Holy Grail of the Lakes to close


LACONIA — The Holy Grail of the Lakes will close at the end of the month, David Kennedy, who with his wife Maureen owns and operates the restaurant and tavern, announced on Monday. The Kennedys have not disguised the mounting challenges they have faced since opening the restaurant what was the Evangelical Baptist Church in Veterans Square on Memorial Day in 2014. In January the couple issued an apology for their shortcomings and soon afterwards hosted a "Second Chance Party." At the time, Kennedy said that he was puzzled that despite overcoming the challenges that led the business to stumble and the opening of several new enterprises downtown, patronage of the restaurant fell shy of what was required for financial success. The Kennedys drew on the profits of their flourishing restaurant in Epping to keep theitr doors open in Laconia.

Kennedy said on Monday that he has informed his staff of the decision to close.

"It's all very disappointing," he said, "but we had no other choice."

Meanwhile, the property has been listed for sale by Weeks Commercial Real Estate with an asking price of $1.2 million, nearly half the $2.3 million invested in converting the century-old church to a restaurant and tavern with seating for more than 250 patrons.

Holy Grail Church

The Holy Grail is closing at the end of the month. (File photo)

Rodeway Inn in Moultonborough emptied due to septic system issues


MOULTONBOROUGH — Some 20 adults and a dozen children who had  been living at the Rodeway Inn were displaced last week after the owner was ordered to repair or replace the failed septic system or cease operations by April 14.
Town Administrator Walter Johnson said Monday that Don Cahoon, the code enforcement officer, has raised concerns about  the property for some time. In March,  when sewage was found flowing onto the ground, he ordered the owner to begin pumping immediately in anticipation of repairing or replacing the system. When the Board of Selectmen met last Thursday, Johnson explained that, along with the failed septic system, there are “numerous life safety and health code violations” at the property. Although it is permitted for use as a motel, Johnsonsaid it appeared to be operating like an apartment building, contrary to land use regulations.
Johnson said that in addition to ensuring the septic system is approved, the state Department of Environmental Resources said the property owner must also address the life safety, health code and land use issues before the cease-and-desist order will be lifted.
Describing herself as a manager of the property, Patricia Brennan, who lives at the motel with her children, told the selectmen that most of the residents are either “homeless” or “in transition” with “nowhere else to go. Some of the children, she said, are attending school in Moultonborough.
The owner, she said, is Pakistani, with limited proficiency in spoken English, who “does not understand the law at all.”  On Monday a man at the motel who described himself as the “manager” declined to comment on the situation beyond saying that “most of tenants have left.”
Brennan said that the owner has secured $20,000 to forestall foreclosure proceedings scheduled for May 5 and has received estimates of between $15,000 and $20,000 to address the septic system. She said he indicated he has the financing and is prepared to proceed with the work.
Brennan suggested that the owner misunderstood the order issued ordered in March and believed he was that by pumping sewage weekly until March 24 he was in compliance. She asked the selectmen to permit her to remain on the property to protect the building from vandalism and safeguard the belongings of the tenants.
“I’m sympathetic to what’s going on here,” said Chris Shipp, who chairs the selectboard. “I understand the human side of it.”
He was echoed by Selectman Josh Bartlett, who said, “I hate to be hard on the folks living there,” and acknowledged the “chronic shortage of low-cost housing in this town.”
However, Selectman Joel Mudgett stressed “We have to back up code enforcement. We do. We do.”


04-18 Rodeway Inn Mboro map

The Rodeway Inn in Moultonborough is located on Route 25. (Google Maps graphic)

Ice-out is declared; for first time lake froze, thawed and refroze


LACONIA — Dave Emerson of Emerson Aviation officially declared ice-out on Lake Winnipesaukee  at 8:31 a.m. on Monday after flying over the lake to find that M/S Mount Washington can reach  each of its five ports of call — Weirs Beach, Meredith, Center Harbor, Wolfeboro and Alton. Every far the lake freezes and the lake thaws, following a repetitive cycle with only its timing and duration varying from one year to the next.

This year, Emerson described as "weird" and, in his experience without precedent.  Emerson said that he declared ice-in "a little late" on Feb. 15. But, he continued, before the month was out "the Broads opened up," only to freeze over when temperatures  dropped in March.

"I've never seen that happen before," he said. "Never heard of ice-in twice in one winter."

04-17 ice out Barndoor Keniston and Melody Islands with Springfield Point 2017

Barndoor, Keniston and Melody Islands are shown with Springfield Point on the first day of ice-out. (Dave Emerson photo)