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Maine Essay Contest Inn

If owning a lakeside bed and breakfast is your dream, here's your chance. For just $125 and a 200-word essay, the Center Lovell Inn in Maine could be all yours.

Innkeeper Janice Sage is running an essay contest to select the new owner. It's kind of a tradition. In 1993, Sage became the owner of the inn by winning a similar contest.

Sage isn't giving up the bed and breakfast for nothing. The property and building are valued at $905,000, and she expects to collect at least that much money from the entry fees.

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In fact, Sage will return all the money if she doesn't receive at least 7,500 entries. That many entry fees would give her about $938,000. She pledges to give the winner $20,000 to get them started.

The Center Lovell Inn has seven guestrooms, two dining rooms, and a screened-in wrap-around porch. It was built in 1805 overlooking the White Mountains and is less than two hours from Boston and a little over an hour from Portland, Maine.

The essays must be about why the contestant wants to own the inn. And keep it short, it must be less than 200 words. Entries have to be postmarked before May 7, and the winner will be chosen before May 21.

Sage will select the top 20 essays and turn them over to two judges who will pick the winner. The judges won't have a vested interest in the business, according to the contest rules.

CNNMoney (New York) First published March 13, 2015: 6:36 PM ET

The owner of a bed & breakfast in Maine is handing off her property to whoever who writes the best 200-word essay and submits a check for $125.

Janice Sage first came into possession of the Center Lovell Inn in 1993 when she won an essay contest set up by the owners at the time, Mental Floss reports. But now, Sage is ready to retire—and pass on the property much the same way she came about it.

Sage told the Press Herald: “There’s a lot of very talented people in the restaurant business who would like to have their own place but can’t afford it. This is a way for them to have the opportunity to try.”

The business-savvy Sage is not doing this without cashing out. She hopes to get over 7,500 contest entries, which would mean she would collect $900,000— the price at which real estate agents in the area say she could expect to sell the property, according to Mental Floss.

Entries must be postmarked by May 7. The winner is expected to be announced on May 21st. There’s more information on the contest’s website here.

The Professional Association of Innkeepers International says that the bed & breakfast industry is estimated to be worth $3.4 billion, with as many as 17,000 inns in the U.S. The average daily rate for a room is $150, according to the association’s website.