In a dream come true for one would-be country inn host, a lucky essay writer has won a 210-year-old Maine country inn. Owner Janice Sage created an essay contest for hopeful inn hosts as a way to give the opportunity of ownership to people “who would like to have their place but can’t afford it.” All they had to do for a chance to own the country inn was pay the $125 entry fee and write a 200-word essay on the subject: “Why I would like to own and operate a country inn.”
Over two decades ago, Janice, now 68, won a similar essay contest to take over ownership of the Center Lovell Inn & Restaurant from previous owners Bil and Susie Mosca. Back in 1993, the cost was only $100 and Janice was one of 5,000 entrants. Janice said she’d expected 7,500 people to submit essays this time around, for a grand total of over $900,000 towards Sage’s retirement fund.
Tomorrow a lucky person will be the new owner of the Center Lovell Inn. Even if my essay isn’t chosen, I will be SO happy for whoever wins!💗
— Em Roberts (@EmRoberts) June 6, 2015
Sage became accustomed to working 17 hour days while running the Center Lovell Inn with its seven guest rooms and two dining rooms, and she says that she’ll miss the inn, but not the long days.
Although Janice hasn’t announced her retirement plans, it’s possible that she’ll follow the path of the previous owners. Bil Mosca wrote a book, Passing Along Our Dream, about finding and restoring the fifteen room 1805 mansard roof inn, which he says he fell in love with when he saw a photo of it. In spite of the inn’s dilapidated state, Bil and his wife Susie moved to Maine to take on the restoration project, away from the inner city violence around their small apartment. There at the Center Lovell Inn, they fixed broken windows and buckled floors, raised a family, and built a successful business before deciding it was time to pass on the dream to someone else.
“[The Inn] gave us a meaning and a purpose. We raised a family there. You want to know that you did something, that you cared, that you loved. In return, you get such a huge satisfaction.”
Janice has not yet announced the name of the lucky new winner of the inn, and there’s a lot of conjecture about what kind of person will be the new inn host.
THE WINNER HAS BEEN CALLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Center Lovell Inn & Restaurant Essay Contest on Saturday, 6 June 2015
She did say that she hoped the inn would land in “worthy hands,” and acknowledges that it’s a risk.
Bil and Susan had the same hope, and if they had any advice for Janice, it would be the same thing they said twenty years ago.
“Our answer was and is, ‘We trust.’ It was part of the magic of this whole thing. And it turned out we were right.”
[Image via the Daily Mail]