This innkeeper is offering her $900,000 lakeside inn to the writer of the best 200-word essay


If you can write, then you can become the owner of a 210-year-old inn that sits peacefully in the lakes and mountain district of Western Maine. Normally this B&B, straight out of a Nicholas Spark’s novel, with its antique décor, beautiful screened-in wrap-around porch and White Mountain views, would set you back nearly a million dollars. But you can call yourself the owner of the Center Lovell Inn, for a small fee of $125 and the use of your most powerful weapon: words.

Janice Sage, the current owner and innkeeper of the Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant, is retiring. It’s been more than two decades since Maine couple Bil and Susie Mosca selected Sage to take over the inn. The price she paid: $100 and an essay.

Sage is giving her inn away to a lucky essay writer for an entry fee of $125 and no more than a 200-word essay

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And now, Sage plans to take the same route. According to the Portland Press Herald, she hopes to attract at least 7,500 participants, which would pay for the price of the inn. The contest is open until May 17 and each entry should be no more than 200 words, in English, and describe why you are the right caretaker for the inn.

Bil Mosca was pleased when he heard of Sage’s news and is confident that her contest will succeed as theirs did. Of course there are always going to be some concerns. Mosca explains his worry that people may lie in their essays or that the wrong person will be selected. However, he has learned to silence that fear. “We trust. It was part of the magic of this whole thing.” He adds of Sage, “it turned out we were right.”

She hopes the combined entry fees from the contest ($125 per entry), with a projected 7,500 entries will allow her to retire smoothly.


Sage explains that the contest is a way for people, who normally wouldn’t be able to afford it, to have an opportunity to invest in something they are passionate about. Which is exactly what happened for her, 22 years ago. “‘Hope springs eternal’ so they say, and we have always dreamed of owning a place of our own,” wrote Sage in her own contest essay. “We hope that by providing the guests at the Center Lovell Inn with fine food, comfortable surroundings, friendship, and fond memories, we will give them a space in time they will always cherish.”

Winning this contest would be the ultimate lottery for the person who dreams of canoes on a still lake, fresh food, a cozy antique parlour, tall pines and mountaintops.

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Sources: Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe,,,,,