Ahh…the simple life of an innkeeper. Well maybe not so simple these days with social media, online reservations, website updating, conferences, webinars, the list goes on. So let me tell you a story of a couple of innkeepers of yore. Their names were Maryline White and Louise Shangle, partners in business and life. They owned a house on Goose Rocks Beach on the ocean in Maine. Many friends came to visit being that they loved to cook and entertain and the location was grand. So they say one day,”why not open for business, share our lifestyle with guests?” So they did and The Snow Goose was opened.
Maryline now lives in Oregon and just celebrated her 90th birthday. Unfortunately Louise passed away a while back. Rick knew Maryline and Louise when they had a small restaurant in Carmel, California. They moved there after closing The Snow Goose. The two of them were very adventurous and nomadic for a while! Rick bused tables for them when he was in junior high school. They eventually moved back to Goose Rocks Beach and when Rick and I vacationed in the area and eventually moved and opened our bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport we reconnected.
I recently called Maryline and asked her a few questions about her and Louise’s experience as ‘simple innkeepers’ in the early 1960s.
Q What are your memories of the worst guest?
A I don’t think we had any bad guests. There was one that was unusual, he would bark at our two Scotties, maybe trying to communicate with them? They would just bark back. They had a great conversation.
Q What did you do to market your inn?
A My career in NYC was advertising and PR and Louise’s was graphic arts. We purchased a mailing list of companies related to these two fields and sent out mailings. Then we had these cards printed and distributed them in the tourist centers. That was about it in those days, but it worked. We would also make friends with the other innkeepers in our area. The Colony Hotel would send us people who didn’t want to pay their rates. We would also send people to The Colony who we thought would not be happy with our type of lodging.
Maryline wanted to say that she is still actively organizing and promoting. She started a ‘Poetry Jam’ at her senior living center where she lives. She says, “We keep it simple, no rules, just don’t recite for too long so you won’t embarrass yourself. It is a very popular event, in our first session we had over 40 attendees.”
Reading their clever ad says it all. You know exactly what kind of experience you will have at The Snow Goose. Can you imagine taking a reservation on a party line? Do any of you recall what a party line is?
Well I’m not going to make this a long blog, just going to keep it simple. But first a line from the song ‘Give Me the Simple Life’, words and music by Harry Ruby and Rube Bloom.
‘A cottage small is all I’m after
Not one that’s spacious and wide
A house that rings with joy and laughter
And the ones you love inside’
I believe this is what The Snow Goose was all about, simple hospitality from the heart. Thank you Maryline and Louise for your memories.