After 30 years as innkeepers of the Deerfield Inn, Karl Sabo and Jane Howard will depart Deerfield this October.
Sabo, from central New York State, and Howard, originally from Bombay, but who has also lived in Paris and Hong Kong, met in New York City in 1984. The two both lived in Greenwich Village and were married 18 months after they met.
Sabo has a history in the food industry: he attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked on ocean liners as well as at the 21 Club, a restaurant in New York. Howard went to university in England after graduating from high school at a young age, which Sabo attributed to her photographic memory—a skill she still exercises today.
“In this business, [her memory] is very good because she can see someone from 15-20 years ago and immediately remember their name,” said Sabo.
The couple ended up at the Inn quite serendipitously. Sabo saw an ad in the Wall Street Journal on how to own and operate a country inn. The couple took a course for a few days and around six months later, there was a message on their answering machine about an inn in Deerfield. Four months later, they ended up at the Deerfield Inn.
What Sabo and Howard expected to be a two-year experiment turned into a 30-year career.
“Before you knew it, we had two children and the Inn turned into a lifestyle for us… We decided this is where we wanted to spend our career,” said Sabo.
Sabo and Howard pointed to the major renovation of the Inn following the flood of 2011, which closed it for almost 2 years, as a highlight of their career. This renovation included major changes to the Inn’s restaurant, Champney’s.
Sabo added, “We spent a lot of time making sure that in another 100 years, the Inn will still be operating.”
As Sabo and Howard reflect on their time at the Inn, they recall many fond memories of their relationships with Deerfield faculty members.
“Most of our friends are Deerfield Academy faculty and staff,” said Sabo.
Howard mentioned, “Our children grew up with faculty children, played in and out, went hiking, fishing, skiing, sledding, had sleepovers… even our dogs had sleepovers with each other! We all watched out for each other.”
Howard also recalled her experiences with Deerfield parents and students: “Some fond ones are hugging weeping freshman moms and assuring them that all will be well, welcoming back parents over 12 years of staying at the Inn as they return with another student and another, and students who come by on Halloween costumed as ‘students’.”
Sabo and Howard look forward to what lies ahead in the next chapter of their lives.
“We’re not retiring by any means. We’re still in our 60s and we have a bit of mojo left,” mentioned Sabo.
Howard added, “We’re going to take a break in Spain, in a consulting job for a European hotel chain. We’ll be back to our home in Deerfield in nine months to a year.”
As the two get ready to leave the valley for the next year, Howard expressed her gratitude for everything the Deerfield community has given them over the past 30 years: “We will always hold special memories of the support, affection, and laughter over all these years. And we will expect to cherish it all again when we are next back in this village!”
A note from Karl and Jane: If any of our Deerfield friends from over the years would like the keep in touch with us after October 16th, our email will be firstname.lastname@example.org.