In September 2013, we packed our bags and boxes and cats, and left the Jersey shore and the world of academia. After more than two decades, the latter had made us feel stuck (often quite literally, during commutes) and we were ready to take off in a different direction. Siobhan’s parents had owned the High Tide Inn (Camden) in  the 1980s, and during our first visit there  together in 2010, Katja fell in love with it too—and with Maine. Thus began a few years of trips and adventures to search for our perfect inn, a journey that kept bringing us back to Midcoast Maine.

Most innkeepers we know did something very different before they came to innkeeping, but not a lot of them used to be teachers. In our first innkeeping years, whenever we told guests that we had taught English since grad school, they would say, wow, that’s quite a big change! ( Translation : hmm, do these two know enough about innkeeping?) Now, eleven  years later, they are more likely to ask whether we plan to retire soon. True, we didn’t know much about innkeeping before we started in earnest – but we had some excellent teachers! We’ll be forever grateful to Rick and Janet Wolf of the B&B Team, and Rick and Jane Ellis, the previous owners.   Not to mention a couple of very experienced housekeepers, whose voices we still hear in our heads today!

No imminent retirement yet, no, and no concrete (or realistic!) plans. We still enjoy our innkeeping lives – from the quiet, sleepy winters to the busy summers and falls when up to a thousand guests a month somehow entrust us with their well being for at least one day of their lives, confident that we will help make their vacation or short visit a success. That’s quite an honor if you think about it. And on top of it, we get to know or at least briefly meet people from all walks of life and many parts of the world; hear some of their stories, learn about their jobs, families, health, pets, and travels.  To quote our retired-innkeeper friend Anita, “We’re in the happiness business.”

Hosting travelers, we now travel vicariously every day we have guests, and we love the way our little motel is a microcosm of travel and its encounters between worlds and people: 17 rooms full of guests spending the night under the same roof, sharing space, experiences, breakfast; exchanging stories, information, travel tips, and email addresses – before dispersing again into the many directions they came from or are on their way to see. It’s fun to have the world arrive in our parking lot each afternoon!
Thanks, past and future guests, for staying with us at the Towne Motel, and allowing us to be a part of your journeys.

Katja and Siobhan