Chieftain Motor Inn has Permanently Closed

For a number of years (1999 - 2013) this was the website for the Chieftain Motor Inn, located in Hanover, NH. After several site designs, the site's domain registration eventually expired after the motor inn closed in 2013 when the property was bought by Kendal in September 2013 for $2.5 million. Kendal at Hanover is an accredited, not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering comprehensive long-term care services, which support someone throughout their lifetime.

The content below is from the site's 2012 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.

Enjoy a nostalgic trip remembering the Chieftain Motor Inn.


Chieftain Motor Inn
84 Lyme Road
Hanover, NH
(27 miles southeast of VLS)


Enjoy exceptional views up the Connecticut River. All 22 spacious pine-paneled guest rooms have private baths, individual heating and air conditioning controls, cable-color television and telephones. Guests are served by a friendly staff and a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast basket is delivered to your room.

Yankee Magazine named the Chieftain Motor Inn a "Best of New England --Editors' Choice" winner in the May/June 2013 Travel Guide to New England!

Fall Foliage view from the back yard of the Chieftain Inn looking at the Connecticut River


Visitor Comment by Roger White: My family loves this area of NH and we spent many summers here, often staying at the Chieftain. Its proximity to many of the recreational areas we enjoyed made it ideal for us as a base for our adventures. We've spent many stays here both in summer and winter and have loads of great memories of this place. Back in the day there used to be a friendly yellow lab named Ricky that would welcome us warmly when we arrived. Ricky had a worn army blanket as a bed and one year we brought him a present - a brand new bed from Their dog beds are gorgeous, simple, washable, and so much more comfortable than a thin wool blanket. Ricky's owner was very appreciative and we noticed that as Ricky got older he would spend more time on his new bed, even during the day. We were very sad when the new owners took over, but realize that times change, and nothing lasts forever. However, one thing that will last forever in my mind is the great times we had staying here and enjoying the natural beauty of the Hanover area.



Kendal Won’t Expand on Old Motel Site

Published: 11/16/2016
By Rob Wolf | Valley News Staff Writer |

Hanover — Kendal at Hanover is pursuing a land deal in which the retirement community would license the former Chieftain Motor Inn property for public waterfront access and Dartmouth College would sell Kendal other property on which to expand.

Kendal bought the once popular motel at 84 Lyme Road in 2013 and demolished the buildings to make way for a roughly 30-apartment expansion. Since then, Kendal officials have reconsidered, and now may buy some of Dartmouth’s “Rivercrest” property to the immediate south of its site.

“We’re very excited to enter into this license with the town and partner with the community and other organizations,” such as the Dartmouth rowing team, said Jeff Roosevelt, a spokesman for Kendal.

Under the terms of the license, which the Selectboard is expected to take up on Monday, the town would be able to use the former Chieftain property for free, although Kendal would not have to pay property taxes on those 10.7 waterfront acres.

When the Chieftain was still a motel, high school and college rowing teams held regattas off the docks, and Dartmouth Greek-letter and other student organizations often booked the venue for events.

Kendal bought the land in September 2013 for $2.5 million, according to town assessing records, and the parcel was worth $1.8 million in 2015.

Kendal abandoned plans to build on the Chieftain land in 2014, Roosevelt said, because of site work costs and insufficient building space.

If the deal between Kendal and the town goes through, members of the public will be able to park in the upland portion of the Chieftain site and use the existing boat launch for water access, according to a draft of the license agreement.

Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin said the town, Kendal and various community groups had been discussing the license proposal for about six months.

“We have long hoped for more active public access in the 84 Lyme Road parcel, because it is such a lovely riverfront parcel,” she said in an email on Wednesday.

Kendal has been allowing rowing teams to use the property since the 2013 purchase, and Griffin expressed a desire to keep it open “while Kendal mulls their ultimate desired use of the property.”

Meanwhile, talks are underway to buy part of Dartmouth’s abutting property to the south, which stands between the existing Kendal facility and the federal Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.

Roosevelt said that the size of the expansion, its cost and the amount of land purchased all were dependent on whatever agreement Kendal and Dartmouth reach.

If Kendal were to expand onto the Rivercrest land, which once hosted graduate student housing for Dartmouth, it would move some residents closer to CRREL, a U.S. Army facility that is still cleaning up a contamination from trichloroethylene, a toxic coolant also called TCE.

