SANBORNTON — For Veterans Day this year, John and Cindy Becker wanted to do something to show their appreciation for those who served in the country's military branches. As they now find themselves the proprietors of a 10-room inn overlooking Lake Winnisquam, they figured they had a unique way to show that thanks — by offering free lodging to veterans on Nov. 11.
The Beckers don't take credit for the idea. Rather, they're joining other inns and bed and breakfasts throughout the country, all of whom offer veterans or active service personnel the chance to get away with a loved one, for an evening of relaxation and reconnection.
"We appreciate the service our veterans give to our country, this is one small way we can show that gratitude," said John.
"It's a gift," said Cindy. "A fun night or two away, a reconnection."
The Beckers have owned the Lake House at Ferry Landing — formerly known as the Ferry Point B&B — since November of last year. The venture is a new way of life for the Beckers, who relocated to New Hampshire from Madison, Wis. John is familiar with the sacrifices of military service, having served in the Navy Reserves from 1986 to 1991. He then began a career as a lawyer, while Cindy was an art teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Now, all the Beckers, including their two teenage children, are engaged in the bed and breakfast industry.
Under previous owners, the establishment was operated seasonally, closing from Halloween to Memorial Day. The Beckers, though, are planning to operate through the winter, catering to ice fishermen and snowmobilers, and working with Gunstock Mountain Resort to offer ski-and-stay packages.
The Veterans Day offer seemed like a good way to kick off the off-season, and it's certainly fulfilled that role. The Beckers listed their participation on the "B&Bs for Vets" website and all the rooms were quickly booked, with many names on a waiting list. All of their guests are from New England states, and about half are active duty personnel.
In the year that they've operated the business, the Beckers have met more than 1,000 people, including residents of 20 countries. "We've met all kinds of terrific people," said Cindy, adding that she's looking forward to meeting a few more on Veterans Day.
"What's frustrating to me is that the two wars we've been fighting have been invisible," said John. Unlike previous conflicts in American history, most citizens have not felt the wars in Iraq an Afghanistan affect their daily lives. Not so for active duty personnel or their families. He hopes an evening in a charming inn, overlooking Lake Winnisquam, will offer a measure of respite. "It's a little thing that we can do," he said.
CAPTION for LAKE HOUSE in AA:
Cindy and John Becker, owners of Lake House at Ferry Point, are welcoming an inn full of veterans on November 11. Many other inns and bed and breakfasts across the country are similarly thanking military veterans. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)