Follansbee Inn Owner, Denis Swords, was named Sutton, New Hampshire’s Prominent Citizen of the Week by the Intertown Record. The following is the article they wrote about him.
Denis Swords grew up in New Orleans, which he calls Cajun Country, where people live to eat rather than eat to live. He went to college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He then moved to Lafayette, LA where he worked as a geologist for 10 years. He said Lafayette is really the heart of Cajun food. Fresh seafood and traditional gumbo made with tomatoes, crabmeat and sausage are not to be missed.
Swords then decided to go to law school and graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He practiced law in Lafayette for more than 20 years. He joined a private practice, then became a partner and eventually, general counsel. The company was getting ready to move to Houston but he had no interest in living there and didn’t want to return to litigation.
Swords’ brother was living in Warner and in 2011 rented a big house in Sunapee where he invited the family to visit. Swords and his wife came for a week and fell in love with the area. They tried to figure out what they could do to support themselves in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region. They focused on purchasing and running a bed and breakfast and began searching for one on the Internet. They saw the Follansbee Inn was for sale but when he asked his brother about Kezar Lake, he had never heard of it. His sister-in-law had, however, because of her walks around the lake with her dog.
Swords and his wife did go on to purchase the inn and the previous owners, the Beards, stayed on to help them. They knew very little about running and operating this type of business but Swords had some culinary skills from his love of Cajun cuisine.
Initially, the inn was very quiet after Columbus weekend but as the years have gone by, and with many returning guests, it has become a busy place more often than not. There are 17 guest rooms and the summer, autumn during the leaf-peeping season, and winter during ski season can be extremely busy. If there are 20 guests or fewer, Swords does all the cooking for himself. If the B&B is full, he gets some help in the kitchen. He likes to make chicken and waffles and cheese grits besides the more traditional breakfast fare because people find it interesting. Rumor has it Swords is a fabulous cook.
Unfortunately, his wife decided the hospitality scene was not for her and the winters were a little too harsh, so he has run the Follansbee with his trusted dog Angel for over 10 years. At the end of the summer and the fall, Swords takes some much needed time off to recharge for the busy winter and spends some time hiking with Angel and his young dog, Race.