The substance, which is associated with an increased risk of cancer, was discovered to have spilled into the surrounding environment more than a decade ago.

Kendal officials said, however, that contamination would not be a risk for residents of the expansion, were it to happen on Dartmouth’s nearby land.

“Any agreement with Dartmouth will make sure that it is safe,” Roosevelt said.

Griffin, for her part, agreed, saying that she had “no concern about TCE, whatsoever.”

College administrators did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Dartmouth in the 2000s planned to turn the 1960s-era Rivercrest development into a larger housing facility, but backed away from the idea after the financial crisis and eventually tore down the roughly 60 existing units, according to Valley News stories from the time.

Kendal also is seeking a zoning amendment that would remove regulatory barriers to its expansion.

Hanover’s current zoning ordinance caps the number of dwelling units in a continuing care retirement community at 250, regardless of parcel size.

Kendal is already at that limit, so its proposed zoning amendment would raise the maximum number of units to 310.

The retirement community proposed another zoning amendment in 2015, which would have facilitated an expansion on its existing property.

The measure failed, Roosevelt said, in part because some residents mistakenly believed that the amendment would have allowed construction on the Chieftain Motor Inn site, which presumably would have ended public water access there.

The Planning Board on Tuesday night discussed the zoning amendments slated for 2017 Town Meeting, but was not scheduled to take action, according to its agenda. The Planning Board in 2015 recommended that the town adopt the unsuccessful Kendal zoning amendment.

The Selectboard is scheduled to address the potential Kendal license at 7:30 p.m. Monday during a public forum at Town Hall.




Jaqueline Y.
Tustin, CA
I stayed here a couple weeks ago for an interview at Dartmouth and had a pleasant experience. All the hotels in Hanover are extremely pricey and this was the most affordable at $99 a night (hotels surrounding Dartmouth cost $150+). With the Dartmouth discount, I only paid $91 with tax included. I'd read all the reviews on the web and was hoping for the best when I arrived.

I was told over the phone that there would be a free shuttle running from the Dartmouth Coach drop-off point to the Inn, but what they failed to mention was that the shuttle stops running around 6pm. Unfortunately, I arrived at 7pm! There is a taxi service they can call for you that costs a flat rate of $13 for the two mile drive.

The inn itself is very quaint and clean. It looked a little dated, but I'd been prepared for that from other reviews. The staff member at the front checked me in, printed me my receipt and instructed me how to get to my room. He was more than accommodating and taught me how to use the shuttle in the morning. I walked over to my room, and opened the door to a clean and spacious space! I checked the bathroom and it was very nice and modern. Bathrooms are a big thing for me, so I definitely approve! Amenities in the room include a TV, hair dryer, iron & board, shampoo, conditioner and body wash (no lotion). Oh, lots and lots of towels are provided as well. TV is equipped with DirectTV so lots of channels to surf while you're bored. The bed is comfy enough and no bed bugs! I've heard horror stories about bed bugs, so that was really something I watched out for. There's a thermostat in the room also, so you can adjust the temperature however you like. I didn't really know how to use it, so I just played around with it but I'm sure you could call the front desk for help if needed.

Last thing, there is horrible reception at this place for T-Mobile users; I had to sit in one place (and stay still) to use my cell. There is a phone you can use for free long-distance in the room, so that was definitely a plus. It's almost impossible to get data here but you can get uber slow speeds if you're lucky. The inn offers free Wi-Fi, but you have to go sit in the lobby to use this feature. 

Continental breakfast in the morning starts at 7 and includes bagels, danishes, turnovers, muffins, cereal, Chobani yogurt and coffee. I was happy to stay here and would do it again!


Jane D.
New York, NY

Despite the schlocky name, which probably goes back to the pre-PC days when neighboring Dartmouth College had an "Indian" as its mascot, this humble little motel is not without some charms.

Most importantly for us, it's dog friendly, with a wooded area appended to the motel grounds. If you stumble around back there long enough, you come across some marked, semi-groomed trails. In the summertime, you can also wade around in the shallows of the calm, slow-running Connecticut River out back. The motel is only about two miles from campus. You could easily commute back and forth by canoe if you were so inclined.

