The new owners of the Squire Tarbox Inn on Westport Island have renovated the historic building inside and out and are excitedly welcoming customers for their first season in business.
The building dates to 1763 and bears the name of Samuel Tarbox, a prominent early resident of the island. Tarbox bought the building from John Parsons in 1806. The inn is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The most recent owners, Mario DePietro and his wife, Roni, had operated the inn since 2003. After 15 years, they decided to retire from the inn and live in their private home on the island.
The DePietros put the inn and 12-acre property on the market, and it caught the eye of Lisa Dalton, a designer and contractor in Houston, Texas.
Dalton’s friend of 20 years, Michelle Adams, also of Houston, had recently left a career in the petrochemical industry and was considering what to do next.
Dalton called Adams and asked if she would be interested in a joint venture, a big project in Maine, the purchase of the Squire Tarbox Inn. Adams had never been to Maine before, but jumped on the opportunity.
Dalton and Adams flew to Maine three days before Christmas in 2017. They walked the property, liked what they saw, and made an offer the next day on their way back to the airport.
The contract was signed on Christmas Eve and the sale closed in mid-February. The friends bought the inn under the name Lismi Joint Venture LLC.
Since February, the inn has undergone a transformation, including exterior and interior painting. The inn’s 11 bedrooms each have a new private bathroom and new bedding and linens.
The new owners said they were at a point in their lives where they wanted to try something different and new. “The inn is already a special place,” Dalton said. “We want to bring it up to date, but still keep the warm historical feel intact.”
The two owners have been traveling between Westport Island and Houston since February to prepare for the inn’s summer opening. They welcomed their first guests a few weeks ago, a group of six people from Europe who came to the island for a family wedding and stayed nearly a week.
The inn is not in full service yet. The restaurant will open next year. Farm-to-table events are planned for this summer and fall, beginning in August. Details of the farm-to-table dinner are available at urbanhearth.net. This year the inn will host special events, such as private parties, family reunions, weddings, and other community events.
The historic 1820s barn on the property is undergoing renovations to become a venue for weddings, receptions, and special events, and will include a large deck overlooking the rolling fields and stone walls toward the back of the property.
A farm-to-table meal scheduled for the Fourth of July has been rescheduled for Aug. 10. The inn’s Monday and 30Thursday pizza nights, popular among guests and locals alike, will continue.
Liz Miller will continue on as the innkeeper. Miller, from Kansas City, was also the innkeeper for the DePietros.
Guests will enjoy breakfast with fresh muffins and scones, as well as eggs from the 50 chickens on site. They can enjoy a cocktail at the bar. Other features include a venue for weddings and receptions in the historic barn, which boasts a 40-by-30 deck overlooking rolling fields.
According to the new owners, they will arrange activities outside the inn for guests, including kayak tours with a local historian to Native American oyster middens, boat cruises from a nearby launch to Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown, lobster bakes, bicycle rides around the island, and a hike of the nearby preserve at Squam Creek.
Guests will also have the opportunity to hang out with the inn’s pet Nigerian pygmy goats, twin sisters Abbie and Ellie; Ellie’s son, Blaze Butler; and two new baby goats, Bean and Beaumont.
The innkeeper greets guests at the door and, the new owners say, aims to ensure their stay will be an experience they tell their friends about, and one that will make them want to come back.
For more information about the inn or to make reservations or schedule an event, call 882-7693 or go to squiretarboxinn.com.