Saundra and Eric Neperud moved from Montana to Maine to purchase Wiscasset Woods Lodge in December of 2015.
We met while working in Yellowstone when we were both going through a mid-life crisis. Before we met Eric was a high school math teacher in Tennessee where he lived with his first wife. I have a long and varied history. I’ve worked in environmental and elementary education. Through my work I’ve lived in over a dozen states, on both the Hopi and Navajo reservations, and in Thailand. This is my first time living east of the Mississippi. We never planned on owning a hotel, we kind of stumbled into it. I’ve written about how we ended up buying the lodge here.
We fell in love with the hotel even before we saw it in person. We loved the vaulted ceilings in the cottage rooms and all the woodwork throughout the hotel. We also were thrilled that it sits on 8 acres of woods. We’ve tried to bring that woodsy feeling into the rooms and the lodge.
We decided to offer a homemade breakfast to our guests. We always look for hotels with a real breakfast as it makes mornings so much easier if you don’t have to go out and find food before starting your day. Saundra has experience in commercial cooking and so we knew we could offer our guests a hot breakfast, we just didn’t know how popular it would become. Almost every review of the lodge includes our breakfast and we’ve started sending out recipes to our guests as we get so many requests for them.
Before we could cook for our guests we had to do some remodeling. Health laws have changed since the lodge was originally built and we would now have to have a commercial kitchen too us when cooking for guests and a personal kitchen for our own use. I spent our first winter working with our contractor to convert what had been the previous owner’s personal kitchen into a commercial kitchen and then build a second kitchen upstairs in our residence. If you ever want to bleed money I recommend constructing two kitchens at the same time.
While I was busy with kitchen construction, Eric was out in the snow building our 1/3 mile trail. When the snow melted we discovered he’d built it through a few muddy areas and so he had to reroute the trail right before opening. We love our trail and so do our guests. How many motels have a trail right outside your door?
During our first summer, Eric broke through the floor of one of our abandoned cabins. We decided it was time to either remodel them or tear them down. So our second winter was spent gutting and completely redoing the rooms. We needed pet friendly rooms that had more than one bed (as our three pet friendly rooms had just a queen bed which led to some interesting moments with people desperate for a hotel that accepted pets). We also needed a handicap accessible room. Saundra sat down again with graph paper and designed the layout for all the rooms. To have enough space for more than one bed per room we had to combine two cabins to create each of our family friendly cottage suites. Our contractor gutted and redid the rooms over the winter of 2016/2017. These are now some of our most popular.
Our newest project is developing our event space on the second floor of the lodge, above the dining room. This space will be perfect for writing workshops, cooking classes, or family reunions. We’ve already hosted a baby shower, business breakfast, and nonprofit social event. We’ve also developed an Elopement and Small Wedding package for people looking for an affordable and stress free wedding day.
But our story is just a small part of the history of lodge. The hotel has been welcoming guests to Midcoast Maine for over 100 years. Many of the rooms were originally built as cabins around 1915 when route 1 was developed to bring tourists to Maine. There was also a dance hall on a corner of the property that mysteriously burned to the ground. Read the full history here.
Be a part of our history. We look forward to welcoming you to our hotel.