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Simon Pearce buys Parker House in Quechee

  • Reflected in the windows of Simon Pearce's Quechee, Vt., location on Jan. 17, 2020, The Parker House inn has been purchased by Simon Pearce for $1.225 million. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com

  • Simon Pearce glassblowers Nick Sanquilly, left, and Nathan Clove handle molten glass at the company’s shop in Quechee, Vt., on May 16, 2012. The buliding was restored after Tropical Storm Irene's flooding damaged it in August 2011. (Valley News - Theophil Syslo) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com

  • The Parker House inn, right, has been purchased by its adjacent neighbor Simon Pearce in Quechee, Vt., for $1.225 million. It is the seventh property in the village the glassblowing company owns. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 1/15/2020 5:30:10 PM
Modified: 1/18/2020 8:53:08 PM

QUECHEE — The Parker House has come home again.

Simon Pearce — the Vermont glassware and pottery maker and restaurateur — has purchased Parker House inn, the restaurant and bed and breakfast adjacent to its showroom and restaurant on Quechee Main Street, making it the seventh property the Pearce family owns in the village of Quechee.

In a move redolent in symbolism, Pearce’s acquisition brings together under common ownership two historic properties in the heart of the village: the former textile mill operated by 19th-century manufacturer and Vermont lawmaker J.C. Parker and Parker’s adjacent brick residence, which was built in 1857.

“We are thrilled to reunite the Parker House property with the Mill at Simon Pearce. The Inn was the home of the Parker Family — original owners of the woolen mill which is now the Simon Pearce flagship location,” Simon Pearce CEO Jay Benson said in a news release.

Simon Pearce did not immediately disclose its plans for Parker House but hinted that its function might change, noting that the historic building had “previously operated as a small inn and restaurant” and “will remain closed while the company determines how best to use the property.”

Simon Pearce paid $1.2 million for the 10,800-square-foot building, according to Barbara West, a Quechee real estate broker who represented Simon Pearce in the transaction, which closed last week.

The property is assessed at $786,300, according to Hartford town records.

West said Simon Pearce is considering using Parker House as a lodging residence for out-of-town employees when they are in the Upper Valley visiting the company.

The business operates 11 retail stores in the Northeast, in addition to a national wholesale distribution network, online retail sales and corporate sales operation out of its Windsor headquarters.

The mill building in Quechee is where craftsman Simon Pearce began in America almost 40 years ago, when he emigrated his glassblowing business from Ireland in search of lower-cost hydroelectric energy — thanks to the Ottauquechee River — to power the furnaces used in the glassmaking process.

Critically, beyond historical nostalgia, the acquisition of Parker House provides Simon Pearce with more convenient parking for customers at its Quechee store and restaurant.

Vehicles entering the one-way driveway separating the mill from the inn previously were supposed to drive through the Parker House’s parking lot behind the building and park in a large Simon-Pearce-owned lot that borders the Quechee Green.

Customers were then expected to walk back to the mill. The walk could be treacherous during winter with snow and ice patches in the lot.

But customers frequently mistook the Parker House lot for Simon Pearce’s, especially at night when they could miss — or simply ignore — the inn’s posted signs for reserved spaces.

The two-story, Second French Empire-style building with a mansard roof has eight guest rooms outfitted with luxury linens and bedding from Tunbridge home furnishings maker Anichini.

A bar named Irene after the devastating 2011 tropical storm has been a popular watering hole for area artists, craftsmen and commuters heading home on Route 4 between Lebanon, Hartford and Woodstock.

The Parker House was sold by Alexandria La Noue-Adler and her husband, Adam Adler, who had previously operated a restaurant and inn in Bethel, Maine, before buying the Parker House in 2004 and operating it for nearly 16 years, with La Noue-Adler in the role of executive chef and decor designer and Adler acting as the host, barkeep and breakfast cook.

“When we sold (the Maine inn) we had two very young children and needed to find our next project. After looking at about 20 inns all over the Northeast, we settled on the Parker House because we knew we could turn it around and the Upper Valley was an exceptional place to raise our girls,” La Noue-Adler said via email.

But despite the success and positive reviews they received in running Parker House, the business became more challenging to operate in recent years, especially as they had to take on new debt in the wake of the Irene flooding to keep the business going. The couple were flooded out of their own home on the riverbank in Quechee and now live in Hartland.

“To be frank, the cost of running the Inn (property taxes, etc) and the headwinds from Airbnb and Quechee Lakes fees and rentals made us anticipate that it was only going to become more expensive as well as challenging,” La Noue-Adler explained. “We couldn’t compete with a full house that sleeps eight renting for $200 a night. The restaurant was very successful, but the expenses outweighed the return on our own labor.”

“There are just no words to express how much we have loved our guests — who we have known throughout the years — in celebratory times and with deep affection during the hard times,” she added.

As for what comes next, “right now we are resting and figuring out what’s next,” La Noue-Adler said. “We are not ruling anything out but are taking a well-deserved break with our family.”

The purchase of the Parker House marks the latest property acquisition for Simon Pearce in Quechee Village, where family-related entities already own six parcels, including a building across the street that houses an art gallery under Pearce’s name and an antiques dealer and a residential building next door.

West, the real estate agent who has worked in the Quechee market for 40 years and has known Simon Pearce himself since she first sold him the mill building in 1981, said the Parker House has had six different owners during that time.

But, she predicts, the Parker House will not have another one.

“This is the last sale,” she said.

John Lippman can be reached at jlippman@vnews.com.

Valley News

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