Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 23, 2019
Innkeepers find new endeavors after 21 years
The Manor Inn changes ownership
Nancy Watson and Tom Ehrman have owned and operated The Manor Inn for the last 21 years. The couple stepped down last Tuesday.
by Monique Labbe
Owning an inn is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week undertaking, and after 21 years of owning The Manor Inn, Nancy Watson and Tom Ehrman have sold the business and decided to move on.
“It’s physically demanding, you don’t ever really stop,” said Ehrman. “You’re never really away from it.”
“Even on vacations, you’re still answering emails, talking to brides, taking reservations,” added Watson.
The couple bought the inn in 1998, a time in their lives they both called serendipitous. They had visited Castine six months prior, before the inn was for sale, and Ehrman said he fell in love with the town. When the inn did come up for sale, the couple jumped.
“I said ‘well I don’t know how I’m going to buy this, but I’m going to buy this,’” said Ehrman.
After three months of developing a business plan, Ehrman sent it to a friend in Ireland, who marketed it around to a few business associates. From there, Ehrman was able to secure enough private funds to purchase the business.
Over the 21 years Ehrman and Watson have owned and operated the inn, known locally as The Manor, they have done a number of renovations and additions to make the place their own. When they purchased it, the pub overlooked Battle Avenue, and the dining room was very small.
“The first time I ever went in there, it was winter, and the pub felt very cold. I thought how nice would this be if there were a fire place, like the old English pubs,” said Ehrman.
The pub was relocated, the dining room bumped out for more seating, a couple more rooms were added, and a cottage was built to house summer workers, many of whom came from Eastern Europe. A barn was also built on the property with insurance money after the 2007 microburst took out a playground area.
“I think we’re very proud of the work we did there, and what we added to it,” said Watson.
“One of my favorite things was sitting in our office [with Nancy] during an event and just hearing people enjoying themselves and knowing we were a part of that,” added Ehrman.
The business officially changed hands last Tuesday, and while the couple said the transition over the last week has been a bit surreal, it also feels like it is what should be happening.
The couple sold the inn to Will and Simone Cosgrove, who come to Castine from Washington state.
“I think we’re both ready for something else,” said Watson.
That something else has come in the form of a German company called Geovital, a company focused on the dangers of radiation to the human body.
Watson, who Ehrman referred to as a “health nut,” is a life coach and yoga instructor. She said that through her coaching research she came across a doctor in Mexico named Jack Cruz, a surgeon focused on the dangers of radiation. The couple visited Cruz, and after spending a week on the beach there became interested and began taking classes after discovering Geovital.
“We are bombarded by invisible radiation and our bodies are designed to be run by sun and electric fields that earth provides,” said Ehrman. “There are tons of medical research that shows causation between man-made radiation and health problems.”
The couple is also working on getting their home in Penobscot finished so they can move into it, a project that has taken more time than anticipated to complete. They are currently living in a home next to Fort George but will be moving out by June 11.
“We’ve had friends tell us we can stay with them, so we won’t be homeless,” said Ehrman. “But we are definitely anxious to get in our house.”
A party for Watson and Ehrman was held at the Castine Golf Club on May 20, to congratulate them on their time at the inn and wish them luck in their new endeavors.