Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Inn on the Harbor, Stonington, Maine...

This is the quaint fishing village of Stonington, Maine.

And this is Inn on the Harbor, an incredible 13 room waterfront inn which exudes luxury in a very unpretentious form. I went to take photos at precisely 4:36 pm (high tide) yesterday since the water rises up beneath the large deck. With a pier foundation, every inch of high tide matters! Though with a convertible on a gorgeous sunny day, my job is sometimes very easy :)

The inn is comprised of four consecutive buildings all in faced in classic weathered coastal shingles on the water side (the picture shows the entire width of the buildings). Numerous decks allow guests to just sit and watch the schooners and lobster boats coming and going.

My husband came with me (no twisting his arm on this visit during gorgeous weather!) so we had an early dinner out on the deck of Fisherman's Friend Restaurant and had some really great fried seafood (everything in moderation - it's how my bio reads)

I was really impressed that on a Tuesday night, the inn had no vacancy, in tiny Stonington, Maine! I've always understood what it is about this village that draws people in and I'm glad to see others are discovering it, too.

Inn on the Harbor produces a very strong business income and is offered at $1,950,000.


You've found inn of your dreams. You've got a lot on your plate, and not all buyers have the camera equipment necessary for high quality photos. Once you've settled on your property and made changes to reflect your personal style, you'll need new photographs for your website, for print advertising, to show your friends, or just to document the transformation. Hiring a professional photographer can be expensive. So I have decided to offer my buyer clients my photography services at no cost. My seller clients already benefit from my love of photography and its benefit in marketing, so why not help my sellers?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hosting Weddings at Your Inn...

The Big Day. Intimate. Beautiful. Special.
Certain inns lend themselves beautifully to hosting this memorable event for both the wedding party and guests alike, large or small. For some aspiring innkeepers, this would not only be a way to provide the ultimate in personalized services, but a fantastic additional revenue stream. Each of the inns in the pictured here are currently on the market: Kismet Inn, Lindenwood Inn, Berry Manor Inn, Island View Inn and Craignair Inn. Three of the five have restaurant licenses, though Craignair is the only one currently operating a restaurant on site. Having a fantastic kitchen like these listings would certainly assist with the caterer's job.

Kismet Inn and Spa $1,175,000

Craignair Inn $1,150,000 Lindenwood Inn $1,795,000

Berry Manor Inn $2,695,000 Island View Inn $1,200,000

Contact me for more details or to schedule a showing of one of these beautiful properties.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chicken with Roasted Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce

What does this have to do with selling inns in Maine? NOTHING! But since I no longer own an inn and therefore don't make the beautiful elaborate breakfasts I used to, I fulfill my passion for cooking by making dinner and sometimes blogging the recipes. So here is:

Chicken with Roasted Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce

Halve Roma tomatoes, a whole head of garlic and a couple shallots, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast on 400 until they get nice and caramelized like the photo below.

Lightly season chicken with salt, pepper and flour, and saute in butter and olive oil until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from pan and keep in a warm oven.

Rough chop the tomatoes, garlic and shallots, add to the pan, and over medium heat, deglaze by adding a dash of vodka. After a minute or two, add about a 1/2 cup of chicken stock and close to 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream (I never claimed to cook light, remember my motto? Everything in moderation).

Cook over medium-low heat until sauce thickens and deepens in color.

Once the sauce reaches the desired consistency and color, cook your pasta of choice (I used thin spaghetti but prefer Angel Hair or Penne and didn't have any)

And here you are, pile the pasta on the plate, add the chicken, pour the sauce and top with FRESHLY shredded or grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy! I make enough sauce for leftovers the next day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Giving credit to an Innkeeper, Business Owner and Marketing Genius

This has got to be one of the most creative ways for the non-people person to own a small inn or boutique hotel .

Kudos to the owners of Durango Colorado's Nobody's Inn: "This is What We Offer: The homeyness and comfort of having your own apartment; privacy; and convenience to everything in downtown Durango. Guests like that we’re so unique we don’t staff a concierge or reception desk clerk." read more

I bring this up because on SO MANY occasions people tell me they'd love to buy an inn or a B&B but they aren't quite the people person that one needs to be in order to really run a successful lodging business. What Nobody's Inn has done is circumvented that little issue beautifully! So if you are they type who likes to provide a nice space for guests with beautiful furnishings and bed linens, but simply don't provide a concierge service or food service, THIS is for you. It's a great way to keep operating costs down where the owners could actually have another job simultaneously if they preferred.

