Tuesday, December 26, 2006 

Kennebunkport Chamber of Commerce Holds 5th Annual Wedding Show

A very popular annual event, this year's Wedding Show promises an amazing selection of vendors and wedding experts.

The show will be held on Sunday, February 4, 2007 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

According to Kennebunkport Chamber of Commerce Representative Karen Duddy, this year's event promises to be "a top notch show."

So, whether your wedding is imminent or you have a loved one with an impending wedding, mark your calendar. Plan on a girls' getaway weekend (the guys will be thrilled, it's Super Bowl Sunday). Select a room/rooms at The Maine Stay Inn, and arrive on Friday afternoon in time for tea and sweets. Saturday can be set aside for a shopping trip to Freeport or to Kittery. And save Sunday for the 5th Annual Wedding Show.


Sunday, December 24, 2006 

Merry Christmas from The Maine Stay Inn

Maine Stay Inn Teddy and Santa Claws

Merry Christmas from all of us at

The Maine Stay Inn.

Friday, December 22, 2006 

Innkeeping 104

Okay, we have already had a general introduction to innkeeping along with some of the reasons I have chosen to write about it. That was Innkeeping 101.

Then I went on to talk about one of the rewarding and fun aspects of innkeeping, making it your inn. That was Innkeeping 102.

Following that, I discussed the realities of the amount of work involved. I continue to be inspired on this topic as so many writers enjoy detailing their impressions of the realities of this business. That article was Innkeeping 103.

Today's topic discusses the value of attending an Innkeeping Seminar. Should you spend the money for a seminar? Should you spend the time required to attend? After all, you probably have visited several inns and B & B's and found that it doesn't look like rocket science.

The good news...you are correct, it isn't rocket science. Innkeeping will however, call upon many of your different skill sets. Here's a list of the ones that come to mind: hospitality (of course), cooking, creativity, finance, marketing, negotiation, decorating, property management, computer science, people management, bookkeeping, planning, plumbing, carpentry, staff training, painting, patience, diplomacy, networking...okay, that's enough. There are many more and if you doubt the importance of any one of them, then beware. The skills needed are not all equally important and many of them can be outsourced.

So where is the value of attending a seminar? Our experience is that a seminar brings all the things you may have learned through your experiences and ties them all together. All of the talents listed above (and more), are incorporated in a well run, innkeeping seminar.

The one very important tool we learned from our attendance, was the knowledge of the current market values (or prices, or costs) of properties. Not only is this information important, it also changes over time, and it definately varies depending upon the region in which you choose to locate. We also learned some valuable information about the industry averages of operating expenses versus revenue. Without the benefit of this information prior to purchasing The Maine Stay Inn, it would have been impossible to make a well informed decision about becoming an innkeeper (or not).

Was there any information that was left out of the seminar? Yes! Unfortunately, there was one piece of information that we now know that was left out of our seminar (and from speaking with others, it is left out of many seminars) and is very important.

Why was it left out? I truly don't know. What is it? I'm not telling. Actually, I am happy to tell you. Simply post a comment to this article and include your email address. I won't post your comment but, I promise to email you and tell you this very important piece of information.

Some of the excellent innkeeping seminars here in the northeast are:

The B&B Team, Seminars for Aspiring Innkeepers

Inn Your Dreams, Aspiring Innkeepers' Seminars

Should you attend a seminar in the region in which you would like to run your inn? I believe it is important for your instructor to understand the geographic market that is most important to you. If you want an inn located in Hawaii, find someone that knows innkeeping in Hawaii. And don't overlook the importance of the instructor's knowledge of innkeeping. All of the seminars I have listed above are given by instructors who formerly were successful innkeepers. Emphasis on "successful."

To sum up, I recommend that you attend an innkeeping seminar given by a reputable instructor familiar with the region in which you will purchase and operate your inn. Also, I recommend that you post a comment to this site so I can email you the one crucial piece of information that your seminar will likely leave out.


Thursday, December 21, 2006 

Kennebunkport Maine Gets a Great Write-up in NJ Magazine

A wonderful article appeared in the December '06 edition of Inside Central New Jersey (on April 9, 2007, the author, Sarah Reiss provided us with this updated link as the magazine had rotated the article off their website) magazine.

The article, written by travel writer Sarah Reiss, chronicles her November visit to our community. In her quest to discover the pleasures of the world renowned Maine lobster, Sarah learns that Kennebunkport is much more than just lobster (although, the lobster is awesome).

To see the full article, click the link above, scroll down the page and look for the edition that says, Inside Central NJ - Dec. '06. That will take you to the full magazine. The article begins on page 32. Don't miss the mention of The Maine Stay Inn, as well as, The Artist Studio at CrossTrees on page 35.

Photo by Robert Dennis

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 

Kennebunkport's Historic Inns Acheive Record

The Historic Inns of Kennebunkport are pleased to announce record results from their fund raising effort on December 9, 2006. The Historic Inns Tour is an annual event held during the second weekend of the Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude.

