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Historic Shoreham Inn is placed on the market

MIDDLEBURY — Dominic and Molly Francis have been providing lodging to weary travelers and nourishment to hungry diners at the Shoreham Inn for almost nine years.
Now the couple wouldn’t mind turning the tables and becoming customers of the historic landmark inn that has become just as beloved to locals as it has to tourists, cyclists and sightseers. They are in the process of selling it.
“We are just ready to take on some other opportunities,” Molly Francis said last Thursday morning during a brief break from her kitchen duties.
The couple diligently prepares the fare at the inn’s successful “Gastro pub,” one of several personal touches they have made on a charming, functional property that is prominent in the pages of Shoreham’s history. Originally built in 1790 by Joseph Miller, the Main Street property has been used at times as a home, store, restaurant, apartments, bar and inn.
The Francises acquired the property in 2003 and have built it into a nice draw for tourists as well as a social hub for locals. As such, it is not uncommon to see an overnight guest from Texas sharing stories with a Shoreham farmer over a pint in the Gastro pub.
“People here get it,” Dominic Francis said. “It isn’t a bar, it’s a community meeting place.”
A meeting place that the couple has invested a lot of time and resources improving over the years. The pub serves up meals and refreshment five days a week; prior to its creation, the inn’s food offerings were largely directed toward overnight guests and sporadic special events.
In 2009, workers reassembled (and renovated) on the inn property a historic sheep barn that now houses three, two-story loft-style suites. The project has boosted the inn’s room total to 10, and the innkeepers say the rooms remain in high demand, especially during the peak tourist season of May though October.
Indeed, the couple believes it will be leaving the inn in a position of strength.
“It is more successful than we imagined nine years ago,” Molly Francis said.
That success has happened thanks to a lot of hard work. The couple, with the help of 16 full- and part-time employees, makes sure the inn operates smoothly. Molly and Dominic get a breather during the last week in March and during the month of November, when they take some vacation time.
And when a buyer emerges, it will signal a bittersweet transition for the family.
“It was a tough decision (to sell),” said Molly Francis, who with her husband, plans on remaining plugged into the hospitality industry once they have sold the Shoreham Inn.
“The Realtors talk about it being a potentially lengthy process,” Dominic Francis said. “I am almost terrified that a buyer might show up right away.”
But they will be ready when the time comes. They noted a Twitter campaign is now in full swing to help build fan interest in the property, which is listed at $1,359,000.
Molly and Dominic Francis will not be strangers once the inn is sold. They have purchased a home in Shoreham.
“We would love to see someone keep (the inn) going in a similar fashion so we could hang out here,” Molly Francis said with a smile.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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