I know of a few properties on the market in Maine where this would work beautifully, where there are wonderful restaurants in walking distance, the property is in town or a village location, or simply where there are already many inns and B&B's, there are no hotels, therefore providing an option for the guest who prefers a bit of anonymity. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Just something to keep in mind for aspiring innkeepers or those who never thought they could make it work...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Social Media Conference...Twitter in a Nutshell Volume 1

You hear it on all the news channels, "follow us on Twitter"'s as common to have your Twitter "handle" on your business card as your email address. If you're a business professional and have a need to market a product or service, if you aren't on the Twitter bandwagon, you should get on it as soon as you can. Period. Go directly to and sign up. Choose your user name and bio wisely as they are how many determine your clout and whether or not to follow you.

My colleague Erica and I attended a social media conference in Boston last month organized by the social media tech-savvy pros at I've only been using Twitter since December 2008 (still a newbie) and I wanted to attend because it was Real Estate focused on how to maximize social media in our field. There were quite a few sponsors and volunteers which made for a very nice turnout and overall success. I learned a few new tricks and ways to use social media, but most of all it solidified my feelings about its importance in business today. It also made me realize that I fall into the in-between generation of today's young techies and yesterday's old school agents and I refuse to let myself fall into the latter.

Below are two of the three founding members of Twitterqueens, Lesley Lambert (@LesleyLambert) and Diane Guercio (@HeyAmaretto), as they're known in the Twitterverse, teaching a session on Twitter 101. The third member @MayaREGuru couldn't make it). My Twitter level is probably a few steps beyond 101, but I knew it would be worth listening to the Twitterqueens - they are real estate pros in the know and they have fun doing it (they welcome new members) women and men. And not just those in real estate.

What I really took away from the discussion was the use of hashtags in Twitter (#). By placing the # directly before a word, it allows followers to create categories based on conversations of interest. For example, if I want to follow everything that is tweeted about Maine real estate, I would use the hashtag #MaineRealEstate or without the use of the hashtag, just the phrase "Maine real estate". I downloaded Tweetdeck as my Twitter program of choice.

Tweetdeck provides 10 customizable columns allowing you to organize your tweets. So my columns are 1) all friends (this is a default column of the tweets from all people one follows), 2) mentions (direct@replies to me), 3)#twitterqueens, 4)#rebcbos (this was the hashtag used for the conference I was attending, it stood for real estate bar camp Boston), 5) innkeeping 6) Maine news 7) Maine tourism 8) Maine real estate 9) Maine bed and breakfasts and 10) a new one I started #breakfastclub (I see certain people on Twitter in the morning while I'm drinking my coffee so I decided to use the hashtag #breakfastclub (for which I must give credit to @CandaceKaru for naming). When you reply to someone in a conversation containing a hashtag, that hashtag will remain in the conversation thread, so that anyone following the conversation can easily do by setting up a search for #breakfastclub (and on Tweetdeck, it's a column, other applications like standard Twitter are just under a search of that word. Tweetdeck allows you to view all columns (or conversations so to speak) at once. So each morning I open up Tweetdeck I read the posts about Maine news, Maine Tourism, what's professionals in my field are saying, as well as watching what some of the Primetime news anchors are saying. Many times they'll use Twitter as a way to post only the headlines, with a link if the reader chooses to follow. It's customizable, global news.

Hashtag or no hashtag in your search columns? Think of it as broad search vs. specific search. If I want to follow all posts that have all three terms in no specific order - maine+real+estate, then I will use the words with spaces and without a hashtag. If I want to follow a specific conversation such as my #breakfastclub, I will use a hashtag. One is broad, the other very specific.

To take Tweetdeck one step further, I learned about from someone I met at the conference, Joe Cascio (@JoeCascio) - I saw it on his screen during a session and it was fast moving, lots of colors, many more columns and much more customizable. OH I MUST USE THAT! However, it does move faster than I was comfortable with, so for right now I've decided to stick with Tweetdeck. PeopleBrowsr is Tweetdeck on steroids!

That said, once you follow people with common interests, you will begin to grow your followers. Search amongst your follower's followers. Your pool will eventually grow. Once you start tweeting AND retweeting (which is simply re-posting what someone else tweeted to help spread their message, and is very important, but I'll save that for another post!), you will see Twitter as an invaluable tool. Imagine customizing the news so that you only hear what matters to you, in short blurbs, and are able to share that knowledge with others easily and quickly. Period. THAT is Twitter. And let's not forget that it is free advertising. But you have to engage others to want to follow you before you start marketing in their face. Don't just talk at people on Twitter, listen and comment, there's an enormous difference.

