Perched on the edge of Wolfeboro’s downtown, directly across from Brewster Academy preparatory school, Pickering House had been a local historic landmark for generations. But by 2015, Pickering House had fallen into such disrepair that the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance placed it on an annual list of seven historic properties that needed to be saved. When Pickering House was slated for almost certain demolition to make way for commercial development, Wolfeboro residents Peter and Patty Cooke bought the property. They then spent more than two years carefully planning a new life for Pickering House as a distinctive inn and unique spot for celebrations and gatherings in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
Throughout the renovation and to this day, the Cookes have been overwhelmed and gratified by the tremendous outpouring of community support for Pickering House and its reinvention. In 2019, we were gratified to be named to the National Register of Historic Places and selected by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler as a top hotel in New England.
The story began way back in 1813 when John Pickering constructed a Federal style tavern on South Main Street. Two years later, his brother, Daniel Pickering, bought the building and turned it into his private home. Around 1843, he enlarged the home and remodeled the entire building in the Greek Revival style. At one time, much of the land on either side of South Main Street in Wolfeboro was owned by Daniel Pickering. Perhaps the town’s most prominent citizen in the mid-1800’s, he played a leadership role in nearly all aspects of Wolfeboro. Over a 40 year span, he opened numerous businesses, including the Pavilion Hotel, which attracted guests from Boston and beyond.
The owners of Pickering House — Peter and Patty Cooke — are Wolfeboro residents with extensive experience completing sensitive renovations of older properties. Patty operates Wentworth Style, a renovation and interior design firm, and Peter has many years of commercial real estate project management experience.
Peter and Patty moved to Wolfeboro full time in 2010, but the area has played an important role throughout their lives. Patty’s family spent the summers on nearby Kingswood Lake and she was a summer camper and counselor at Wolfeboro’s Lake Wentworth. Once Peter and Patty married, they spent every summer in Wolfeboro with their own children. Wolfeboro holds a special place in their hearts and they feel strongly about preserving the strong sense of community that gives the town its unique character.