Why would you like to own and operate an inn located in Ogunquit, a coastal town in southern Maine?
If you have a compelling enough answer to that question, you could become the proud new owner of the Almost Home Inn, a B&B with five guest accommodations for rent. The inn will be awarded to the winner of a contest in which applicants respond to the prompt above in an essay of 225 words or less. If there's a catch, it's this: Each essay requires an entry fee of $110.
“We decided to offer Almost Home Inn in an essay contest to someone who could also cherish this charming bed-and-breakfast,” Innkeeper Jacqui Grant writes on the website announcing the contest. "The Inn rests on approximately a 1/2 acre of manicured lawns surrounded by lush trees and beautiful flowers. It also features our beautiful stone patio where breakfast is served daily.”
Grant writes that, after ten years on the job, she’s ready to retire from being an innkeeper. She was inspired to hold an essay contest to find a new owner, she says, by the 1996 movie "Spitfire Grill," in which a cafe in Maine is similarly offered up as the prize in an essay contest.
While the contest is indeed an opportunity for a talented and enterprising aspiring innkeeper to get their hands on an inn to run for the low price of a $110 entry fee, it's is hardly an act of pure munificence. Under the rules of the contest, the owner has the option of calling the whole thing off and returning entry fees if fewer than 8,000 entries are received, meaning Grant won’t be forced to part with the property unless she takes in at least $880,000. That’s well above last price the property fetched—$605,250—and above Zillow’s current off-market value estimate of $550,419.
Fortunately for anyone who feels especially inspired by this opportunity, there’s no cap on the number of entry essays any single person can submit—just so long as each one is accompanied by that $110 fee.
This isn’t the only such contest offering homes as prizes. In fact, win-a-property sweepstakes have gained a certain popularity of late. Just last year a century-old home in California was given away in a contest seeking the best dessert recipe.