I have been a country inn for only the last few years of my long life.

The Center Lovell Inn represents a combination of architectural styles, including Federal, Georgian, Italianate and Second Empire, topped by a Mansard roof. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer, File

A whiff of controversy surrounds the actual time of my birth. Some folks say I was born in 1803, judging from the old timbers in my basement. What they do not realize is that old timbers were often reused to build new houses. Records at the Lovell Historical Society suggest I was built around 1830 by an upstanding deacon of the local Congregational Church.

My lovely architecture has evolved into a combination of styles, ranging from late Federal, Georgian, Italianate and Second Empire. My Mansard roof is truly my crowning glory. Not many Mansard-style homes can be found in Oxford County, so I do stand out. My tall dormers, with their “scrolly” frames and large, fancy cupola, are “over the top”!

When the deacon died, his son inherited me, but he was too busy being a dentist in Portland to take care of me and sold me off to his brother. Sometime in the 1880s, when another family bought me, they were nice enough to provide me with a beautiful wraparound porch. Now my owners could sit in their rocking chairs and gaze out on the presidential range of the White Mountains. They could even spot a sliver of stunning Kezar Lake, nestling against the foothills. I often think how fortunate I am to live in this idyllic world of nature.

Over many years, several families have lovingly preserved me, both inside and out.  They have polished my wood floors, wallpapered my rooms, and used my fireplaces so carefully that I have never been in danger of burning to the ground. They have farmed my property, tended my gardens and maintained an 18th-century barn when it was moved into my yard.

My life changed dramatically in 1974 because I became a country inn and restaurant. Suddenly my bedrooms and spacious dining room overflowed with happy guests from all over the world. I was delighted and flattered by their compliments.


I have housed only three sets of innkeepers over the last 47 years, all of them exceptional hosts and chefs! My numerous guests have tasted the finest of Italian cuisine, and, most recently, delectable Caribbean fare.

I am especially proud to have been the subject of two essay contests when my innkeepers decided to sell me off in a most unique way. For a small fee, thousands of people entered these competitions, describing why they wanted to own a country inn.

I highly suspect that these two essay winners have appreciated me even more than if they’d simply gone through a traditional purchase. They certainly saved a lot of money! Their personal, creative writings set the stage for a meaningful relationship with me.

Now, at nearly 200 years old, I am definitely feeling my age! I fear my guests will be frightened by all my creaking and groaning. When the winds howl, my exposed beams and my hidden timbers shriek loudly enough to wake the dead. I tremble and shake every time the Maine weather changes.

Still, I survive and thrive to bring a bit of joy to others with my many offerings as a country inn.

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