We’ve waited patiently at the Maine Stay Inn for a sunny, hot forecast. Finally, last week it actually was hot for a few days. Would we be able to serve our guests breakfast on our wrap around porch for the first time this season?! It was as though summer blasted in over night and we rushed to make the property ready for summer. We put our air-conditioners in, laundered beach towels, picked up our outdoor plants, and put aside our normal indoor chores. We planted the impatiens, hung our flower baskets, readied our Kennebunkport Cottages, and painted outdoor furniture. And yes, breakfast on the porch was a hit! Guests went to Cape Porpoise to see the local lobstermen bring in their catch or biked to Goose Rocks beach and walked the quiet 3 miles of white sand and peaceful shoreline. Other guests took the trolley to the Kennebunk beaches and walked the sidewalk along the gorgeous stretch of our scenic coast. Restaurants such as Mabel’s and Bandaloop were booked for our guests who enjoyed eating out on their decks and patios. The Schooner Eleanor and the whale watching boats went out. Some guests played golf while others rented bikes. Glorious summer time is finally back.
Thursday is our one year anniversary as owners of the Maine Stay and all year long we anticipated the arrival of the Select Registry inspector. We had been warned that an unidentified inspector would spend the night, and evaluate our inn on a detailed point system, which translates into a pass/fail grade for the inn. Walter and I had worked non stop our first year to improve our property and services, but we still rather dreaded the review. Being a Select Registry inn provides a guarantee to the traveling public that the inn is in an elite class. Select Registry has established quality as a hallmark of its member properties. Failing inspection after all of our hard work would have been emotionally devastating. When the guest identified his true self I began to panic. Would we pass? We have had no housekeeping staff for the winter season, so we could only blame ourselves if there were any housekeeping problems.
The breakfast service this day was unusual, because the dining room was filled with families and their children. Normally we have no children in the dining room and we deliver breakfast to the cottages, but on this particular day I had invited all the families in for breakfast since my guests included only families with children and 1 single gentleman (the Spy). After breakfast the “Spy” announced his true identity and the inspection began. We passed! But is was not a simple pass; he looked over everything in extraordinary detail. I found the whole experience educational providing me with more information on how to improve my property and the stays for our guests. Now I have a much clearer understanding of the expected standards and my wish list of improvements is even larger than ever. Our rooms in the main house and in our elite cottages are what Select Registry requires, but our family cottages with double beds, kitchens, and no fireplaces or whirlpools are very desirable for families. The “Spy” had trouble relating to the casual family atmosphere of these units and despite a winter of renovations in these units, the “Spy” still did not love them. Fortunately, one of our guests raved about their cottage stay in front of the “Spy,” saying the connecting units provided the perfect getaway for their multi-generational family of young children, parents, and grandparents. She profusely raved about her stay and the ambience at the Maine Stay and the “Spy” began to understand the variety of accommodations and experiences provided at our inn.
We sat with the “Spy” for a final recap in the dining room where we were all treated with a hula dance. Two little girls wanted to entertain us with a farewell thank you dance. The “Spy” was quite taken aback, saying that was a first for him. The “Spy” moved by the cute little girls departed with a clear understanding that families love our casual cottages while other guests can choose to pamper themselves in our other luxury rooms.
Monday afternoon, a gorgeous spring day, I hear the horse and carriage going by our front door, I hear the driver talking about our historic home. The passengers are not wrapped in blankets. I guess spring is here. The phone rings and I book a reservation for this upcoming weekend for one of our newly renovated family friendly cottages, yes another sign of spring. Guests are going to the Sea Dogs this week, it must be so. Spring has sprung. Cottage 6 our two bedroom unit is booked all week. Saturday, we are planning to set up the front porch with the outdoor furniture. Mabel’s Lobster Claw has opened. Perhaps it won’t be too long before we can serve breakfast on the porch. It must be so…we survived our first winter in Kennebunkport and in a few days we will celebrate our first anniversary of owning the Maine Stay Inn. The reservations are coming in for summer and we are beginning to welcome back repeat guests. We look forward to seeing old friends and new and enjoying the gorgeous Maine spring and summer.