With the new year come new innkeepers in the Distinctive Inns of New England‘s (DINE) ranks. We bid a bittersweet farewell to Erik and Sarah Lindblom of the Captain Jefferds Inn and to James and Jill Meyer of the Captain’s House Inn, as both inns have sold within the past month. Yet, at the same time, the 11 DINE inns welcome a new cast of innkeepers and owners , plus a new innkeepers at the Deerfield Inn and Inn at Harbor Hill Marina too.
Many wonder how DINE inns are chosen. The organization started in 1995, 25 years ago as an itinerary for international visitors. Founding inns were chosen based upon their distinctive setting and hospitality along with their geographic location and ability to offer fabulous New England getaways. Originally, no two inns were more than a few hours apart; the ideal distance for a day trip (or less) between them for those visiting from the UK, Europe and farther domestic locations. As the Distinctive Inns of New England evolved, this location-based philosophy continued. Now, all DINE members are no more than 2 to 3 hours from one another (or less) making them easily accessible for inn-to-inn DINE itineraries. In addition, to continue the distinctive status, all member inns have been inspected and/or maintain membership in Select Registry, Diamond Collection and/or have AAA four-diamond status. Membership is by invitation only.
Beyond this, the success of DINE is embedded in the professional innkeepers who make up the organization. Each member offers an important perspective on innkeeping, and all members are established and successful innkeepers. In addition, all members attend twice-yearly meetings and participate actively in the organization and its promotions. When one and especially when two member couples leave at the same time, their impact is sorely missed by those who are not only colleagues but also friends. Both the Lindbloms and the Meyers have been innkeepers for decades, and members of DINE for a long time. They will be missed by their colleagues and their guests.
The Captain Jefferds Inn was sold in mid-January to a boutique hotel group, and will no longer continue membership in DINE. After years of dedicated innkeeping at Captain Jefferds Inn, Sarah and Erik now look forward to spending more time with family and grandchildren, hunting and fishing during the respective seasons, and perhaps a vacation from time to time. We bid Sarah and Erik a fond farewell and a welcome to their new chapter of retirement.
Just before the end of the year, James and Jill Meyer sold the Captain’s House Inn to a group of native Cape Codders. Hoping to spend more time with their five children, James and Jill are on to their next chapters in both parenthood and hospitality. Their children range in age from tweens to twin three year olds – all active in sports, dance, school and more, making for busy parents. Jill plans to continue her business, Marry Us On Cape Cod, specializing in writing personalized wedding vows, performing weddings as a Justice of the Peace and planning intimate Cape Cod weddings. James is actively seeking a new career combining his experience in hospitality with his marketing, finance, management and “great Dad” background.
The Captain’s House Inn was purchased by a group rooted in a Cape Cod Heritage. Owner, Drew McMullen is a native Cape Codder, from Chatham. His family formerly owned the Chatham Bars Inn for 35 years, so he tells us he feels like he’s going back to his roots with the purchase of the Captain’s House Inn. His fellow business partner and co-owner of the Captain’s House Inn, Todd Hearle, moved to Cape Cod when he was 12-years-old. In addition, fellow innkeeper, Karen Marjollet, is also a Cape Codder, from Harwich – the next town over. Collectively they also own the Chatham Squire Restaurant on Main Street in Chatham. Look forward to learning more about them in Innkeeper Profiles on this blog.
We also welcome Laurie McDonald to the innkeeper role at Deerfield Inn. Formerly with Yankee Candle, Laurie brings a wealth of marketing, management and sales background to the position. Laurie replaced innkeeper Steve Pardoe at the Deerfield Inn.
In addition, we welcome Julia-hope Mularski to the innkeeper position at Inn at Harbor Hill Marina. Julia replaced long-time and well-loved innkeepers, Dave and Sue Labrie last year. Julia has worked with the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina prior to taking her present innkeeper position, so she knows the property well.
As the players change in DINE country, the upscale, distinctive, and hospitality-oriented standard continues. New faces mean fresh perspectives, so look forward to learning to some new programs, along with continued distinctive hospitality from your favorite DINE innkeepers and inns, the hallmark of DINE.
Remember, when you book your next say in DINEcountry, don’t forget to book direct.
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic (complimentary breakfast shown in top photo here).