Inn By The Sea recently hosted its family pumpkin carving early this year so that the inn could close this week for major renovations.

The inn invited local children from Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and Scarborough to carve 1,500 pounds of locally grown pumpkins Oct. 6.

Unseasonably warm weather made for a perfect day as more than 150 children and their families enjoyed fresh baked cookies, apple bobbing and pumpkin carving. Rep. Jane Eberle judged the contest and presented prizes to the most creative carvers.

According to the inn’s general manager, Sara Masterson, hosting the annual carving two weeks early had little effect on turn out. “We were pleased so many families joined us for the inn’s last event before renovations,” said Masterson.

Taking away prizes for children under 5 were Ella Redlon, Parker Redlon and Riley Knupp. Lucas Gironda, Annie Citrin and Ryan Connolly won for 6 to 9 year olds, and Evan Long, Alex Harper and Claire Zimmerman received prizes for their originality for children over 10.

The expansion will include a new two-story wing with meeting rooms, restrooms and 10 new guest rooms with porches overlooking the ocean. Five more rooms will be added to the 43 suites in the existing building, and there will be expansions made to the porte cochere, a covered area in front of the inn’s entrance; the lobby and the deck in the rear of the building. The underused tennis courts will be removed in order to provide for more parking, and the entrance to the inn will have two driveways – one for coming in and one for going out – rather than one.

The inn will reopen in June 2008.

Casey and Emma Loring and Michelle Bennington of South Portland enjoy sunny weather carving pumpkins at Inn By The Sea’s annual pumpkin carving. Claire Zimmerman, Alex Harper and Evan Long , are given prizes by Derrick Daly and State Representative Jane Eberle at Inn By The Sea

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