Traffic on Lyme Road is a bit loud, especially since the motel isn't set very far back from the road at all -- but it's nothing that New Yorkers can't tune out, esp. with the help of ear plugs. Unfortunately, it's harder to tune out your neighbors if they're noisy: Those walls are amazingly porous! Rooms are a tad shabby feeling because of the dated decor, dirty windows, dirty external staircases, peeling paint on the front door and dim lighting. But inside, they are neat and homey. Our room came with a love seat, a reasonably comfortable bed, a tiny dining table squeezed into the corner with two chairs, a standard issue motel desk and a spotless bathroom that smelled strongly of bleach. Soap and shampoo are surprisingly nice and definitely a cut above Motel 6's magically undissolvable soap. Just be aware that there is no cleaning service during shorter stays.

A continental breakfast is included and includes some grocery store pastries, cereal, yogurt, instant oatmeal and fruit. There's a small Hanover Co-op store about a mile south on Lyme Road if you want to self-cater your meals.

I'm not sure I'd ever stay at the Chieftain if I didn't need a dog-friendly place in the area to spend the night, since there are some lovely bed and breakfasts in nearby towns for not much more than the Chieftain's nightly rate of about $160 / night (plus an additional $35 fee for pets). But given the constraints, it's not a bad option.


Kristian P.
Brookline, MA
I interviewed at Dartmouth last week and stayed at the Chieftain Inn. It was so cheap that I was actually a bit nervous that it would really be a dump but I was pleasantly surprised in every regard. Friendly service, clean and well kept room, incredible experience for less than half the price of other Hanover Inns. I will say that the water had a hint of sulfur but I know that can't be helped in some areas with high sulfur content in the soil. If I am accepted to Dartmouth this will be my selection every time I have guests.





Welcome to the Chieftain Inn, conveniently located to Dartmouth College, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research Engineering Lab - CRREL and Kendal at Hanover retirement community. Due to our proximity, we also accommodate the lodging needs for guests visiting Cardigan Mountain School, Thetford Academy and The Mountain School.

The Chieftain Inn is a family owned and operated Inn, and has been in existence since the early 1950s. (We must be doing something right!) When you stay with us you are welcomed into a comfortable, rustic "home away from home" setting. You become an extension of our family. Our beautiful grounds will take your breath away and our hospitality will make you want to visit with us longer.

            ~ Jennifer, Carl, Mellissa,
                        Amanda, Cody and CJ


"Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to spark up a conversation with me (very unusual these days) while making my reservation for my son and I to visit Dartmouth College. I’m certainly glad that we took you up on your suggestion to turn our visit into a mini vacation and do some skiing. The Dartmouth Skiway and Whaleback were great suggestions. They were in close proximity, had a variety of trails and were cheaper than the larger mountains. We had a blast. Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me on the phone. You are great and your Inn is cozy."
                  ~Lacham Shew December 2010


Thank you very much! I left my key in the basket. Your back lawn is very beautiful- and the breakfasts were great. I enjoyed my warm stay. Thanks!
            ~ Brett Anderson
            June 2009


This is a vacation as active as you want or just relax!
The Chieftain Inn is situated on the bank of New Hampshire's nmost vast and powerfull river, the Connecticut River
Thus, you are offered the perfect get-a-way


Amenities & Rates

The Chieftain Inn has all the charm of a rustic inn with all the modern amenities. We have 22 rooms. Fourteen of those rooms have back doors that open up directly to our pool, back yard, gazebo and barbecues. We have rooms that are equipped with a king bed, or two full size beds or a queen bed with a full pull out sofa.

A continental breakfast is available each morning starting at 7:00am and ending at 11:00am. We do our best to take dietary needs into consideration. We do our best to take our guests' dietary needs into consideration, including those following vegan or gluten-free diets.

Free WiFi is available in the guest living room and the breakfast room. These rooms are open all night. The breakfast room tends to become a "wireless café" in the evening where many of our guests sit, surf and converse. Many guests usually find a common thread amongst each other, whether it be, Dartmouth, DHMC, Kendal or simply vacationing.

"Thank you so much for everything! You have a wonderful place and the greatest family ever! I'll definitely be back!"
            ~ Kim, Amy's Friend
            August 2009


On Site Activities

The Chieftain Inn is not only a clean, comfortable place to lay your head down at night. It can be your vacation destination! Our location to town and our grounds gives you the choice to be as active as you want or just relax. The property's nearly one thousand feet of river frontage offers our guests an opportunity to take a pleasant walk or picnic on the riverbank. If you are more adventurous, canoeing, kayaking or fishing will provide you with an opportunity to enjoy exquisite views of the rolling hills of Vermont, and farmlands of New Hampshire.

