Birchwood Inn sold to Temple residents

  • Temple residents Matt and Amy Cabana are purchasing The Birchwood Inn in Temple from longtime owners Nick Finnis and Andrew Cook. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Temple residents Matt and Amy Cabana are purchasing The Birchwood Inn in Temple from longtime owners Nick Finnis and Andrew Cook. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/30/2019 10:53:53 AM

The Birchwood Inn in Temple will officially change hands today.

Temple residents Matt and Amy Cabana have agreed to purchase the property from longtime owners Nick Finnis and Andrew Cook, and will begin operating the business immediately. The closing on the sale was scheduled for today.

In addition to the three guest rooms, known as the Royal Bath, Cambridge and Brighton suites, located in the building that dates back to the early 1800s, the property features the London Tavern, a 47-seat restaurant and bar, as well as a large barn and three apartments.

For the Cabanas, it was something they had discussed when the inn last went on the market seven years ago, but agreed it would have to be the right time. So when Finnis and Cook decided to put it up for sale again, Matt Cabana met with the pair.

“I sat down across from them and said your buyer is sitting right in front of you,” Cabana said.

The negotiations were fairly straightforward, aided by Cabana’s career in real estate and having worked with Finnis and Cook during their previous listings of the property and the addition of the apartments.

After 15 years of owning the business since coming over from the United Kingdom, Finnis said it was time for a change, but it’s still bittersweet. The partners have built a life for themselves in Temple and will be sad when they make the move to an apartment in Dover for the next 60 days before leaving the country due to the expiration of their E2 visas, otherwise known as investor visas, that pertain to being in the country to oversee an enterprise or a major investment in the United States.

“It made it easier,” Finnis said of the Cabanas purchasing the inn. “We’re happy the people who purchased it will keep it as is. To have it be someone like the Cabanas who love the community they live in and respect the inn was important.”

And Finnis is proud of what they’ve done over the last decade and a half.

“We were hoping we’d be successful and we had success because we wouldn’t be selling it so easily if we hadn’t,” Finnis said. “And we wish Matt and Amy all the best.”

The Cabanas aren’t looking at this as purely a financial investment.

“This is what I would call a heart purchase,” Cabana said.

As a resident of Temple, Cabana knows how important Birchwood is to the community.

“It’s not just an inn. It’s a piece of history and what I see as the heartbeat of the community,” he said. “Temple is my home and in all honesty, I couldn’t imagine anyone owning it but my wife and I.”

Long ago, Cabana learned to follow the old phrase, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ so there are no grand plans to change the way things are run at the inn. He has seen how Finnis and Cook furthered the business, made improvements to the property and ran a successful operation.

The inn will not close and will be open for normal dinner hours Wednesday through Saturday, the same schedule it has been for years. They have brought on Eileen Boyer, the former general manager of the Waterhouse in Peterborough to run the restaurant, as well as help in all aspects of the operation and Amy will also be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations. 

“You bring the best people to the table, trust them and let them do their thing,” Cabana said.

Most of the staff will remain, as Cabana said they want to make the transition as seamless as possible.

“Our staff is like family,” Finnis said. “And that’s important that they will be kept.”

But that’s not to say the Cabanas don’t have ideas for the future. Some of them center around the restaurant and expanded hours, more menu specials and bringing in more local products (and craft beer).

“We’re going to gently push it into what it will become,” Cabana said. “But first we need to know how things are working.”

And others have to do with how they rent out the rooms.

“In my eyes, if you’re running an inn, there should be someone staying in those rooms every night,” Matt said.

The apartments will remain because “it’s what helps allow an inn to survive,” Matt said.

There’s a lot of history to the location. According to the Birchwood Inn website, Henry David Thoreau was once an over-night guest. In addition to the normal operations, Birchwood has housed the Temple Post Office, a small general store, the Town Meeting hall, and an antique shop.

And what is most important is the tavern customers and those staying in the rooms.

“For many people, this will be their introduction to the region,” Cabana said. “And this is our way of investing in the town of Temple.”


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