September 10, 2018

Aspiring innkeepers take over a historic Lincolnville B&B

Courtesy / Linda Impagliazzo
Courtesy / Linda Impagliazzo
From left, Spouter Inn Bed and Breakfast buyers Linda and Marc Impagliazzo and sellers Don and Erin Shirley celebrate right after the Aug. 17 closing.

After a two-year search through New England, a Rhode Island couple views their purchase of the historic Spouter Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lincolnville Beach as a perfect "second act."

Linda and Marc Impagliazzo purchased the property at 2506 Atlantic Highway from Erin and Don Shirley, in a transaction that closed Aug. 17. Rick Wolf, a partner/owner of The B&B Team in Kennebunk, brokered the deal. The listing price was $949,000. The purchase price was not disclosed.

In 2016, Wolf brokered the Shirleys' purchase of the inn. At that time, he said, the inn had been closed for a couple of years.

"But it had always been a property that I thought was great," he said. The Shirleys graduated from a B&B Team "aspiring innkeepers" workshop, Wolf introduced them to the Spouter, and they took possession later that year.

According to its website, the inn, on 1.5 acres across from Lincolnville Beach, was built by the Hallet family in 1832 as a Colonial-style summer home. At times, migrant workers who were in the area to harvest crops or work in fishing or lobstering, rented rooms there.

In 1986, Paul and Catherine Lippman purchased the home, renovated the structure and added a post-and-beam carriage house. The inn has eight guest rooms, which feature Maine hemlock ceilings and ash floors, plus Paul's use of wood finish in mahogany, bird's eye maple, cherry, pine and oak.

Sellers making a transition

Courtesy / The B&B Team
Courtesy / The B&B Team
The Spouter Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lincolnville Beach was built as a sea captain’s home in 1832.

The couple selling the inn, the Shirleys, decided to sell due to health reasons.

Erin Shirley said when they bought property she and her husband were thinking about their own second act. After three decades of teaching in southern New Hampshire, they realized they wanted to live near the ocean and she had always liked cooking for people.

"We put all that together and came up with owning an inn by the ocean," she said.

When they bought the Spouter, it had fallen into disuse. "We cranked up an entirely new website," she said. "We had to get professional memberships and start advertising and marketing. The core things like towels and linens and toiletries were all there. But there were a lot of features we wanted to add."

The couple lived there and ran it 10 months per year.

"We figured, Why not try to make money during the off-season?" she said, adding that the area has plenty of potential for off-season innkeeping, with winter activities like the nearby Camden Snow Bowl and the Camden Conference.

After two years operating the property, the Shirleys listed it in early April, within a week had two showings, and then an offer. They were surprised how quickly things moved.

"From what everyone was saying, it seemed it would take a year or longer," she said.

Features include original flooring in the kitchen, dining room and parlor; and fireplaces with original mantels and pot-hangers. Some walls have horsehair plaster, she said. A section of the second floor has Southern pine suspension floors was once a dance hall; an archway in one wall seems to indicate it was the front of a stage, she said. There are old photographs and an 1800s diary.

"The couple we bought it from tried to preserve as much as they could," she said.

The Impagliazzos, from Rhode Island, searched for an inn for about two years, said Linda Impagliazzo.

"It was just something we wanted to do together," she said.

Linda is executive director of Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, in Pawtucket, R.I., which provides services to victims of domestic violence. She is winding down her duties there. Marc worked in construction and is now handling the inn. Linda commutes up on weekends.

They started talking several years ago about a lifestyle change and attended The B&B Team's innkeeping seminar.

"We weren't sure if it was what we wanted to do," she said. But they decided it was time for a change, and that her business skills plus Marc's construction skills would be useful for innkeeping. The Spouter, she said, was "pretty much everything we wanted. So we jumped on it."

They took over operations immediately after closing, getting thrown into a busy August. Navigating the learning curve, they found guests were understanding and the community welcoming, she said. The couple plans to live there, and will be open year-round.

The inn's nautical theme includes rooms named after ship parts, like the Crow's Nest. No infrastructure changes are planned for now. "Initially, we'll just keep going the way the previous owners did, learning as we go," she said.

Other historic inns on the market

Courtesy / The B&B Team
Courtesy / The B&B Team
The nautically themed Spouter Inn includes names for guest rooms like the one seen here, the Captain’s Quarters.

Wolf has two other historic coastal inn listings.

The Captain Jefferds Inn, in Kennebunkport, is listed for $4.5 million. It was built in 1804 as a sea captain's home, according to its website.

According to the listing, it has 16 guest rooms and features like high ceilings, a curved staircase and second floor landing, the living room's wood-burning fireplace and flowering gardens. The building and property are well maintained.

The Maine Stay Inn & Cottages, in Kennebunkport, is listed at $3.75 million. It's located on a residential street in the historic district of Kennebunkport. Built in 1860 as a sea captain's home, the property also has 11 guest cottages. Features include wrap-around porch, cupola at the crown of the building, a "suspended spiral flying staircase," and parlor with fireplace.


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