Developer seeking to create legacy with The Glass Barn at Lake Winnipesaukee venue

By John Koziol Union Leader Correspondent

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Glass Barn Hill - Main House Entry View

A rendering depicts The Glass Barn at Lake Winnipesaukee, a year-round wedding and gathering venue, proposed to be built off Cherry Valley Road in Alton – Provided by Lakes Region Hospitality Group

Amy Grimm and Jeremy Martin pose for a photo at the offices of Lakes Region Home Design in Gilford earlier in May

GILFORD — Amy Grimm hopes to develop what will be a legacy wedding and gathering venue in the Lakes Region.

Grimm, 39, is the principal of Lakes Region Hospitality Group whose inaugural effort is The Glass Barn at Lake Winnipesaukee, which is to be located on a 141.7 acre hillside parcel off Cherry Valley Road in Alton.

With an estimated construction cost of between $20 million and $30 million, The Glass Barn, is tentatively scheduled to open sometime in 2027.

The Glass Barn, located on a 141-acre hillside parcel off Cherry Valley Road in Alton, would be constructed by Lakes Region Home Design of Gilford. The firm is led by Jeremy Martin and previously built a vacation home in Meredith for the Grimm family.

Her family is from Connecticut, but Grimm says they used to vacation frequently in Vermont and New Hampshire, where she skied at  Bretton Woods and Cranmore and where a family member, who lives in Laconia, used to take them out onto Lake Winnipesaukee.

She married Jon Grimm, a co-founder of Toast, Inc. a hugely successful, publicly-traded restaurant-management software company based in Boston, and they have two children.

In 2019, after the birth of their second child, and after a decade as a nurse, Grimm decided she wanted to do something “that allows me to be creative,” but then the pandemic hit.

The pandemic “deeply affected me,” said Grimm, during a May 16 interview at the offices of Lakes Region Home Design.

“I wanted to leave a legacy behind and this (The Glass Barn) is a passion project for me.”

Thanks to her knowledge of the Lakes Region, Grimm knew that Alton – because of its proximity to multiple amenities on both the east and west sides of the Big Lake – was the place to realize her dream and she began searching online for land in the town.

“I was looking for something unique and special,” she said, and she found it in the form of a previously undeveloped piece of property near the Gilford border.

She climbed to the top of the property with Martin and recalled just standing there, taking in the “almost 360-degreee views,” which extend down to Alton Bay, nearly up to Meredith Bay, and across to the Ossipee Mountains.

“You felt like you were in an airplane,” she said, and remembered thinking “How can people experience this and in what way?”

As a gusty November wind blew around her, Grimm imagined seeing a billowing bridal veil, which gave her the idea for a year-round wedding venue, which since has evolved to include corporate retreats, family reunions and any event for up to 175, onsite, overnight guests.

Mindful of noise, all receptions at The Glass Door will take place inside, said Grimm. She said the project is privately financed and will create 350 construction jobs and 15 to 20 full-time jobs at the venue.

Grimm and Martin said they’ve listened to concerns about the project, and that to address them, are in the process of sending out a courtesy letter introducing themselves and the project to all legal abutters, something they will also be required by law to do when The Glass Barn goes to the Alton ZBA and Planning Board on June 6.

Grimm is seeking a special exception to allow a commercial use in a rural zone and a variance for accessory dwelling units.

Grimm then hopes to file a site-plan application with the town sometime in early fall, and to break ground shortly thereafter. She’ll also needs alteration-of-terrain and wetland permits from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

She said The Glass Barn intends to be a steward of the natural resources onsite, and towards that end is leaving more than half of the land undisturbed while also planting 200 trees. To reduce fertilizer runoff, lawns will be “minimized,” said Grimm, while a 60-foot-long wooden covered bridge will be built over Alton Brook to protect it.

“I want it to look like New Hampshire,” said Grimm.

When it is operational, The Glass Barn is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in property taxes to the town of Alton.

Grimm encouraged anyone with questions about the Glass Barn to visit the project’s website at theglassbarnnh.com, or its Facebook page.

“I want it to be something that Alton’s proud of,” said Grimm, downplaying the notion that The Glass Barn is the idea of dark suited, corporate bean counters.

“It’s just little Amy Grimm,” she said.

LakesNews@unionleader.com

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