Historic Wildflowers Inn in NH’s White Mountains Sold

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One of North Conway, New Hampshire’s landmark properties, the colorful Wildflowers Inn, recently sold to Brian and Denise Varney, formerly of Essex, Connecticut. The sale was brokered by David Cianciolo of Badger Realty, who represented both the buyers and the sellers, Denise and David Broughton, who owned and operated the inn for the past three years, and also operate DB’s Restaurant in Intervale. Don Nicoletta, Commercial Lender for Berlin City Bank, arranged financing. The Wildflowers was originally built in 1878 as a summer home for noted 19th century historian, lawyer, scholar and Civil War veteran Dr. James Schouler. According to one noted historian, it was “one of the most important sources for Stickley bungalows developed in the early 20th century, and it was one of the key models for the Stickley bungalows.”

One of North Conway’s landmark properties, the colorful Wildflowers Bed & Breakfast, recently sold to Brian and Denise Varney, formerly of Essex, Connecticut. The sale was brokered by David Cianciolo of Badger Realty, who represented both the buyers and the sellers, Denise and David Broughton, who owned and operated the B&B for the past three years, and also operate DB’s Restaurant in Intervale. Don Nicoletta, Commercial Lender for Berlin City Bank, arranged financing.

In buying the Wildflowers, the Varneys are realizing a long-time dream to run a New England B&B. According to Denise Varney, “We looked all over northern New England for two years, but we kept coming back to the Mt. Washington Valley and the Wildflowers. We fell in love with the inn—its Victorian details, the woodwork, stained glass and, most of all, the views.” Denise, who ran a bakery, deli and catering business, and husband Brian, and two of their children—7-year-old James and 18-year-old Rebecca—moved into the inn and started welcoming guests on July 29th.

The Varneys aren’t alone in their admiration of the inn’s unique beauty. According to Daniel D. Reiff, author of Houses from Books Treatises, Pattern Books, and Catalogs in American Architecture, 1738-1950: A History and Guide, and professor of art history (retired) at the State University of New York College at Fredonia, the Wildflowers is “one of the most important sources for Stickley bungalows developed in the early 20th century, and it was one of the key models for the Stickley bungalows.” Today Gustav Stickley is easily the best-known American proponent of the Arts & Crafts movement. In a July 2001 interview published in The Conway Daily Sun, Reiff is quoted as saying that the exterior of the house “is so well preserved, there’s the possibility it could qualify for the National Register of Historic Places.”

Originally called “ Kilbarchan,” the Wildflowers was originally built in 1878 for noted 19th century historian, lawyer, scholar and Civil War veteran Dr. James Schouler (pronounced Skooler) and his wife, Emily, who used it as a summer home until 1920. The Schoulers first visited the area in 1871 and, like the Varneys, fell in love with the surroundings, particularly the magnificent view of Mount Washington. The couple eventually decided to purchase a disused pasture, where the B&B now sits.

The historic building is not the only mark Schouler left on North Conway. He was one of the original directors of the North Conway Library Association when it was founded in 1887, and served as its president from 1900 to 1917. His donation of 100 books was part of the small collection with which the North Conway Public Library started. In 1905 he gave the money for the lot on which the present library building stands, then followed it in 1911 with another gift: the money necessary to erect the original library (the section of the present building which now forms the present Library’s reading room).

Schouler also donated money to purchase Cathedral and White Horse Ledges, which are part of Echo Lake State Park. A bequest he made to the town was used to purchase land in front of North Conway’s landmark railroad station for use as a public park—today known as Schouler Park.

The Varneys look forward to the time when they, like Schouler, can become involved in the community—but for now, learning the ropes of running a successful inn is their focus. According to Brian Varney, “We’ve been busy spiffing up everything from the gardens to the rooms. One change we’ve made is that we now welcome children. The entire family has contributed ideas for possible changes and improvements—but they’re for the future. We’re just loving living and working here!”

The Wildflowers Inn is located on 3486 White Mountain Highway in North Conway, NH. For information on the Inn, call 603-356-7567 or toll-free 1-866-945-3357. Visit their website, http://www.wildflowersinn.com.

Since 1965, Badger Realty has been a leader in residential and commercial real estate in the Mt. Washington Valley, including North Conway, Jackson, Bartlett, Glen, Conway, and neighboring communities in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and western Maine. 603-356-5757. http://www.badgerrealty.com

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Donna Stuart

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