We first met Chef Brian MacKenzie when we were looking for a vacation home on a lake in New Hampshire back in 2009. We were mixing the search with some rest and relaxation when Jen found The Inn at Pleasant Lake. Upon arrival we were blown away by the setting, the hospitality, and the dining experience. I remember raving about the experience to friends and family for weeks afterward. We also remember our stay in Room #10 with those gorgeous views of the lake. We enjoyed it so much that we repeated this strategy for a couple of years before settling down and buying our lake house. It took that long to resolve the debate between a camp (Scott’s dream) or four season home (Jen’s preference). We ended up with a home of course, but we did hang a sign on the front door that reads “Welcome to Our Camp” as a form of consolation prize. Little did we know at the time how this would sow the seeds of our future as Innkeepers – the power of “someday” thinking I suppose.
It was over Labor Day weekend 2014, that those seeds would finally begin to germinate. Jen and I were contemplating another lifestyle change while enjoying Lake Sunapee when we saw a real estate add in the Kearsarge Shopper (a publication that seems to be the lifeblood of the local community). We said, “Hey let’s take a ride over to the inn and see what Brian’s been thinking about.” We got lucky and caught him bringing some carpet into the inn for a project. He was more than happy to catch up with us and chat about his objectives in selling. That’s Brian, always accommodating and happy to talk with folks. The rest is now history, but what’s important about this story is how much of an impact Brian has had on our lives in the end. What we’ve learned over this past year is the same seems to be true for a very large number or people.
The fact of the matter is that without Brian’s willingness to support a well-planned transition, we would not have made the leap to become innkeepers. Yes, the business plan was solid. Yes, our research was thorough. Certainly, the property had potential. But we recognized from the start that Brian’s reputation and the good will he had built was a critical element of success going forward, let alone the challenge of replacing his culinary talent. He graciously agreed to work with us for the first year, and we are incredibly grateful for his contributions to the Inn in every way.
Brian and Linda bought the Inn at Pleasant Lake 19 years ago, and opened it on 4/17, ironically his last formal day with us. With any endeavor, there is a compelling desire to leave the state of affairs in better condition than how one found them. There could be no greater understatement in this case. The stories we’ve heard over the past year only scratched the surface. The Inn has a rich history dating back to 1789, but what was so evident, particularly over the last week as friends and family came to share Brian’s last dinners, was the living history that makes the inn so special.
We wanted to show our appreciation for Brian and Linda MacKenzie: for all they have done for us, and for the Inn at Pleasant Lake, for our staff past and present, and for our guests. It’s been amazing to witness the impact you’ve had on people’s lives here in New London and those that travel from afar to experience The Inn at Pleasant Lake. Beyond that we’ve just had a ton of fun collaborating over this past year. We will always consider you friends of the inn and members for life.