LOVELL, Maine (AP) — A woman who ran a Maine country inn for more than two decades can retire now that she's found a new owner through an essay contest.
Janice Sage from the Center Lovell Inn & Restaurant announced Saturday that a winner had been picked from among hundreds of 200-word essays on the subject: "Why I would like to own and operate a country inn." She said she'd be revealing the winner's name in about a week.
Sage, 68, took ownership of the inn the same way — by winning an essay contest 22 years ago.
The 210-year-old inn with seven guest rooms, two dining rooms, a barn and a wrap-around porch overlooking the White Mountains will be transferred to the new owner within 30 days, according to rules of the contest.
Sage said she'll miss the inn, but not the 17-hour workdays. She became owner through an essay contest in 1993, when her entry was among 5,000 responses Bill and Susie Mosca received from people around the world. Participants coughed up $100 apiece for the opportunity to own the country inn in rural New England.
Sage said she reviewed all of the essays in the latest contest before sending the top 20 to a pair of independent judges.
She said previously that she expected more than 7,500 entries, meaning she'd receive more than $900,000 at $125 per entry. She plans to use the money for her retirement.
Bill Mosca wrote a self-published book about his experience, "Passing Along Our Dream," which describes how he and his wife turned the dilapidated inn with broken windows and a buckled floor into something special.
He fell in love with a photo in a magazine and moved to Maine to run the inn with his wife.
"When love strikes, there's no sense in resisting it. You just have to follow your heart, don't you?" he said.
He said he hopes the new owner finds the job to be as rewarding as he and his wife did.
"It gave us a meaning and a purpose. We raised a family there," he said. "It's something that's in the core of most people. You want to have a meaning to your life. You want to know that you did something, that you cared, that you loved. In return, you get such a huge satisfaction."
This story has been corrected to show the previous essay contest was in 1993, not 1983.