Brandon Inn for sale, Sarah and Louis Pattis ready for retirement
By LEE J KAHRS
BRANDON — The fact that the Brandon Inn is for sale is not news. The venerable and historic Park Street Inn, the anchor of downtown Brandon since it was built in 1786, has been for sale for several years.
What is news is that owners Sarah and Louis Pattis really mean it this time. They have announced their plans to retire.
A Facebook link to Vermont Country Inns for Sale contained the announcement created last month.
“While running this unique country Inn, we raised our four children and saw them through college and military service,” the Pattis’s wrote. “In an early interview, Louis called Brandon ‘a sleeping beauty,’ not quite woken up. Since then, the town experienced an awakening as artists and entrepreneurs made Brandon their home. Accordingly, the town is now a hub for arts, food, and culture.
“After 31 happy and fulfilling years running The Brandon Inn, we are retiring. While it has been a fantastic ride, it’s time for a new adventure,” Pattis wrote.
A NEW CHAPTER
“We’ve been for sale for years,” Sarah Pattis said in a phone interview Monday. “We’ve just decided to make it more official. It’s time.”
The Pattis’s have the honor of owning and operating the inn longer than any other in the 234-year history of the building. Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the inn, and husband Louis is an award-wining, Austrian-trained chef who prepares fine cuisine for guests.
“We compliment each other,” Pattis said. “You need a partner to do this. It’s good for a couple.”
They bought the inn in 1988 and live in a large house behind the 4-acre property on the banks of the Neshobe River, where they raised their four children, Mark, Nick, Anna and Becca, now all grown.
The inn has been a destination for weddings for generations, but the Pattis’s have also opened the inn doors for memorial services, public meetings and Chamber of Commerce dinners. They’ve hosted college sports teams, Olympic medalists, politicians, numerous clubs and the occasional actor.
The inn is a centerpiece of Brandon not just because of its size and location, but also because the Pattis family has been a part of the community for three decades.
HISTORY STILL STANDING
The 39-room, four-story Brandon Inn began as a tavern on the site in 1786 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was expanded and grew to generally the size it is now. A fire in 1892 destroyed a large portion of the building, but it was rebuilt and still stands today on the same general footprint.
“We’re not sure which part of the building was still standing after the fire,” Sarah said. “Certainly the basement.”
When asked if any famous names have strolled through the inn’s lobby, she recalled a time when her daughter Anna was two or three years old. The actress who played “Maria” on Sesame Street, Sonia Manzano, visited the inn with her own young daughter.
“The girls played together, and we never mentioned it was Maria from Sesame Street,” she said.
IN THE MARKET FOR AN INN?
Local real estate listings have the inn for sale at $1.75 million. The listing describes the inn as “turnkey” with many improvements over the years. The five-bedroom, four-bath owner’s quarters can also be purchased as part of the sale.
“We’re prepared to give it up,” Pattis said. “We don’t really want to live behind the inn. It would just make sense for the new owners. It’s just a nice quality of life to be able to live nearby.”
The inn features a state-of-the art kitchen, a dozen public rooms including two lobbies, three interconnecting dining rooms, tavern, pub, library, games room, sunroom, ballroom, front porch, and common sitting rooms on each floor.
There is an in-ground pool in the backyard where hundreds of Brandon children have learned to swim through the Brandon Recreation Department, a newly-built gazebo on the back lawn where music is played during the summer concert series. The inn started hosting the series when the Segment 6 construction of Route 7 forced the venue change three years ago.
There is also a large barn on the property that is used for storage.
INN GOOD SPIRITS
No self-respecting 236-year-old inn would be complete without a ghost or two, and the Brandon Inn is no exception, but Pattis said they are friendly and harmless.
“I’ve never had any creepy feelings,” she said. “There have been various stories over the years. I feel this woman on a particular floor and in a particular room I’ve been aware of something, but that’s all.”
One year, a medium was a guest at the inn and Pattis put her in that room just to see if she would feel anything. The next morning, she asked the woman how she slept.
“She said she didn’t sleep at all,” Pattis said. “She said children were running in and out of the room all night. “
The medium also reported seeing a man in the corner wearing a black suit who seemed to be supervising the room, as if he had been a former manager. She asked Pattis if she wanted her to rid the inn of the ghosts. Pattis said she declined.
“They didn’t die at the inn,” she said. “She said they don’t know they’re dead.”
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
While the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated Vermont’s tourism industry this past spring and summer, forcing the cancellation or rescheduling of hundreds of weddings and other group functions, Pattis said it also allowed her to experience a more relaxed summer and a taste of life after the inn.
“This year was going to be incredibly busy” she said. “Now, it’s not busy and I’m enjoying having the extra time to do the things I like to do, like biking and gardening. Everybody has rebooked for next year. It’s going to be very busy and I don’t want to be here.”
Sarah and Louis have traveled extensively in their lives and are looking forward to more travel in retirement, but Brandon will always be in their hearts.
“Brandon is home,” she said. “We love Brandon. We’d like to have a base here and be able to travel.”
In fact, Pattis said the inn was practically sold in early March when the pandemic hit.
“We were really close to selling when COVID hit,” she said. “They backed out.”
But the near-sale sparked real talk of retirement plans, and the couple decided to proceed and announced their plans to do just that. In fact, they believe now may be a perfect time to find a buyer, considering the interest in Vermont real estate as coronavirus cases stay low here compared to the rest of the country.
“I’m thinking positively that there are an awful lot of people wanting a lifestyle change that are moving out of the cities,” she said. “They could easily be rethinking their lifestyle and their values. We thought it might be a good time to get the word out.”
She said they wouldn’t expect a buyer to take over until perhaps January, and plan to stay on for several months to help ease the transition to new ownership.
“We could help ease them into a very good year,” Sarah said. “We want them to be successful and we want the inn to continue on. It needs bright, young things to come in with their ideas and enthusiasm.”
For more information about the Brandon Inn and the complete real estate listing, visit