Twitter help for beginners
Tweeple Pages allows you to find people to follow by interest
Getting retweets from Mashable
Download Twitter for Real Estate Twits

Twitter for Innkeepers? Oh absolutely! Talk about enticing followers with your fabulous menu? Or by sending links to local events? Oh the possibilities...we offer an in depth session during our Get INNspired Innkeeper Bootcamp.

My next post, Tweetworthy Content and getting your tweets re-tweeted. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Aspiring Innkeeper BOOTCAMP!

We've just announced our new Fall Foliage Get INNspired Innkeeping "Bootcamp" to be held at the newly renovated Danforth Inn, Portland, Maine October 4-6. A gorgeous time of year to explore what Maine has to offer while contemplating where to buy the inn of your the video and see what The Best of Portland 2009 has to say...

More details from The Swan Agency Sotheby's International Realty

Monday, July 20, 2009

Travel + Leisure and Mount Desert Island...

Travel + Leisure has just announced Mount Desert Island as one of the top ten islands in the world.

"Spruce-strewn Mount Desert Island accounts for 35,000 of the 47,000 acres of Acadia National Park, which teems with visitors during the summer months. In September, while the island's trees explode with color, tourism drops considerably, and osprey, seals, and deer have the place practically to themselves. Bar Harbor is the largest town, but the quiet villages of Northeast, Southwest, and Seal Harbors are the region's true gems." read more

I personally know why T&L sees this, but I'm fortunate enough to live on the island...come see for yourself!

Another question I'm asked - "Do you miss innkeeping?"

The answer in general? Yes, a little!

Being an innkeeper for a creative, generous type like myself is immensely gratifying. Being able to provide for, and share with your guests is a great thing. On a daily basis you are helping to make your guests vacations as memorable and as relaxing as you can. The simple things you do for your guests seem huge to them. It's a job that one can rarely find where each day is primarily filled with pleasantries. Of course there are issues with a clogged toilet, or a broken dishwasher, the need to run out and replace an A/C window unit, or the strawberries are moldy and the housekeeper doesn't show up...but in reality, these are every day issues that are simple to resolve. Unlike so many corporate jobs, there are no unresolved issues on your desk at the end of the day. Each day from start to finish is a regime, and completed. And for the most part, pleasant. You have to learn to roll with the maintenance issues, plain and simple. And once you do, you're able to enjoy what matters most - aiming to please your guests.

So, now that I'm out of innkeeping, what I realized that I would have missed most, is being creative and providing for people. But as a Lodging Broker, I find that I'm still able to do that. I provide creative marketing for my clients. I don't just post the listing in the MLS. I photograph not just the property and what it has to offer, but the surrounding area. I photograph Maine. I blog about Maine. I love Maine and I try to show others why they would love Maine, too. And I realize I'm fulfiling my creative needs by just this!

So, the bottom line answer is that for me, since I'm still able to be creative doing what I'm doing, I don't miss innkeeping as much as I thought. It might be a different story if my job didn't involve so many things of beauty - Maine, photography and gorgeous inns and B&B's all over the state. And when I have time, I cook and entertain for family and friends. I'm a happy camper!

Why are so many inns on the market?

This is a question that I understandably hear on a regular basis. And for the most part, it's a cyclical coincidence, nothing more. Many ask "is it burnout?" And the answer (for most of my listings) is simply "no".

There are so many reasons why a property may be on the market, and it's not usually negative like many might assume. Of my listings, I have several sellers that have been in the business for 10-25 years - that's a very long time to be an innkeeper! I have a few whose family lives change, and therefore the need to sell just comes about. I have a few that have accomplished what they've set out to with the business and it's time to move on. Or maybe since it's simply a buyer's market, a seller may decide that the modest profit they could make from selling now is good enough, rather than holding out for a seller's market. Or maybe the seller has truly reached retirement time; because innkeeping is not retirement, it's a lifestyle job. Retirement would actually mean, well, retirement!

So, buyers should not concern themselves with why there may be an influx of inns on the market in Maine. If you look at the statistics of how many inns there are in Maine, you'll see that only a minute percentage are actually on the market. Just recognize the opportunity for a great selection of what's out there for your new endeavor. Innkeeping is a lifestyle, a job, an investment and a home.