RANGELEY — A historical inn in downtown Rangeley is once again a prominent landmark on the town’s Main Street.
For the past 13 months, owner Travis Ferland has worked to “preserve it while, at the same time, elevate it to the standard of what guests and the community expects,” he said.
The benefits of his efforts and investment are being realized as guests discover newly renovated rooms and wings.
“It has been busy and is going very well,” he said, while mentioning plans to keep growing. “We’re now planning to bring in more bus tours, corporate retreats and weddings.”
Ferland purchased the inn last summer, bidding $800,000 during a bank auction, he said. The bank had owned the inn for about a year and it remained open, he said.
But it needed a lot of work.
Ferland has invested a substantial amount to put in a sprinkler system, renovate wings and rooms to create suites and larger rooms with two beds, he said. Everything has been brought up to standard code requirements. The exterior received a new coat of paint.
“There’s all sorts of stuff still to do,” he said. “More rooms will be renovated next spring.”
Ferland considers hiring a staff of people who live in local communities an important ingredient to the inn’s success.
While other similar businesses often hire from outside, Ferland realizes the plight of the economy and is committed to hiring his 12 to 18 seasonal workers locally, he said.
“It is a really great town with great people,” he said. “Hiring a crew from the area shows in the service they provide to guests.”
The tavern also boasts a local, talented chef, Jim Fargo, he said. The dining experience is open to the public not just guests.
The inn is located on the original site. The main section is 106 years old, he said. The age of the tavern section is being researched.
It has a long history, including a town fire and many owners over the years. It remains a “landmark, welcoming guests to the village of Rangeley,” according to the history on the inn’s website.
While leaf peepers have found their way to Rangeley this fall, Ferland and his crew are also looking forward to the snow and ski season. The inn is adjacent to snowmobile trails and Haley Pond, on which a pond hockey event is held in January. The inn hosted part of the Snodeo this year.
Ferland, 33, is continuing a lifestyle he knows well. He grew up in the hotel industry in Ogunquit. His parents developed a resort property where they also lived and he worked most of his youth, he said.
After earning a degree at Boston College, he spent two years in the Peace Corps working on tourist development in West Africa, he said.
He managed his parent’s property till they sold it and then moved to New York City to work for the International Rescue Committee for two years. He also earned a master’s degree in international affairs.
But he tired of living in the city.
“I just really came home to Maine,” he said. “Within two weeks, the inn went up for auction. It was the right time. It has been difficult and stressful at times, but I’m happy and have no regrets.”
The Rangeley Inn and Tavern closes November to Dec. 6 and again from April to Memorial Day.
More information is available at www.therangeleyinn.com.