Essay Contest Prize: $900K Maine Inn
Janice Sage will hand over Maine property to contest winner
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2015 1:17 PM CDT
If you're good with words, this could be yours.   (Wordpress)

(Newser) – If you've always pictured yourself as the owner of a 210-year-old inn in Maine, you better put pen to paper pronto. The owner of the historic Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant is retiring after 22 years and plans to continue the tradition of passing the $905,000 property to the winner of an essay contest, Reuters reports. Until May 17, Janice Sage—who took ownership in 1993 after winning a contest initiated by the previous owner—is accepting 200-word essays on the subject, "Why I would like to own and operate a country inn," reports the Boston Globe. Each entry must be "formally done and grammatically correct" and include a $125 fee, she tells NPR. She'll pick her 20 favorites and two locals will decide the winner from the bunch. Sage hopes to receive about 7,500 entries to cover the cost of the property plus a bit extra—the winner will also receive $20,000 to get started.

"There are a lot of talented people that can't, just can't, go out and buy an inn like this," Sage says. "Now all they need to do is write and convince me." The winner is required to run the business for at least a year. That means 17-hour workdays of cooking meals, cleaning rooms, and looking after the old building and its barn, put up in 1895, along with numerous outbuildings on 12 acres. The owner will also have to keep the inn painted white but can choose between hunter green, forest green, or black roofing and shutters. "Unless you raise 14 kids, you're not going to be used to this," Sage says. But at least the lucky winner can enjoy views of New Hampshire's mountains after a hard day of work. The winner will be announced May 21 with the transfer of ownership taking place within 30 days. (Also available: a $1.1 million trailer.)