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Lime Rock Inn
96 Lime Rock Street
Rockland, ME 04841

Frank Isganitis & P.J. Walter

The Lime Rock Inn, listed on the National Historic Registry, is a beautiful turreted
Victorian mansion that stands out as a graceful example of Queen Anne
architecture. It features two front parlors, spacious guest rooms and an inviting
wrap-around front porch, and is located within strolling distance to the historic
Rockland, Maine downtown and the renowned Farnsworth Museum.  The Lime
Rock Inn has 8 guest rooms decorated with a close attention to period detail.

In the quiet season, (mid-October through mid-June) room rates range from $110
for standard to $155 for the premier rooms per night (double occupancy). Mid-
June through mid-October room rates range from $125 to $215. All rates include a
sumptuous breakfast ranging from old classics (such as eggs Benedict, buttermilk
pancakes and Belgium waffles) to the adventurous (such as wild mushroom and
onion frittatas and breakfast turnovers).

Innkeepers, Frank Isganitis and P.J. Walter call themselves “recovering corporate
refuges” from New Jersey who now consider this lovely part of mid-coast Maine
their home. The Heart of New England spoke with Frank about the Lime Rock
Inn, and why the couple decided to break with their fast-past urban life to settle in
Rockland, Maine.

(Editors Note: My husband and I stayed at this inn during the Rockland’s Annual Pies on
Parade.  It was elegant and romantic; the rooms spacious and well-appointed; and the
innkeepers were warm and welcoming. Added bonus is that the inn is walking distance to
everything in town. Thumbs up for Lime Rock Inn from The Heart of New England! ~
Marcia Passos Duffy, Publisher & Editor, The Heart of New England.  See story:
Pies on Parade.)

Can you tell us a little bit of the history of the Lime Rock Inn?

The LimeRock Inn was built in 1890 for U.S. Congressman Littlefield (the mirror
that still stands in the hallway was a gift to his bride). Originally a 5-bedroom, one
bath house with servant’s quarters, the house principally remained a private
residence until 1994 when it was turned into Rockland Historic District’s first bed
and breakfast. We say “principally” because the home was purchased by Dr. Oren
Lawry in 1949. For almost 50 years, Dr. Lawry operated his medical practice in the
home. Even today, lifetime Rockland residents still refer to the LimeRock Inn as
“Dr. Lawry’s house.”  The Grand Manan room, the inn’s premier guest room was
once Dr. Lawry’s examining room. Dr. Lawry retired and sold the home in 1994.
Kathy and Jerry Dougherty of North Conway, NH found it and decided to convert
it to a B&B to save it from the demise of deterioration or conversion to apartments.
In partnership with a local couple, the home was updated creating the LimeRock

What did you both do before becoming innkeepers?

I was a commercial lender and a banker for 18 years.  P.J.
worked for non-profit agencies.  We both changed jobs
in 2004 in hopes of finding better opportunities, but
neither of us found our new positions to be exactly what
we had hoped. We both came to the conclusion that was
life outside New Jersey, and when we were looking for
a new place to live we both said “Maine” at the same time,
since we had vacationed there for many years (P.J. had
gotten his undergrad from the University of Maine and
his parents had recently settled into retirement in the
mid-coast region).  So, we sold our house in New Jersey,
and in the process of looking for a new home we started
looking at bed and breakfast properties, and seriously
considering our new career as innkeepers.  

What made you interested in buying this particular property in Rockland,

The Lime Rock Inn was not the first B&B we saw – we looked at over 30
properties, including a 13,000 square foot sea captain home on Penobscot Bay,
which we actually put a bid on. The deal fell through in the counter-offer stage,
but that turned out to be a blessing. Today that property is a destination event
center, with lodging as a secondary business.  For us, we truly wanted to be
innkeepers – with an emphasis more on lodging than primarily food service.

We closed on the property December 2004.  We were fortunate that the Lime Rock
Inn was already an established B&B (it had been converted to an inn 10 years
before).  It was tastefully redone and very homey, which appealed to us.  We
wanted to create a place where people would feel that it was their home away
from home.  We often say to our guests that we are curators in a living museum
that is not behind the ropes.

Did you do any renovation work at all?

