In the movies the harried corporate executive buys a B&B in New England, starts a successful mail order business, and lives happily ever after.
If you have ever visited a B&B on the Maine coast – or plan to this summer – you may wonder if innkeepers’ lives are as sweet as the chocolate-drizzled banana French toast they serve for breakfast. For one couple, the route to Mount Desert Island, which annually lures over two million visitors to Acadia National Park, had as many switchbacks as a park hiking trail.
Alan Feuer, who today owns Ann’s Point Inn on Bass Harbor, says, “I taught computer science at Northeastern and ran a company that offers specialized search engines. My wife Jeannette worked at the Museum of Science in Boston. When our youngest finished college, we decided it was time to sell our 120-year-old Victorian in the city and try something different.”
The couple commenced a nationwide search to meet an exacting set of standards for a property. According to Alan, they wanted a spectacular setting in an interesting community with high-quality amenities like excellent grocers and restaurants. Because they had already had an old house in Boston, they decided to look for a property of contemporary design and construction. They focused on inns with fewer than five rooms so that they could really meet their guests. And they wanted a seasonal enterprise that would give them time to themselves.
The search for the ideal property took the Feuers to the central California coast, the Southwest, islands off the Southeast, and Cape Cod. They spent a year looking, then they saw Ann’s Point Inn on Mount Desert Island.
Sitting on two acres at the end of a peninsula on Bass Harbor, this lovely B&B had four luxurious guest rooms with water views, an indoor heated pool, a Finnish sauna, a jet-filled hot tub, and nearly 700 feet of private shoreline. And there wasn’t a fussy Victorian wreath or lace pillow in sight.
Not only did it meet all of their criteria, but, as Alan said, “MDI had always been in the back of our minds. We’d been going there on and off for 30 years. Acadia is one of our favorite places.”
Finding the property was only the beginning. Alan’s dream was “luxury with a low-carbon footprint.” That meant adding a solar pool heater and 3500 watts of electricity generation using solar panels. They also redesigned their central courtyard and built three new decks and patios.
The Feuers approached innkeeping with confidence because they’d always done a lot of entertaining. Alan hooked up a Quickmill espresso machine to perfect his cappucino technique. Jeannette began preparing breakfast not once, but three times a day to test recipes.
Foodies flock to Mount Desert Island because of its inventive restaurants that focus on seasonal ingredients, seafood, and local produce. Jeannette started experimenting with some of these for her three-course breakfasts, which include herbs and produce from her garden as well as local eggs and seafood. Alan has added a refreshment hour in the late afternoon featuring Seal Cove goat cheese, a favorite mead from Bartlett Winery he pairs with roasted apricots, and honey ale from Atlantic Brewing.
Does Ann’s Point Inn attract any particular type of visitor? “Many are celebrating some special occasion. That puts them in a wonderful state-of-mind. I think everyone is enchanted by the beauty of the island. Hiking, kayaking, and eating lobster are among the most popular activities.”
With satisfied guests and the perfect setting, it seems the one final element of the equation for innkeeper happiness is the mail order business. “I still run the search engine business that I started in Boston,” Alan grins, “I guess that qualifies as Web mail order.”
To learn more about things to do in Acadia National Park and the best times to visit Mount Desert Island, visit OUR ACADIA.