Lilly and Gene Devlin in one of Quimby Country's cottages.
New owners have taken the reins at Quimby Country resort, the only business in the tiny Northeast Kingdom town of Averill.
On Wednesday, Gene and Lilly Devlin completed their purchase of the property, which occupies 1,000 acres on Forest Lake and includes 19 shoreline cottages, a lodge and a clubhouse.
The Cornwall couple, who have had a 49 percent ownership share of the camp since 2018, don't have immediate plans to make changes to the 128-year-old property.
“We do have plans to do some capital improvements, of course, but nothing we want to announce just yet,” said Gene.
The Devlins are graduates of the University of Vermont and had been running a summer camp in the Adirondacks when they bought a 49 percent stake of Quimby Country in 2018. Gene, who has also worked in admissions at a boarding school in Maine, said the couple's jobs and interests have given them years of experience with outdoor activities and the service industry.
Quimby was founded as the Cold Spring fishing camp in 1893, and became a three-season resort for hunters, anglers and families in 1919. That's according to a brief history put together by Dick Martin, president of the resort's soon-to-be-dissolved board.
In the 1960s, a group of longtime guests bought the camp and ran it for more than 50 years as shareholders. But in recent years, the camp had struggled to attract guests, and it went up for sale in 2017.
Things picked up when the Devlins came on board, and the resort has fared well during the pandemic, the pair said. Last year, Vermont visitors helped make up for out-of-state guests who were dissuaded from coming by the state's COVID-19 safety measures.
Courtesy Of Quimby Country
Quimby Country from above
All of the cabins were booked during the seven-week high summer season, the Devlins said, and finding the 15 to 20 staff members they needed was a bigger hurdle than pandemic restrictions.
Lilly said she expects to offer the same activities Quimby always has, including swimming, hiking, biking, archery, canoeing, kayaking and sailing. Each week, there is square dancing, a tennis tournament called "Quimbledon,” and a cocktail hour. An all-inclusive family vacation, including meals in the dining room and an optional picnic lunch, is $1,619 per adult, per week. The staff includes camp counselors.
Before the pandemic, the couple was starting to look for ways to draw more guests from Québec, something they plan to pick up again in the coming year. The resort is just minutes from the Canadian border crossings in the neighboring towns of Norton and Canaan, and many Canadian families own cabins on the Averill lakes. But in general, the two said, things will go on as they have for more than a century.
"There is no reason to change what has been working for 128 consecutive years," Gene said. "In a sense, our job is easy: just don't mess it up."