with wine pairing. Tickets will go on sale soon, either online or by phone. Updated information will be available via their website or Facebook page.
To learn more about the Belva Lockwood Inn or inquire about special events, visit belvalockwoodinn.com, or call (607) 223-4367.