Anthony Rodriguez and Leila Uilani Rodriguez closed on the Lakeview Inn last November. The historic spot off the Naples Causeway was built in 1906 and was originally a boarding house for young women. Contributed / Anthony Rodriguez and Leila Uilani Rodriguez

NAPLES — Owning their own inn was a dream 35 years in the making for Anthony Rodriguez and Leila Uilani Rodriguez.

The couple reopened the Lakeview Inn in January as a year-round bed-and-breakfast, eager for a change from their corporate careers in banking and the tourism and hospitality industries.

“It’s something I’ve really been wanting to do,” said Rodriguez. “It’s retirement from the corporate world, but it’s something we want to do as part of our retirement anyway. And what better time to do it than while we’re still able to do it?”

While Uilani Rodriguez grew up in Hawaii and had only been as far west as Virginia prior to last year, she said that Maine is “filled with some of my ancestral” history. She even found family graves at Grant Cemetery in Litchfield.

Rodriguez grew up in La Puente, California, and has also lived in Las Vegas. The two met in 2017 and lived in a small town outside of Reno, Nevada, before moving to Naples in December.

The inn is following the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 prevention guidelines and has already hosted guests in the few weeks since opening. Rodriguez said their grand opening will take place Memorial Day weekend.

The 16-room, four-floor guesthouse, located on Lake House Road just off the Causeway, was built in 1906 and was originally a boarding house for young women who worked at nearby resorts. It was converted to the year-round Inn at Long Lake in the 1980s but closed its doors in 2013. most The previous owners renovated the property and reopened it in July of 2014 as the seasonal Lakeview Inn.

Rodriguez and Uilani Rodriguez closed on the inn in November. They’d been interested in it since 2019, but their original plan to visit last March was delayed by the pandemic shutdowns.

When they finally made it here in July, they said, they fell in love with Naples and the Lakeview Inn.

“We love the West Coast, but the East Coast is so beautiful,” Uilani Rodriguez said. “So, we decided that we would do our retirement work here in Maine.”

The new Mainers are hoping to infuse the classic New England B&B with a taste of their Puerto Rican and Hawaiian backgrounds, from ukulele concerts to weekend barbecues, and that the inn will become a gathering spot for the community.

Robin Mullins, the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, said that the new innkeepers have a task ahead of them reopening the inn as a year-round venture.

“It’s been a very tough year,” for businesses, Mullins said. “I certainly wish them all the best and will do whatever we can to help them succeed.”

Rodriguez and Uilani Rodriguez have already reached out to her, she said,  and they are off to a strong start.

“I’m super excited to have them, for sure,” Mullins said.

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