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January 5, 2020

Sellers transformed once-rundown Rockland properties to elegant B&Bs

Courtesy / The B&B Team The Berry Manor Inn was transformed from a run-down private home into an award-winning lodging that opened in 1999. The inn was recently sold as part of a package that included neighboring Rockland Talbot House.

The sellers of two turnkey bed-and-breakfasts in Rockland were responsible over the past 20 years for transforming what had once been properties in rough condition.

Mike LaPosta and Cheryl Michaelsen sold Berry Manor Inn at 81 Talbot Ave. and adjacent Rockland Talbot House at 73 Talbot Ave. for an unspecified price in a deal that closed Nov. 6. The buyers were Tammy and John Breymaier, according to The B&B Team's Rick Wolf, who represented the sellers.

The property at 81 Talbot has an assessed value of $844,900 and 73 Talbot is valued at $610,400, according to Rockland property tax records.

Michaelsen and LaPosta  bought 81 Talbot Ave. 22 years ago, then  turned it into the Berry Manor Inn, said Wolf. Several years ago, he said, they bought neighboring 73 Talbot Ave. and rehabilitated it as Rockland Talbot House.

Wolf credited the sellers for turning properties that were in “rough shape” into turnkey businesses.  Berry Manor has won multiple awards, including "Top Best Bed and Breakfasts in the U.S." by TripAdvisor for 2013 and 2008. 

“They were 22-year innkeepers and built one of the granddaddy inns in Maine,” he said, referring to Berry Manor. “They took the house from nothing and turned it into one of the top-producing inns in Maine, regardless of location, then added to it” to Rockland Talbot. 

Pie Moms

Berry Manor has another claim to fame: It became well-known for its “Pie Moms,” who are LaPosta’s mother Janet and Michaelsen’s mother Ally. Through the years, the moms baked pies for guests every day until they retired. The Pie Moms appeared on the Food Network on a "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," on the Travel Channel with Samantha Brown and Discovery Channel with Mike Rowe’s "Dirty Jobs." 

As part of Historic Inns of Rockland, Michaelsen and LaPorta helped found the annual Pies on Parade, held in January and now in its 16th year in Rockland and Camden. The event has raised more than $200,000 has been raised for the Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry. 

Last year, nearly 25 venues participated in the event, offering close to 60 varieties of pies, according to a promotional video.

Berry Manor

Berry Manor Inn was built in 1898 by prominent local merchant Charles H. Berry as a wedding gift for his new bride, according to

Courtesy / The B&B Team
The 19th century Berry Manor includes original details like arched doorways and hardwood floors.

The shingle-styled mansion was a center of grand hospitality for more than a century, first as the primary residence of four generations of the Berry family, then in the hands of another local family for 50 years. At the time it was one of the largest private homes in Rockland. There’s a separate carriage house.

Michaelsen and LaPosta came to innkeeping after careers in the health care industry.

They bought the property in 1998 and converted it into a bed-and-breakfast, which they opened in 1999. The renovation work met standards set by the U.S. Department of the Interior to ensure the original architectural features of the property were maintained and preserved. The property is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. There are 12 guest rooms: eight in the main inn and four in the carriage house. Modern amenities include high-speed internet access, flat screen televisions with DVD players, IPod docking stations, guest computer and printer work station, in-room phones and flexible breakfast schedules. Berry Manor has been certified by the state of Maine as an environmental leader in the hospitality industry.

The structure has a variety of different types of hardwood flooring and a ballroom on the third floor that became a suite.  The carriage house has some of the original siding from when it actually was a carriage house.

“They established their inn as truly one of the grand inns in the state,” said Wolf.

According to Wolf’s listing, Berry Manor’s advantages included a solid revenue history, above average occupancy, investment grade profitability and cash flow, brand awareness, guest loyalty, room for expansion and growth, proximity to local amenities like restaurants and galleries, occupancy above the annualized national and regional averages with top tier revenues and income; and its location in Rockland, named “Coolest Small Town in US” by Budget Travel, “Top Adventure Town in Maine” by National Geographic Travel and “Top 9 Small Foodie Towns” in Maine.

Rockland Talbot

Rockland Talbot House is a restored 1850 mansion in the city’s historic district. 

Courtesy / The B&B Team
Rockland Talbot House is a restored 1850 mansion in the city’s historic district.

The mansard style three-story Victorian home has 12-foot ceilings, a grand staircase, and intricate woodwork inside and out. First built for a ship captain, the home was then purchased by David Talbot in 1905. It then spent 60 years as a retirement home called Home for Aged Women until it was renamed the Talbot House. 

LaPosta and Michaelsen ran it as a six-guest room inn with options for up to two more guest accommodations, according to Wolf’s listing.

When LaPorta and Michaelsen bought it, “They brought the building back to life,” said Wolf. “They basically took it down to studs and redid everything on the inside.”

The inns were on the market several years, he said. 

“It’s been a long road,” he said. “The Berry Manor Inn is 12 rooms in two buildings. The Rockland Talbot is licensed for eight. When you get to 18 to 20 rooms, that’s a special situation. The numbers go up, the price goes up.”

Nevertheless, he said, he saw good interest throughout that time. That’s consistent with trends, he said, which show plenty of interest from potential buyers.

“I’m working with folks now from Nevada, Massachusetts, Ohio, England and Rhode Island, all looking in various parts of New England,” he said.

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