After 30 years serving visitors to town, Brian and Nancy Clifford have turned the keys to the Earl of Sandwich Motel over to new owners.
The 24-room motel, which sits on 2.73 acres of land on Route 6A near Manor Drive in East Sandwich, sold in September for $1.75 million.
Mr. Clifford said that he had owned the business since 1991. As he approaches his 65th birthday, he decided it was time to retire.
Prior to purchasing the motel, Mr. Clifford said that he spent 13 years right out of college working at a motel in Yarmouth.
“I was born to be an innkeeper,” he said. “It’s all I’ve ever known.”
The profession was well-suited to his way of life, he said. His children went to the schools in town and as a single father for a number of years, being an innkeeper allowed him to be home with his children as needed.
He said that he remarried about 20 years ago and that he and Ms. Clifford began closing the motel during the winter months.
The business was initially put on the market about two years ago, but while the pandemic was beneficial to the residential real estate market, very few people were interested in buying a business.
During the past two years, Mr. Cifford said that it has been hard to find staff to work at the motel.
Mr. Clifford said that he has enjoyed the last 30 years and has made many friends along the way with the guests at the motel. They spent their last few weeks as the owners having dinners with their guests and saying goodbye.
Now that this chapter in their lives is concluding, the Cliffords will not be going very far. They own a home in western Massachusetts, near the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. They will be spending their winters in Pioneer Valley, he said.
However, he said that Sandwich will always be home. Many of their friends live in town and they are members of the Corpus Christi Parish.
“I’m having a tough time leaving, which is why we just bought a unit at Dunroamin,” Mr. Clifford said. “I’ll never be old enough to move to Florida.”
The couple plans to spend their winters in western Massachusetts and their summers in Sandwich. Additionally, they are looking forward to spending time with their grandchildren, who live locally in New England, as well as internationally in New Zealand.
“They’re going to start to occupy more of our time,” he said.
The Cliffords said that they wish the new owners well as they take the reins and begin their own innkeeping endeavor.