We purchased a turnkey operation as far as room design and furnishings so there
was not a lot of work to do. This allowed us to focus on the details of the rooms,
like adding hair dryers to the rooms, adding shelf space and cupboards in the
bathrooms.  There were some big-ticket maintenance items we had to address –
like restoring the old slate roof to a tune of $40,000 and some basic rewiring work.  

Tell us what its like living at the Lime Rock Inn.  What is your favorite room or
spot in the house?

I have to say we love Rockland…we like to say
we’ve found paradise!  One of the reasons we
wanted to live in Maine was to live on
a waterfront community.  While the home itself
is not on the water, you can see the harbor from
anywhere in Rockland.  There is something
rejuvenating and peaceful about living near
the water that naturally takes away stress.  

We live in the carriage house on the property. Having a separate dwelling is not
only great for us, but beneficial to the guests.  A common gripe among B&B
guests that doting innkeepers hover over them.  While we don’t want to
compromise service, we do understand and value just letting our guests “be.”  
After owning a B&B for several years we have become very good at evaluating
how much attention guests want and need.  We are willing to step back if guests
want to be left alone to do their own thing.  For us, living in the carriage house
allows us to do that.  And, it gives me peace of mind to have my space defined
from the “big house” next door.

My favorite spot in the house is the front porch.  It is a little slice of heaven on our
property. The front porch is shady, inviting, and a place to watch the world go by,
or curl up and read a book. Modern houses are built with decks and fences
around the back yard.  This is reminiscent of a bygone era when people sat on
their porches and talked to their neighbors and watched people stroll by.

What else makes staying at the Lime Rock Inn unique?

Once you walk through that front door you’ll feel like you’ve been transported
back in time, but with a modern level of appointments in all the rooms.  Each of
the rooms is uniquely decorated and laid out, so there are 8 different experiences
with each of the 8 guest rooms. Our most popular guest room is the Island
Cottage Room, since it has a private entrance.  

We also have an old butler’s pantry converted into a guest pantry – with a desk
set up with computer solely for guests’ use with easy Internet access.  WiFi
network is available for people who bring their own laptops.  The guest pantry
also has coffee maker, fridge stocked with snacks and soft drinks – and a
restaurant guide and sample menus.  

What kind of specials do you have for your guests throughout the year?

We have specials for every season, including:  Quiet Season, Quiet Season
Museum Package, our “Lighthouses, Lobsters and Luxury” package, “Seniority
has its Privileges” packages, “Festival of Lights,” “Pies on Parade,” “February is
for Lovers” and the “Annual Chocolate March.”  We also have an Elopement,
Commitment Ceremony, Small Wedding Packages.

Perhaps for all these reasons, the LimeRock Inn was chosen by BedandBreakfast.
com as one of the Top Undiscovered Inns for Romance in 2005.

When is the best time of year to stay at the Lime Rock Inn?

Year round! To be honest, would say June, because the weather is warm, we’re
past Memorial Day so a lot of the local attractions, boats are in the water, the
lobster  momentum of the summer has not quite taken hold and the town is not
inundated with tourists.  But summer here is exquisite!

Please tell us a little about your area.

The best part about being in Rockland, Maine is the proximity to the water – there’
s kayaking, schooners, ferry rides to Mohegan and other islands. Rockland is a
perfect base to make excursions to other parts of the mid-coast. The town has
undergone a cultural renaissance that has attracted top-notch chefs.  This is a
small town and there are 6 culinary chefs!  We like to say that in Rockland the
worse you could get is a good meal.  We recommend Primos to our guests, a little
oasis of a restaurant on the edge of town.

What are some “can’t miss” attractions in your area?

Breakwater Lighthouse, Owlshead Lighthouse, Farnsworth Museum, Owlshead
Transportation Museum, Island Institute (nonprofit entity, to promote and
preserve a way of life on the remote islands in Maine).  

I would highly recommend
Captain Jack’s Lobster Boat Adventure.  He is a
licensed lobsterman that was injured on the job who takes tourists on 2-hour
excursions to learn what lobstering is like.  Short of buying a license and lobster
boat – it is closest you get to a real lobstering experience.  
LimeRock Inn, Rockland, Maine
Innkeepers and carriage house residents, PJ & Chance, Frank & Rascal
LimeRock Inn
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