New keeper at the inn in Gorham

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Kathy Powell is the new innkeeper at Gorham's historic PineCrest Inn on South Street.

Kathy Powell is the new innkeeper at Gorham’s historic PineCrest Inn on South Street.

GORHAM — The new owner of historic PineCrest Inn bed and breakfast took over in mid-December and says she is so busy she’s still living out of boxes in the innkeeper’s quarters.

“I dove headfirst into the holidays,” Kathy Powell said last week. “I haven’t unpacked.”

Powell said the inn at 91 South St. was filled through the holidays.

Powell bought the property on Dec. 14 from Matt and Amy Mattingly. The Mattinglys, now living in Cape Elizabeth, took over PineCrest in 2005. A troubled relationship developed between Matt Mattingly, a former town councilor, and town officials. Mattingly once filed a lawsuit against the town in a code dispute about replacing a hood over a kitchen stove.

Powell said she has met with town officials. “They were very welcoming to me,” she said. “It needs to heal with the town.”

The inn was built as a private home in 1825 and transformed into an inn in 1993.

Powell relocated from Highlands Ranch, a suburb of Denver, Colorado. She grew up in Indiana and has also lived in the Washington, D.C., area and Florida. She has traveled extensively through Europe.

She had long dreamed about owning a bed and breakfast, Powell said, and visited Maine last June. She looked at inns in two other communities, but liked PineCrest’s location, citing its proximity to downtown Portland,  the airport and the ocean.

“I could see myself here,” she said.

Two days before New Year’s, she was turning people away, she said, noting she has already had some interesting guests.

One was a local couple who checked in over the holidays. Powell told them they looked like they were running away from home, to which they replied, “We are running away from home,” because their house was filled with family.

Another guest asked if he could watch TV elsewhere in the inn because he had been kicked out of the room by his wife, who didn’t want to listen to a ballgame.

Powell was greeted in Gorham early on by a blizzard and rude temperatures that she said dipped to 22 degrees below zero. Pipes to one guest room froze and she was busy installing insulation.

She has already upgraded internet service and has some redecoration plans for the inn.  “We’re going to renovate the kitchen,” Powell said. “I love to cook and entertain. I’m going to make this place smell and taste good.”

The inn serves a “hearty” breakfast to guests, but Powell said she doesn’t plan on running a restaurant.

She already has bookings for May when the University of Southern Maine holds its commencement and as far ahead as August and September.

Bookings have kept her hopping, Powell said, adding, “I’ll feel better when I can unpack.” 

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or rlowell@keepmecurrent.com.