Lambert’s Cove Inn purchased for $5.5 million

New owners plan to make hotel and restaurant ‘family-friendly.’

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Lambert's Cove Inn, previously owned by Scott Jones and Kell Hicklin, has been purchased for $5.5 million by John Cain. — Gabrielle Mannino

Lambert’s Cove Inn in West Tisbury, a popular spot for weddings, has been purchased by a Hingham entrepreneur with an eye toward making the hotel and restaurant more family-friendly.

John Cain, the new owner, said the deal closed about a week ago. Cain paid $5.5 million to purchase the property from Scott Jones and Kell Hicklin.

“We’re very excited,” Cain said.

Jones and Hicklin had put the inn on the market twice, ready to make a change.

“It’s been 14 years,” Jones said. “The burnout for this type of business is five to seven years. We have doubled that, but it was getting continually harder for Kell.”

Jones explained that his partner has a vision impairment that made it increasingly more difficult for him to do things at the inn and farm. “It’s a much bigger job than one person can handle,” he said.

Jones and Hicklin have purchased an antique home in Greenville, S.C., that they are renovating. “We don’t know what we’re going to do next. That’s part of the excitement,” Jones said. “We enjoyed our 14 years on the Island, but I’m enjoying getting somewhere without getting on a boat.”

Jones and Hicklin still have friends on the Island, and expect to travel back on occasion.

Cain owned a financial tech company that he sold in November. “I’ve always wanted to own a small hotel,” he said. “This is going to be a family-run business.”

Cain and his wife, Keya, will be hands-on, and the couple’s 7-year-old daughter, Evangeline, will also be a presence at the inn and restaurant.

“She’s as excited as we are,” Cain said.

Perhaps through the influence of having a young daughter, Cain said that’s one of the changes people can expect to see when Lambert’s Cove Inn opens for the season Memorial Day weekend.

“One of the changes is it’s going to be kid- and family-friendly,” he said. “The previous owners had different age restrictions. We’re going to do away with those.”

There will also be changes to the restaurant menu to make it less of a “special occasion” restaurant and more of a place to have a relaxing dinner or brunch that the community will come to as well as visitors, Cain said. Chef Joe DaSilva is being retained to run the restaurant’s kitchen, he said.

While Hingham will remain the family’s home base, Cain plans to employ his sisters, his mother, and other family and friends, he said. Lambert’s Cove Inn will expand to be open 9 months per year, from April to December, he said.

Customers can expect locally sourced food. “Something that’s important to us is to really respect the community and the town, and make sure we’re helping as many small businesses as possible,” Cain said. “Our core value is to source as many things locally as possible.”

While embracing the name and history, Cain is putting some of his own touches on the property.

“We’re doing a renovation, which is underway right now. There will be a different look and feel. We’re painting. New furniture. New carpeting,” he said. “It will be bright, cozy, farmhousey, and welcoming.”

Future plans call for adding a barn where weddings would be held, though permits are still needed for that.

Conroy & Co. in Chilmark brokered the deal, with Rebecca Conroy serving as agent for Cain and Natalie Conroy, working for Jones and Hicklin. The inn had been on the market for three years, Rebecca Conroy said.

“They did a tremendous job. The deal wouldn’t have happened without them,” Cain said. “Their expertise and commitment was outstanding.”

Rebecca Conroy said the plans sound refreshing. “You get excited just talking to him about all he wants to do,” she said.

The Cains have special ties to Martha’s Vineyard. The couple was engaged and married on the Island. They’ve been visiting since they were children.

“It’s a special place for our family,” Cain said. “It’s a special place and a magical place.”