Historic Shoreham Inn gets new owners: Young couple plans to add new touches

SHOREHAM — Andrew and Elizabeth Done have called many places home during the past 25 years: Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana.
Now, they believe they have found a more permanent destination — as the new owners of the historic Shoreham Inn, where they plan to continue a long tradition of hospitality.
“This was a great opportunity to do something we have always wanted to do,” Andrew said on Monday while Elizabeth was making pies — one of her specialties — in the kitchen.
“This really made sense.”
Andrew, 43, has been involved in virtually all aspects of the lodging and food-service industries since he was 16 years old, breaking in as a Holiday Inn bellhop.
The Evanston, Ill., native studied business, with an emphasis on hospitality, during his years at Michigan State University. He landed a job with IHG, an international hotel company. Andrew worked in sales, coordinated catered events and banquets, and worked at member-hotel kitchens and at a variety of other tasks during his 17-year stint with IHG. At the same time, Elizabeth home-schooled their two sons.
Unfortunately, Andrew Done (last name pronounced with a long “o” sound that rhymes with phone) became a casualty of downsizing at IHG around three years ago. At that point, he began working for a hotel in New Orleans. At the same time, the couple kept an eye out for an opportunity to run their own business, looking for something that was an established, year-round draw.
“We didn’t want to start something from scratch,” Andrew recalled.
They hit pay dirt last year.
Elizabeth spotted the Shoreham Inn among a list of lodging establishments for sale. The couple decided the property was worth a closer look. They arranged to view it last fall with then owners Dominic and Molly Francis.
“We fell in love with the place,” Elizabeth said.
“We really liked it,” Andrew added, emphasizing the history of the inn and its prominence as a gathering spot for locals and travellers alike. Originally built in 1790 by Joseph Miller, the Shoreham Inn has been used at times as a home, store, restaurant, apartments, bar and inn.
“It’s a neat building, and all (10) of the rooms are unique,” Andrew said. “It’s not too big that we thought we might be overwhelmed.”
The Dones closed on a deal to buy the inn and, after a short tutelage under the Francises, took over its operation on March 15.
“Their last event was St. Patrick’s Day,” Andrew said of the Francises’ tenure, which ended on a high note. The inn’s restaurant sold around 90 dinners that evening, as many folks wanted to give the Francises a proper send-off after their 13-year stewardship of the inn.
“Dominic and Molly have created something that the whole community has rallied around,” Elizabeth said. “They did such a good job.”
The Dones hope to cultivate a strong following of their own. Andrew has always aspired to become a chef and will take the lead in the inn’s kitchen. He will maintain some of the restaurant’s most popular offerings, while adding some of his own flourishes. He knows that as a gastro-pub, the restaurant should — and will — offer some expected staples, such as a great burger. Diners will always find a steak, a pork dish, fish and a vegetarian item on the menu.
Having recently lived in New Orleans, the Dones will also mix in the occasional Cajun dish, such as jambalaya.
And because Elizabeth is former manager of a bakery in East Lansing, Mich., she knows her way around desserts and breads.
The Dones will have seven part-time workers to help them run the inn and restaurant, all of them holdovers from the Francises’ tenure.
The Dones have appreciated the local support they have received.
“Everybody here has been fantastic,” Andrew said. “Vermont is so welcoming and friendly. If you need something, someone will drop it off and worry about getting paid later.”
Since the Shoreham Inn was in great shape when they acquired it, the Dones have no renovation or expansion plans in mind.
“We are coming to terms with a 200-year-old house,” Elizabeth said. “It’s charming, and it’s quaint.”
Molly and Dominic Francis wished the Dones well as they passed the torch.
“Dominic and I have always said that with a property as old as the Shoreham Inn, no one ever owns it, they just take care of it for their stretch of time,” Molly said. “We loved our 13 years and have every confidence that Andrew and Elizabeth have arrived excited to continue current connections to the local community, to welcome the tourists who enjoy the Champlain Valley each year and to put their own stamp on this ever-evolving place. We understand it is their intention to maintain connections to local farms and food/drink producers and all the other bounty that Addison County has to offer. We wish them the very best in their new adventure.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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