Unfortunately I would have to agree that the winning essay was not chosen based on creativity, thought and conveyance of desire to operate a country inn. More based on the credentials and experience the winner has from running the restaurant and rum bar in the Virgin Islands.
The following is the winning essay : (I was going to post the link, but it may be taken down with all this controversy going on, so I copied and pasted from the Boston Globe)
Twelve years ago, we embarked on the journey of painstakingly converting a dilapidated building into a charming guesthouse and restaurant. We were newly married and learned important lessons that both solidified our relationship and allowed us to have a thriving business in the process. A successful marriage requires passion, hospitality and commitment. Perhaps the same is true for this venture.
Hospitality is more than good manners, proper etiquette, great food and a comfortable room: it is also about being consistent, keeping pace with customers’ demands and taking good care of the staff. However the welfare of a marriage is always of paramount importance.
My wife is the talented chef with a culinary degree, catering and restaurant management experience. I have marketing, inn-keeping, bartending and handyman skills. Our teamwork earned us several TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and top peoples’ choice accolades, including Best Chef, Best Gourmet Dining and Best Bartending. This contest is fortuitous since we now aspire to finally own a place outright; somewhere to share our love of fine food, great wines and entertaining with others. Undoubtedly our passion, hospitality and commitment is the perfect recipe for a successful marriage to the beautiful Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant.
Apparently the top 20 finalist’s essays were posted on the Facebook page for the Center Lovell Inn. I find it interesting that the Facebook page has been taken down. I find it even more interesting that neither Sage nor the Adamses have responded to numerous messages left over several days. If they were on the up and up don’t you think they would want to set things right with the public eye?
I mailed my essay entry on March 23rd, and received my entry number 439 back a week later. The top 20 entries were listed on June 5th, by entry number. I don’t have the list now, but if my memory serves me there was only one entry in the three digits that made the top 20. All of the other entries were 4 digit numbers. How many entries were there? Did she read each and every one of them? Was the criteria based on essay creativity, as the contest entry rules specified, or was it base on experience and ability to operate a country inn? We may never know.
In the rules it states that all essay entries become the property of the Center Lovell Inn, and for that reason I cannot share my full essay. I can and will however, share this. When I entered the contest I found Ms. Sage’s original essay entry when she won the contest in 1993. You can read the original entry for the contest here:
Her essay used to be at this website, however she requested that it be removed. I printed it out before it was removed. At the end of her essay, she writes, “’Hope springs eternal’ so they say, and we have always dreamed of owning a place of our own. …” I added to the end of my essay, “Whoever is lucky enough to take on this endeavor, God willing, they are ‘always to be blessed’.”
Seeing how I didn’t even take a spot in the top twenty, my creative ingenuity didn’t grab the attention of the judges. I sure hope the winners are always to be blessed, and I am thanking God every day that I did not win the inn. He has a better plan.