Local News

Brandon Inn changes hands

By Steven Jupiter

Editor’s Note: Steven Jupiter is board member and frequent contributor to The Reporter, which is a nonprofit, community-supported newspaper as of Jan. 1, 2023.

As of last week, the historic Brandon Inn has a new owner: Isidro “Sid” Beccar-Varela.  The Inn’s previous owners, Joel and Darcy MacClaren, passed the torch to Beccar-Varelaafter two years during which they made significant upgrades to the physical plant and expanded the Inn’s offerings, even opening the Neshobe Café, a mornings-only coffee shop.  The MacClarens, for their part, had bought the Inn from Louis and Sarah Pattis, who had run it for 31 years and still live in the house they built behind it.  

These five past and present owners celebrated the sale with a glass of champagne.

“When you think of small New England towns, you think of this,” said Mr. Beccar, gesturing at Brandon’s downtown through the window of the coffee shop he now owns.  “This town has everything you need, plus a little buzz.”

Beccar, 55, was born in Argentina, though he has lived and worked in the United States for years.  His relationship with America began when he was a teenager in Buenos Aires—he spent eight months as an exchange student in Westchester County, New York, just north of New York City.  

“I love this country,” he said. 

Beccar left Buenos Aires in 2001, when the Argentina’s economy collapsed.

“Argentina blows up every ten years,” he laughed.  He found himself in New York, working as a lawyer for a while before heading back to Argentina to begin his career as a real-estate developer.  He found himself traveling the world to develop luxury properties, with extending stints in Spain and the Middle East.  

On top of the workload Beccar has just taken on with the Inn, he’s also a regional vice-president at Coldwell Banker. He brings over 20 years of real-estate experience to Brandon.

In 2020, Beccar and his wife, Carolina, purchased a small, 20-room hotel on Cape Cod: the Escape Inn in South Yarmouth. His wife will continue to manage the Escape Inn while Beccar gets the Brandon Inn on track.

“With 20 rooms, you’re limited in what you can do,” he said. “We’ve gone as far as we can go with the Escape Inn.” So Beccar began a search for an additional property that he could operate on a bigger scale. Beccar hopes that the larger size of the Brandon Inn—it has 39 rooms, plus public spaces—will allow him to put together a crew that can manage the day-to-day operations of the Inn even when he’s not in town. “My idea is to build a team.” He plans to retain the Inn’s current staff.

Beccar also plans to retain the historic character of the Inn, even as he strives to bring the décor more in line with contemporary tastes.

“I like this building a lot,” he said.  As befits someone who’s worked on hotel development for decades, he’s got many ideas for many aspects of the Inn, though he’s hesitant to share them publicly while he’s still settling in and getting to know the Inn and the town.  He will say, though, that he hopes to increase the volume of weddings and other events. 

“According to the state, 13 million tourists come to Vermont every year,” he said, suggesting that he would be devising new strategies to lure them to Brandon and the Inn.

There has been some form of inn on the site since Jacob Simonds opened a tavern there in 1786.  The current iteration of the Inn was built in 1892, after a fire destroyed the white 1822 building that had been known as the Brandon House. Over the years, the Inn has changed hands numerous times. For a while, the upper floors were home to elderly residents who took all their meals in the dining room downstairs.  

Today, the Inn is often host to weddings and conventions. It has the Neshobe Café and a small bar. Summer concerts that attract scores of people are held on the rear lawn. It’s part of the community and its continued success is important to the self-image of the community.  

 Beccar is clearly enthusiastic to put his years of experience to use in Brandon.

“The sky’s the limit here,” he said.

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