BARTLETT — The torch has been passed and the historic Bernerhof Inn in Glen is now owned and operated by Fryeburg, Maine, native Nick Panno.
Panno, who has been innkeeper since January 2019, bought the inn from the previous owner, the late Dick Badger, on Sept. 12.
Ten years ago, Badger purchased the inn at auction and invested over a half-million dollars in restoring the distinctive 130-year-old building, which was renovated from top to bottom by Richard Leavitt Contracting.
Panno plans on continuing to invest in the business in the spirit of Badger whom he cites as a mentor and an inspiration for keeping this landmark bed and breakfast vibrant for another generation.
Panno, 34, grew up in Lovell, Maine and graduated from Fryeburg Academy in 2005. He is a familiar face around Mount Washington Valley, having started his hospitality career at local Dunkin Donuts franchises in 1998, working for Brian and Maria Fram.
“Brenda Leavitt of Badger Realty asked me to become innkeeper December of last year,” said Panno, adding, “I never thought I’d buy an inn, but I came to love it here. It’s a wonderful piece of property. Dick taught me how to sell a room. That was his main goal: how to sell a room.”
Badger’s techniques must work as the inn has been at 93 percent occupancy since June. “That’s a testament to his know-how,” Panno said. “He also taught me the importance of having fun with the guests. It’s all about making memories.”
He plans on making investments in maintenance, including a new roof next year.
Reopening the restaurant is also in the works, including bringing back some of original menu items like wiener schnitzel and fondue.
Panno also will be bringing back the inn’s Taste of the Mountains Cooking School and will be announcing a new chef and a schedule of classes by the end of the year.
The inn’s murder mystery weekends will continue as well. The next one is Dec. 6 but is already sold out.
Panno also plans to continue the on-site Serenity Wellness Studio and Spa.
The lobby of the inn features a large portrait of Badger pictured on the front porch of the inn. According to Leavitt, Badger was proud of the inn. “He wanted it to thrive ... He saw a bit of himself in Nick.”
The respect was mutual, and Panno stands ready to honor Badger’s legacy.
For more information, go to bernerhoffinn.com or call (603) 383-4200.