Participants are asked for a $5.00 donation and are able to visit each of the eight Historic Inns. Not only are visitors able to see the decor of these beautiful inns but, each inn sets out some refreshments. Visit my previous post for more information about the Tour.

At the Maine Stay Inn for example, we had nearly a dozen different types of homemade Christmas cookies and warm apple cider. Fortunately for me, the favorite of the guests were the Christmas Wreath cookies (we should have taken a picture and you would understand why they were the favorite ~ update, Janice found a picture. The wreaths are the green ones). My favorite however, were the Mexican Wedding Cake cookies. There were some left over but, by the end of the evening they were all gone. Surprise, surprise.

Back to the subject at hand. The Historic Inns of Kennebunkport along with the efforts of the Kennebunkport Chamber of Commerce, collected a grand total of $1,115.00, a new record and a nearly 40% increase over our 2005 results.

The monies are donated to the Church Community Outreach Services of Kennebunk. This group provides emergency food and services to those in need in the Greater Kennebunk area. Since their inception in November 1990, they have provided aid to over 15,000 people.

The Historic Inns of Kennebunkport wish to thank all those who took part in this year's event as well as our wonderful Chamber of Commerce for helping us in our efforts.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006 

Where's Maine Stay Inn Teddy? ~ Win a Tee Shirt

Teddy still hasn't ventured ouside of Kennebunkport (that's the only hint on this one). He's anxious to do some real traveling and as a result, this may be the last easy opportunity for a Kennebunkport ~ Maine Stay tee shirt.

Send in your guess as soon as possible. Take as many guesses as you want, there's no penalty for a wrong answer. In other words, guess early and guess often.

Read the rules. First guess wins. And, if you won a tee shirt in the last 90 days, please give someone else a chance.

Also, thanks for all the compliments on Teddy's Christmas sweater.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006 

Kennebunkport Inns Post an Exciting Winter Calendar of Events

The Historic Inns of Kennebunkport have posted a winter calendar that is sure to include an event for everyone.

The Inns will repeat the most successful activities like, the "Kennebunkport Cookie Madness" and the "Maple Sugar Memories" while adding others that we hope will become just as popular.

New this March, will be "The Art of Boat Building" to be held on March 17th, and "Wine Tasting, Fine Dining and Decadent Chocolate" which will be held on March 31st.

The very popular "Historic House Party" will kick off the month of activites on March 3rd, and then "Kennebunkport Cookie Madness" will follow on March 10th. The date for "Maple Sugar Memories" is dictated by Mother Nature and the sap will be flowing on March 24th, while our guests share in the traditions of this classic New England activity.

Soon, I will write in detail about each of these events. Each deserves its own posting as they are so different, yet all so very interesting. If any of these events peak your interest and you want more information, call The Maine Stay Inn. We'll be happy to give you details as well as share with you information about our attractive off season package rates.

That's not all, in Kennebunkport February is For Lovers. The entire month is chock full of romance and chocolate. Weather permitting there will be some great outdoor activities and chocolate. For those of you that are not all shopped out after the holidays, there is also Freeport, Kittery and chocolate.

What about April? Well, now we get to my favorite, on April 21st, guests will stroll from inn to inn to sample a different flavor of English Fudge. The fudge will be cooked up special by Mike and Peggy at Roly's English Fudge. Each inn gets a different flavor (hey Mike and Peggy, send the "Original" to the Maine Stay) and, at the end of the tasting tour, guests will head down to Roly's to see the fudge being cooked up and to receive a gift of a half pound of their favorite. Save me some "Original."

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006 

The Maine Stay Inn's Christmas Party

Pictured, left to right ~ Tree (yes, Tree), Anita, Ellen, Susan and Janice. Missing, Kate and George (AKA photographer extraordinaire).

We celebrated Christmas with our staff today. We all met at the wonderful Kennebunkport restaurant, Pier 77. What a great place to enjoy a get together with the people that help make the Maine Stay Inn run smoothly.

I remember last year's Christmas Party. Janice mentioned that the group of people that gathered with us was the best group of people the Maine Stay has ever had. Well, this year's group of wonderful people tops them all. How could that be? All of those at last year's party are still with us (or back with us) and we have added a couple more.

And what about Pier 77? A beautiful restaurant in a quaint and picturesque seaside Maine location. Great people and fantastic food. That's why we had our Christmas party at Pier 77.

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Friday, December 08, 2006 

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful...

...but the fire is so delightful.
As we begin the second weekend of Kennebunkport's Christmas Prelude, the ground is dusted with a white coating of snow.

We have another great weekend ahead of us and there are lots of fantastic events. Visit the schedule of events and you will see that there is something for everyone.

Day or night, a little snow looks good on The Maine Stay Inn.

Winter is around the corner. Why not plan a weekend getaway to Kennebunkport's Maine Stay Inn.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006 

Kennebunkport Historic Inns Tour

It's an annual event during Kennebunkport's Christmas Prelude, the tour of the Historic Inns of Kennebunkport is held Saturday afternoon of the second weekend each year.

