Lifestyle

New owners of 'Groundhog Day' house welcome Woodstock festival-goers

Now owned by George and Lori Miarecki (above) and called Cherry Tree Inn, the "Groundhog Day" home is in high demand during Groudhog Days in Woodstock and will be the last stop on free daily tours of filming sites during the weekend festivities.
Now owned by George and Lori Miarecki (above) and called Cherry Tree Inn, the "Groundhog Day" home is in high demand during Groudhog Days in Woodstock and will be the last stop on free daily tours of filming sites during the weekend festivities.

It’s too late to sleep where Bill Murray’s character slept in “Groundhog Day,” but you can visit this weekend as part of Woodstock’s Groundhog Days festivities.

Known as the Cherry Street Inn in the movie filmed throughout Woodstock in 1992, the bed and breakfast – now called Cherry Tree Inn – is completely booked for the weekend, but it will be the last stop during free daily walking tours of film sites.

In years past, tours would stop outside the inn. The previous owners did not like to bring people inside because they didn’t want to disrupt guests.

Having just finished repairs from flood damage due to ruptured sprinkler system pipes, the new owners, George and Lori Miarecki, want to show people around.

“We have no idea what’s going to happen, just that we’ll have fun with it,” said Lori Miarecki, who just started hosting guests at the inn last September.

“We’re pretty laid back, and we just want everyone to enjoy themselves,” she said, adding she plans to treat tour visitors to hot cider. “Guests actually having the opportunity to come into the house and visit and see what it’s about, that’ll be great and give us deeper insight into the phenomenon of the ‘Groundhog Day’ obsession we didn’t know really existed until we moved here.”

Ironically, Lori Miarecki grew up in Pennsylvania, where the Groundhog Day celebration the movie was based on takes place. Her husband grew up here, and the two came upon the house while visiting family. They had just watched “Groundhog Day” and were curious to see the filming sites in person. Not knowing the house was for sale, Lori fell in love with it.

“The house, in general, is just part of the history of Woodstock and McHenry County. It’s one of the top historical houses,” she said. “Everybody should have a chance to see the house.”

Since buying the home, she’s gained a greater understanding of what it means to own the “Groundhog Day” house.

“We were normal fans of the movie. Now, I’ve met fanatics. … Some people are so into it that every minute detail they know backward and forward. It’s just fun for us,” she said.

She’s invited numerous people spotted gawking outside to come on in. And, despite the fact the inn is booked this weekend, the calls from “Groundhog Day” fans wanting to stay there keep coming.

“I could have filled an entire hotel with the number of calls I’ve had. … It’s insane, it really is,” she said.

“I hate saying no. We’re limited to 10 guests, and I want to get as many people in to get the experience they want without saying, ‘I’m sorry, it’s not going to happen.’ ”

Next year, Miarecki is hosting a lottery drawing for stays in three of the inn’s five guest rooms. “In 10 years I couldn’t fit everyone that called me,” she said. “That excitement is contagious. Even in the mass chaos of the last month, it’s nice when people come in and they’re happy to be here. It goes just beyond ‘Groundhog Day.’ The house is wonderful and has a history of its own.”

WALKING TOURS OF ‘GROUNDHOG DAY’ FILMING SITES


WHEN and WHERE: 9 a.m. Feb. 2 and 1:30 p.m. Feb. 3, meet at Woodstock Moose Lodge, 406 Clay St., Woodstock. At 12:30 p.m. Feb. 4, meet at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 W. Van Buren St., Woodstock

COST & INFO: Includes 15 sites where memorable scenes were shot. Walk will end with a visit inside the Cherry Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast house, the boarding house where Murray’s character woke up every morning. Enjoy a glass of hot cider while you’re there. Information: 815-334-2620 or visit www.woodstockgroundhog.org.

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