Lorrie Deyelle has big plans for newly renamed Blue Bear Inn in Francestown

  • The Blue Bear Inn's new sign at the front of the property. —Staff photo Julia Stinneford

  • The Blue Bear Inn's exterior from the road. —Staff photo Julia Stinneford

  • The Blue Bear Inn's tavern, which Deyelle hopes to have open sometime in December. —Photo courtesy Lorrie Deyelle

  • The Blue Bear Inn's upstairs hallway, which owner Lorrie Deyelle plans to update in one of her upcoming renovation phases. — Photo courtesy Lorrie Deyelle

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/26/2021 9:59:52 AM

Francestown’s Inn at Crotched Mountain is now the Blue Bear Inn, and new owner Lorrie Deyelle is excited to revamp the town institution. 

“I love it here, and I’ve got big plans for it,” she said. 

The inn has been on the market for seven years, since prior owners John and Rose Perry decided that they had aged out of the hard work it takes to run an inn. They started running it in 1973, and have owned it since 1976. 

“This is not a 9-to-5 job,” said John Perry. “And it’s nothing you get bored of – every day we got up, we felt so blessed.”

After closing on the sale in September, Deyelle has been working on renovating the inn. The process is starting with the owner’s apartment on one end of the building, which is almost complete. After that, she hopes to get the entire place up to date. 

“I want to keep the charm, but modernize it,” she said.

It’s an expensive endeavor, but for her, that’s just part of the fun.

“I’ll have a phased approach so I can afford things, and then once I have more money coming in, I can do more,” she said.

Deyelle plans to start with updates to the 13 rooms – redoing the floors, replacing the mattresses and bedding and wallpaper, updating the bathrooms. The hope is to be able to rent about half of the rooms while the others are renovated, and then switch.

Besides this work, Deyelle plans to replace the inn’s furniture with more-contemporary pieces, make the first floor Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant and other important updates. 

But changes aren’t all Deyelle has planned. She said  she has a very clear vision of what she wants out of different rooms, and ideas of how to achieve them. 

“I’d like to really get it so it’s nice, so a guy could bring his girl here to propose,” she said of one of the dining areas.

Deyelle hopes to someday turn an attic space into a place for facials and massages. She wants to update the outdoor space, as well, and put in a meeting center for events and retreats, along with a space to host weddings. 

In the short term, Deyelle is focusing on getting the place open in phases. In mid-December, she plans to start with having private dinners on weekend nights, hosted by visiting chefs that she has already hired. Around the same time, once she receives her liquor license, she hopes to reopen the tavern.

“The townspeople are begging for the tavern to reopen,” she said.

In January and February, she plans to begin renting rooms. By May, she hopes to be fully open and operational. 

“It’s slowly coming together, and then I think once we’re open – bam, we’re in it,” she said. 

Deyelle came into the business in pursuit of a long-held dream, she said. She currently works in human resources for Medicago, a biotech company based in Quebec. She was born in Canada, but has spent the last 30 years in Billerica, Massachusetts, where her children are. 

Part of her phased approach, she said, will be keeping her day job for at least a few years while she lives in the inn, runs it on weekends and nights and has a general manager to help her with day-to-day business. 

She has been searching for a couple of years for the right inn, looking for a place close to where her children are. Then, she found this inn.

“I drove up here, it was the beginning of July,” she said. “I got out of the car and I said, ‘This is it.’ I had a feeling, I just had this feeling of, ‘I want this place.’”

Deyelle has been wanting to run an inn for 25 years, she said, a dream that grew out of her desire to have a place to host sewing retreats. Her biggest hobby is sewing, she said, and she has taught sewing and run nonprofit charities related to sewing.

“Sewing is something that’s near and dear to my heart,” she said. “I want to marry my sewing craft with my business craft.”

The inn, she said, is perfect to fulfill this lifelong dream.

“I'm not starting this dream at 30, like a lot of people do,” said Deyelle, who is 59. “But I’m OK with that. We’re going to evolve it, and it’s just fun.”

Being one of the few businesses in Francestown, Deyelle said that she feels very welcomed.

“I feel like I’m already part of the community,” she said. “People check on me all the time.” People who have a “vested interest” in the wellbeing of the inn have asked her questions and offered to help, she said, and she has received approval for her endeavors from town government.

“People are kind here,” she said. “My goal here isn’t to compete and put anyone out of business; it’s to work as a community. And I think that’s the thing I like the most, I feel like I belong already.”

She is already planning to help the town celebrate its 250th birthday this summer by hosting events at the inn – an anniversary that coincides with the inn’s own 200th. 

All of this planning has Deyelle excited for the future, and about the changes she’s going to make. 

“This inn has character, and charm, and it’s just beautiful," she said. “Keeping the spirit of the inn is so important. The changes should only enhance it.”

Deyelle is, she said, truly living her dream.

“Even today,” she said, “I think I’m even happier than I was yesterday.”

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