Marion couple working to restore historic inn

Jan 13, 2020

MARION — Jean and George Linzee are history fans, who have worked to restore several historic houses while they have been married. For the last year, the Silvershell Inn has been the beneficiary of their talents. 

The now-inn was originally built in 1799 as a parsonage for Reverend Oliver Cobb, who served as minister for the Congregational Churches in Rochester and Marion. The house was constructed at the halfway point between the two parishes.

Cobb’s son was also a pastor, and one of his descendants fought in France in World War II, where he married a French florist. They returned to the house after the war, and the greenhouse was built for her.

In June, the couple plans to host a Cobb family reunion in the house that the family owned for generations.

George considers himself a new-old resident of Marion. His grandfather had a house in town while he studied at Tabor Academy, and his mother retired there. He also has family in Fairhaven.

He can trace his family line back to Captain John Linzee of the Royal Navy, who was stationed in Boston (and even further back to Plymouth England in 1620).

When they first bought the inn, the oldest house they have renovated, it needed a lot of work on the exterior walls and grounds.

However, George taught environmental science for years, and in updating the property tries to make it sustainable.

“We really treat the land respectfully. It’s all on loan, and we just have to do the best we can to take care of it,” Jean said.

They made their careers at the Stony Brook School, a Long Island boarding school, where they moved into the largest home on campus and became the de-facto innkeepers for touring students, board members, speakers and alumni.

When they retired, they realized they needed another source of income. But George explained that the inn is also a “great way of serving the community.”

The new arrivals quickly got to know local businesses: Marion Antiques sold them paintings to decorate, they serve as overflow housing for the Kittansett Club and recommend many local businesses to guests.

The inn is unique in that it doesn’t have TVs in every room, but has strong wifi for guests to watch shows on Netflix.

The Linzees very much work as a team, and he said his favorite part of running the inn is “doing it with her.”

To show the team dynamic, Jean added that, “I love creating spaces, and he’s great at colors and telling me when it’s getting too cluttered.” She also enjoys getting to help out with and vicariously experience some of the joyful emotions for happy stays (like weddings).

The Linzees love that they are now working for themselves and can shut down the inn for a vacation if they want to.

Though they are not lifelong residents, the Linzees “have become very bonded to this place,” Jean says.

As for future plans for the inn, they are saving up for new trees for another orchard, may one day get animals once they are satisfied they can care for them properly, and would love to eventually sponsor themed groups or retreats.

For more photos and information about the inn, see