OAKLAND — Nicole Goodheart never saw herself as an innkeeper. Ron Goodheart certainly never envisioned living in the old house across the lake.

Yet, there they were on Tuesday, sitting with their two daughters and two dogs in the common room of the Pressey House two weeks into owning the bed and breakfast.

“I’ve literally fallen in love with it,” Ron Goodheart said. “This is the coolest, best thing we’ve ever done.”

Nicole Goodheart, 40, grew up in Oakland. Ron Goodheart, 41, is a Sidney native. They, along with daughters Callie Fowler, 18, and Riesling Goodheart, 7, were living in Freeport, but decided in the fall that they wanted to move closer to their hometowns.

With Callie set to begin her freshman year at Thomas College, moving back was timed well. Starting Sept. 1, they rented the ground floor suite of the Pressey House as a “crash pad” while surveying land across Messalonskee Lake to build a house.

“We vacationed here for a couple weeks in the summer and fell back in love with the lake,” Nicole Goodheart said. “It started out as just a temporary crash pad, and when the survey felt short and we weren’t happy with the results of it, we went to (the owners, Henry and Sharon Wildes) and had to make an offer.”

Henry and Sharon Wildes purchased the Pressey House in 2012. At the time, they were looking to live on the water and enjoyed the idea of operating the year-round B&B, Sharon Wildes said in an email.

A living area that features a wood-burning fireplace and a view of Messalonskee Lake is part of the historic Pressey House in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

The Wildes received a handful of bids on the property.

“When we realized that there might be offers coming in,” Nicole Goodheart said.

“That pushed us over the edge,” Ron Goodheart followed.

The Wildes went with the Goodhearts because of their local ties and desire to keep the Pressey House operating as a B&B. The Pressey House was built in 1850 and put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

“We chose them as they were a local couple who wanted to continue being stewards for this great historical home,” Wildes said. “Basically, you get to live in a beautiful spot on the lake and it pays for itself, and that’s what Nicole and Ron saw. I am looking forward to watching them put their own taste and vision into the property.”

In a twist of fate, the Wildes are renting the downstairs room that the Goodhearts once rented.

Nicole Goodheart, who has a background in management and entrepreneurship, and Ron Goodheart, who works in the auto industry, said they never once thought they’d be in hospitality.

A rock patio overlooks Messalonskee Lake at the historic Pressey House in Oakland. A dock and adjacent boat house are part of the property. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Callie Fowler, who is studying entrepreneurship in hopes of opening her own salon someday, can’t say the same of her parents. She remembers going to B&Bs with her mother on skiing trips and feeling a sense of belonging, especially when watching her mother.

“I was always thinking that this would be so awesome to have one,” Fowler said. “She has the creative aspect of the house to add the homey touches and her style.”

Nicole Goodheart’s Christmas decorating is in progress, most notably with a display atop the fireplace. She had a Halloween theme last month and plans to keep the accents up with the calendar.

The octagonally shaped Pressey House has five suites that sleep between two and four people. Fowler occupies one of the suites. The innkeeper’s quarters and Fowler’s suite are totally separate from the guest suites, which is an added plus for the family’s privacy.

The other three suites, which all have kitchenettes, are long-term rentals until May, which Nicole Goodheart said helps her find a routine and get her bearings as an innkeeper.

The Goodheart family also has two dogs, an 11-month-old golden retriever named Lulu and King, a 5-year-old German shepherd.

Ron Goodheart works as a vehicle wholesaler for his company, Belgrade Auto. Nicole Goodheart used to assist him in the business, but innkeeping has become her new full-time job.

A lighted sign marks the Pressey House in Oakland. The property overlooks Messalonskee Lake. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Nicole Goodheart starts her day early. She puts coffee out and starts a fire at 6:30 a.m. Breakfast is usually out between 7-7:30 a.m. Everything’s clean and changed over by about 11 a.m. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are plenty of health and safety regulations to follow.

“To say that I would be an innkeeper, especially during a pandemic, I never thought,” Nicole Goodheart said. “But everything made sense.”

For breakfast, there’s a prepaid menu with savory or sweet options. Sometimes, Nicole Goodheart gets an extra visitor for breakfast.

“I’ll surprise her and I’ll come and there’s fresh baked scones,” Callie Fowler said. “She’ll make vegan ones for me. They’re so good.”

Fowler comes for dinner once a week. Thomas doesn’t have a ton of vegan options. There’s never a bad time for your mother’s cooking.

“I almost feel like I’m a guest at the inn when I come,” Fowler said. “She’ll make me food, do the dishes and stuff.”

“That’s because she’s in college,” Nicole Goodheart countered.

Ron and Nicole Goodheart with daughters Riesling, 7, right front, and Callie Fowler, 18, front left, around the fireplace Wednesday at the historic Pressey House in Oakland. The property overlooks Messalonskee Lake. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Come summer 2021, peak season, Ron Goodheart plans to spend part of his weekends renting to guests the two boats they plan to purchase. He buys and sells cars at auctions and is gone all day Monday through Friday.

Nicole Goodheart said she loves the charming character of an older property, but Ron Goodheart is more akin to modern houses. Doesn’t matter. He’s cool with it all now.

“It’s been great because it’s kind of right in the central spot for where I do everything,” Ron Goodheart said. “It’s just nice to know how close I am.”

Riesling Goodheart, a second grader at Temple Academy in Waterville, especially looks forward to when other children come to stay at the B&B.

“Then, I actually meet people to play with because my sister is in college!” she said.

Nicole Goodheart said they’ll retire at the Pressey House. Ron Goodheart agreed.

“I can’t imagine not having this,” Ron Goodheart said. “This is going to be fun.”


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