"We had a delightful 2-days of paddling in the upper valley, Connecticut River. Perfect weather, flat calm waters, wonderful company, good networking and yummy vittals."
            ~Bonna Weiler



Our location on the Connecticut River allows us to offer a premier sculling camp. Rowing is a suitable sport for anyone wishing to begin a fitness program, as well as the seasoned athlete looking for a cross training option or an impact free program.

Black Bear Sculling Camp

A rowing camp that is open to all ages and abilities. Our youngest camper is 8 years old, and our oldest is 80. We have beginners of all ages as well as many top scullers, from youth to masters, come to the Chieftain and be a part of our program. All guest rooms have private bath, A.C. units, Blow dryers, T.V. and phones. Where else can you or your child attend a camp, learn or perfect a skill, and feel as if they are on vacation. Here with us! We keep the vacationer in mind by offering frequent trips into town, offering great shops, restaurants, libraries, museums, and a movie theater.

Hold Your Own Camp

We Provide the Location . . . You Provide the Coaches

The Chieftain Inn is a perfect location for you to hold a training camp with your crew. Our rooms, location and grounds make us an ideal location for running camps and sculling camps. The Chieftain Inn is currently the home to Black Bear Sculling camp. and has been for over 5 years. Tabor Academy used us as a training location prior to competing in the Henley Cup. We hosted a training camp in the Summer of '08 for the US Men's Quad Olympic Team prior to them competing in the Olympics in Beijing.

You create your own training itinerary, bring your own coaches and we will supply the lodging, food and evening entertainment activities.

"The location and hospitality of the Chieftain Motor Inn and the long miles of unspoiled river make this place the best spot for summer rowing in the country. The nature around you makes rowing not only a perfect physical activity but also a very unique spiritual experience."
            ~ Kris Korzeniowski
            The National Team


On Site Activities: FISHING

Whether you are an avid fisherman and like a challenge, or you just want to share an experience with your child, the Connecticut River will satisfy both these needs. Fish from our dock and your child will most likely catch a sun fish. The excitement and look of achievement on their face will forever be branded in your memory and theirs. Rent our fishing launch for a one-two person fishing excursion and feel the excitement as the smallmouth bass fight you all the way. Don’t let the name fool you. These fish can be ferocious and way between 2-4 lbs. Larger parties our 12 passenger pontoon boat is available to rent. Fishing equipment is available free of charge to our guests. New Hampshire fishing licenses are available to purchase at the front desk.

Go on a Guided Fishing Excursion: For only $534.20 (tax included based on 2 people) experience a guided fishing float trip on the Beautiful Connecticut River, complete with a fantastic streamside lunch. All equipment with flies or lures is included. You will fish from a brand new McKenzie Drift Boat - Safe & Comfortable with padded seating and back support. Also included are two nights lodging with breakfast at the Chieftain Inn. Reservations for this package can be arranged through our website (please note that you are interested in going on a fishing tour in the special needs section) or by calling (603) 643-2550. The tour will be provided by:

Boat Rental

As a guest of the Inn you are entitled to rent one of our boats and enjoy the calm clean waters of the Connecticut River. Nestled between the banks of New Hampshire and the hills of Vermont, this magnificent river is the perfect place for fishing, water sports, or just cruising the picturesque shore-line. Long stretches of the river have no structures on them at all, just natural beauty as it might have been 100 years ago. Possible sightings during your river trip may include bald eagles, hawks, ospreys, ducks and much more. Shore side plants offer spots of color, and in the fall, the foliage alone is worth the trip. Stop off at one of the many islands, have lunch and explore!

"Thanks everyone for the wonderful time. We were looking for an inexpensive vacation and we found one! The children were just as happy hanging out here fishing and exploring as they would have been at an amusement park. We will be back!"
            Tara Shianne
            August 2009


Area Activities

Our beautiful location in the Upper Valley provides our guests an extraordinary view of the Connecticut River, a restful setting and easy access to a wide variety of recreational and cultural activities.

There is something for everyone, close by or within a day's drive! All the activities that we have listed on our website are within 30 minutes of the Chieftain Inn and are personal family favorites.
The White Mountains are only a 1 ½ - 2 hours drive from the Chieftain Inn.

