Meet the Benn Conger Inn Staff

Learn more about the members of the Benn Conger Inn staff.

Edward and Christine Clare Brennan, Owners

Edward was born in Petersburg, Va and spent his growing up years in the Richmond area. He went to Georgia Tech and graduated in Civil Engineering. He went on to be an Officer in the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. Edward retired as the CEO of an Engineering Services Company. He has a great love of art and antiques and antique cars that he continues to collect today.

Christine was born in Groton, NY and spent the first seventeen years of her life growing up in the Benn Conger House with her two brothers, Pete and Joe, her sister Lori, her mother and father and Italian grandparents. She received a BS in Business Administration from the University of Maryland and retired as an HR Executive in 2018. Christine worked in London and Dublin for a number of years and traveled and worked throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East where she and her husband collected art and antiques.

Christine and Edward split their time between Aurora, NY and their historic horse farm in Northern Virginia. Their farm known as Rokeby is a Georgian home built in 1757 and sits on 65 acres. During the War of 1812, as Washington DC burned in the hands of the British, The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution among other important documents, were stored in the vault at Rokeby for safekeeping. Christine and Edward share a great love of historic homes, collecting art and antiques, travel and their horses and dogs. Some of their art collection is displayed in the Inn.

Drew Clare, General Manager

Drew grew up in Candor, NY, a small town about 20 miles south of Ithaca, NY. After graduating High school, he attended Tompkins Cortland Community College before transferring to The Ohio State University where he received his BS in Hospitality Management in 2009. Drew spent 14 years managing and operating hotels and resorts in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. He now resides in Moravia, NY with his wife Emily and their 4 children, Mabel, Graham, Iris and Willow. His wife Emily owns and operates a wildflower farm called Sister Silos Flower Farm.

Shelley Newman, Innkeeper

Cousin Shelley, our Innkeeper, prides herself on welcoming each guest with a warm smile and open arms. Shelley has been with the Inn since the start of our journey, and has continued creating an atmosphere that makes all of our guests feel right at home.

Shelley, a proud mother and grandmother, treats each of our guests as they were her own family as they visit our historic home. We do our best to make sure our guests' rooms, meals, and overall experiences exceed their expectations."

Shelley is also one of our creators of our outstanding breakfasts, making the most important meal of the day one of the freshest and tastiest around. Shelley is our resident fire pit master—when weather permits, our cousin provides a safe bonfire experience that is enjoyable for all ages, and will cap off your stay. 

Mallory Clare Grinion, Marketing Advisor

Mallory was born in Ithaca, NY and spent 21 years in the area. She graduated from Syracuse University and earned her BS in Hospitality Management. She spent several years living in Orlando, FL and Brooklyn, NY. Back in Rochester, NY, she lives with her husband Don, and two boys under five years old, Joseph and Domenic. After working in hospitality, sales and marketing for many years she is a stay-at-home mom. The Benn Conger Inn was her father's, Joe Clare's childhood home which makes the experience of working alongside family members as Marketing Advisor extra special.

Pete and Sherry Clare, Joseph and Patty Clare, and Lori Clare Wasilenko, Advisors

Pete is the oldest of the four siblings that grew up in the Benn Conger House. He and his wife Sherry own and run Turkey Trot Acres Hunting Lodge in Candor, NY. They built their business from the ground up and have been featured on ESPN as well as in dozens of outdoor magazines! Their forty plus years of experience running this successful small business have provided us with invaluable advice across all disciplines of our business. Sherry's incredible creative skills are also reflected in the handmade Santa dolls that she makes and sells with vintage materials that she collects. Their son Drew is our GM, noted above.

Joe is the youngest of the four siblings that grew up in the Benn Conger House. He and his wife Patty (also from Groton) along with sister Lori and her husband Bruce, have provided their insights and perspectives that have helped guide the restoration of the house as well as the direction of the business. Pete, Lori and Joe have a total of seven children and ten grandchildren. Joe and Patty's daughter Mal is our Marketing Advisor. Lori's daughter Leela provides graphic design expertise. We gather the whole family together every summer to celebrate our love of one another and in honor of our beloved mother. In July of 2022, we moved the family reunion from Turkey Trot Acres to the Benn Conger. It was wonderful to bring the entire family "home" again and will continue to be an annual tradition.