The eight Historic Inns open to the public to show their holiday adorned properties, welcome the visitors and offer holiday refreshments.

This event that is just as popular with the "locals" as it is with visitors. While all of the Historic Inns of Kennebunkport enjoy a common theme of charm, elegance and hospitality, this tour offers participants the opportunity to get a sense of what makes each of these beautiful inns unique.

Tickets to this event are just $5.00 and are available at the Hospitality Center, the Chamber of Commerce or at any of the Historic Inns. All proceeds go to the benefit of the Community Food Pantry.

Don't miss this event, the money goes to a very worthy cause and, you will undoubtedly enjoy some wonderful holiday cookies.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006 

Innkeeping 103 ~ Changing Careers

~A Warm Winter Maine Stay Welcome~
Are you considering a change in your career and wonder if innkeeping is right for you?

Or, are you considering becoming an innkeeper and wondering if you should take the frightening leap of leaving your long-established career?

Of course, when I say changing your career, I fully recognize that it is just as likely to be careers, since many innkeepers are husband and wife or partners.

Very difficult questions, and perhaps the most important questions to answer realistically and accurately before you take the plunge. I'll try to help by offering my two-cents. WARNING, WARNING Will Robinson, "you get what you pay for."

If innkeeping is a consideration, you undoubtedly are aware of the romance of operating an elegant property. Wonderful guests arrive and become good friends and of course, they return many times. This impression of innkeeping was advanced to new levels when The Bob Newhart Show became popular.

If you have been considering innkeeping for a reasonable period of time, you likely have also heard many accounts that identify this business as lots of work. Those reports point to 24-hour days that continue year round. Yipes! What have we gotten ourselves into Janice?

Where does the truth lie? Sorry for this answer but...it depends.

The wonderful guests that become friends...yes, absolutely! It is the very best part of innkeeping. In fact, we have a tag line that we place in some of our marketing literature, "we have the nicest guests" It's very true...we do.

The workload is a more complex topic to accurately identify. If you will be the innkeeper (as opposed to hiring a full-time innkeeper), you will be responsible for the guests 24-hours per day. However, that doesn't mean you can't delegate. For a point of reference, at our inns we have 18 rooms that we have operated for a little under five years. The number of times that we, or someone to which we have delegated the responsibility, have been called upon after working hours is less than six times. Nonetheless, someone must be available.

That, of course, is not the only work to be done. But, at our inns, the rest of the workload can all very easily be performed by employees or contractors. A consideration of how much of the work is passed to others begins with an awareness of your finances. Operating a smaller inn typically means a smaller budget and a larger workload for the owners. Also, the amount of equity (or, more importantly, the less the debt) in any property influences the amount of cashflow available for outsourcing. If you purchase any property on a shoestring and you can plan on a heavy workload.

Back to the real world...at The Maine Stay, Janice and I pick and choose which tasks we will perform and which we will hire others to perform. Our decisions depend on many factors including, when and who should interact with guests, who does the best job at each task and what Janice and I like to do. The answer to each of these variables changes from time to time.

So, believe it or not, when you see Janice out planting the gardens or, if you see me out shoveling snow, these both come under the category of things we like to do.

While the answer to the question about workload is more lengthy, the executive summary is this, there is plenty of work but, the innkeepers don't have to do it all.

I hope this helps.


Monday, December 04, 2006 

Where's Maine Stay Inn Teddy? ~ Win a Tee Shirt (this one is easy)

As you can see, Teddy's really into Kennebunkport's Christmas Prelude. You really can't tell but, his new sweater (sweaters are "in" this year) has Ho, Ho, Ho embroidered on the front. And, look through that window to see who is inside (sorry about the reflections in the window. As you probably know, I am not a professional photographer, I'm a professional epicurean).

Santa has been in this spot during the weeks leading up to Christmas for years.

The first guess wins. This one is easy so I'm not giving any clues.

Read the rules and send in your guess. I'm looking for the official name of his location.

Good luck!


Saturday, December 02, 2006 

The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport

Are you old enough to remember Charlie on the MTA? Okay, do you at least remember the MTA?

If the answer to either one, or both of these questions is yes, then you are in for a treat. This treat is a trip down Memory Lane. The Seashore Trolley Museum is a National Treasure and it is located right here in Kennebunkport.

With more than 250 transportation vehicles in its collection, the museum is the oldest and largest electric railway museum in the world. The museum collects, restores and operates these wonderful vehicles while preserving this important part of American history.

If you are like me, then you will remember that ~ Charlie handed his dime at the Kendall Square station and he changed for Jamaica Plain. When he got there the conductor told him, "one more nickel." Charlie could not get off that train. And, you will also exit this museum with a big smile on your face as memories of days past come pouring into your mind.

Take the time to visit the Trolley Museum...it's worth the trip.

Oh, and what about Charlie? ~ Did he ever return? No, he never returned, and his fate is still unlearned. But don't worry...Charlie's wife goes down to the Scollay Square Station every day at quarter past two, and through the open window she hands Charlie a sandwich as the train comes rumblin through.


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