"Staying at the Chieftain was awesome. We exhausted our children with all the indoor and outdoor activities. This is a place where we could actually have a family vacation and not be distracted with a lot of 'fluff'. It brought us back to the basics of family fun. Thanks for the pontoon boat ride on the river to watch the fireworks. We felt like royalty. A treat we will never forget."
            ~ Myranda Donden
            July, 2009


Area Activities :: Skiing

The Chieftain Inn is conveniently located to two family orientated downhill ski operations and a vast array of groomed cross country ski trails.

Down Hill Skiing:
We are only 11 miles from the Dartmouth Ski way and Whaleback. With 85 acres boasting 30 trails, Whaleback has something for everyone. The Dartmouth Ski way offers big-mountain challenges in a family-friendly setting with more than 100 ski-able acres spread over two mountains; a 968-foot vertical drop, affordable ski tickets, a full-service day lodge, superb grooming, and exciting terrain features.

Cross Country Skiing:
We are only 3.5 miles from the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center which maintains over twenty-five kilometers of groomed cross country ski trails on Oak Hill and Garipay Field in Hanover, New Hampshire, as well as the ice on Occom Pond for ice skating. Rentals and lessons are available.


Nature Enthusiast

If you love nature then the Chieftain Inn is where you want to be. We are surrounded by nature. Your adventures are endless with water on one side of us, and a very complex trail system on the other side. Explore both and you will be surprised by what you see, maybe a large snapping turtle or a patch of lady slippers. We are only 2.1 miles from the Appalachian Trail which runs through the town of Hanover N.H.

  • Hiking
  • Bicycling
  • Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Canoeing
  • Rowing
  • Fishing
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Bike Rental Form

"A cozy road stop turned riverside inn, the Chieftain Motor Inn retains elements of both. Easy to find traveling north from Hanover, the Chieftain's charms open to the west with views of the Connecticut River and Vermont hillsides. Offering a sizeable river landing below, and four kinds of river craft at your feet, the warmer months promise all kinds of water-born activities. While visiting in the cooler months, with the red squirrels and chickadees outside my window, I found it a perfect place to write a chapter or two, and break out my journal.

One serene morning bathed in November light, I entered the river by canoe. Everything fell into place, and I was blessed with a mother lode of images. Four keepers in a row for my study of bare trees in the water and the surprising properties of incident light! As an extra bonus to this nature loving photographer, the price of the canoe was included in the room rate."
            ~ Natica Lyons
            November 2009


Events :: Weddings & Functions

The Chieftain Inn's beautifully landscaped and spacious grounds make the perfect spot to hold an event. Your event can be a small family affair or a large function. The Chieftain Inn is small enough for you to experience a "home away from home" atmosphere yet large enough to accommodate most, if not all of your family and friends. We can plan your function or just help you plan it or just leave you alone. Some of the types of events that have been held at the Chieftain Inn are:

  1. Corporate Functions
  2. Family Reunions
  3. Birthday Parties
  4. Graduation Parties
  5. Baby Showers

"Dear Jennifer,
We greatly appreciate the wonderful hospitality shown to us Labor Day week-end. You were so thoughtful to invite us to go down by the river and take some great pictures. We also enjoy our 'annual barbeque' we have with family there. Thank you for making our vacation so very special."
            Ed & Doris Shockley
            September, 2009



Driving North on I-91:
Take Exit 13 (Norwich, VT). Turn right and cross the bridge over the Connecticut River. Drive up the hill (West Wheelock Street) to traffic light. Continue on to second traffic light and turn left onto Rte 120. Drive to the next traffic light and turn onto Rte 10 North. The Chieftain is two miles up on the left side of the highway.

Driving South from the Canadian Border:
Take Exit 13 (Norwich, VT). Turn right and cross the bridge over the Connecticut River. Drive up the hill (West Wheelock Street) to traffic light. Continue on to second traffic light and turn left onto Rte 120. Drive to the next traffic light and turn onto Rte 10 North. The Chieftain is two miles up on the left side of the highway.

From I-93 North, take I-89 North:
Take Exit 18 at Lebanon, NH and turn right on Rte 120 towards Hanover. Continue on Rte 120 through Hanover to the traffic light at the intersections and turn right onto Rte 10 North. Drive two miles north and the Chieftain is on the left side of the highway.