California family buys historic coastal Maine inn

Posted April 06, 2017, at 12:58 p.m.

BRISTOL, Maine — The Bradley Inn at Pemaquid Point is under new management.

Tony and Laura Moskwa, formerly of Auburn, California, and their son, Ross Moskwa, are the new caretakers of the 19th-century inn. The inn has 16 rooms in the main building and four rooms in other buildings. The inn also features a 75-seat restaurant, The Chart Room and The Slippery Hitch Pub.

For the better part of the last two years, Tony and Laura had actively searched for an inn to buy.

“We were both getting tired of the corporate life and wanted to do something together,” Tony said.

Tony, an analytical scientist, had to travel 3½ hours to work and would only return home on weekends. Laura’s job as a consultant working with small-business owners had her flying across the country.

“There were times where I was flying out every single week and constantly staying in hotels,” Laura said. “It was time for a change, and this is something we’ve always wanted to do together.”

The Moskwas’ idea of working in the hospitality industry actually has its roots in Lincoln County. In 1988, the couple and their daughter, Jessica, visited New Harbor and fell in love with the area.

“At the time, we were saying how much we would love to live here and own a business, like a bed-and-breakfast. And now, here we are, 30 or so years later, and we’re coming back and we’re buying an inn,” Laura said.

“Our kids have been out here many times with their grandparents. Back Cove was practically their playground growing up,” Tony said. “Ross even said it’s like he’s coming home.”

When their search started two years ago, the Moskwas had two requirements. They wanted to find an inn with some property to allow for a garden, and the inn needed to have a food component for Ross to work as a chef.

The couple made offers on inns in Maryland and Vermont, both of which fell through.

“I kept saying, ‘the third time’s the charm,’ and then we found the Bradley,” Laura said. “I think we all agree the other two were meant to fall through so we could come back here.”

The Moskwas purchased the inn from husband-and-wife team Warren Busteed and Beth Polhemus, who owned the Bradley Inn for 20 years. The Pemaquid couple also runs The Contented Sole, at the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site.

“For the last 13 years, we have operated two busy restaurants and we hoped to relax the pace and spend more time enjoying our summers,” Busteed said.

In their search for the new owners, Busteed and Polhemus hoped to find qualified people who were as enthusiastic as they were. The Moskwas fit the bill, bringing diverse skills to the inn.

Busteed and Polhemus will continue to run The Contented Sole and live in the area for the foreseeable future.

“Warren and Beth have been just fabulous to work with. They’ve been so forthcoming with information and willingness to work with us,” Laura said. “They will still be in the immediate area, if we have any questions.”

The Moskwas closed on the property on March 30, two days before the inn opened for the season.

“We’re jumping right in,” Laura said. “Typically it tends to be a bit slower in April, so that will give us a chance to get our feet under us.”

For the time being, the new owners don’t plan to make any major changes.

“For right now we’re going to try and run it as they have for the past 20 years,” Tony said.

“We have to learn it,” Laura said. “You can’t come in and make changes without understanding how everything works.”

The staff at The Bradley Inn will all continue to work under the Moskwas, including chef Florin Ungureanu. Ungureanu and Ross plan to keep the menu the same and rotate specials.

In the future, the Moskwas hope to plant a garden and incorporate a farm-to-table element into the food served at the inn. Other plans for the future include an expansion of spa services and midweek programs and classes.

“We really would like to grow The Bradley Inn as a destination, and make it as warm, welcoming and comfortable as possible,” Laura said. “That’s one of the reasons it was so appealing to us in the first place.”

For more information about the Bradley Inn, go to bradleyinn.com or find The Bradley Inn on Facebook.

 

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