Couple Renovates Iconic Inn
IN OCTOBER OF 2018, Casey ’05 and Ellen ’17 Reynolds purchased an idyllic slice of land on the Maine coast. This particular slice, just outside of Camden and abutting Camden Hills State Park, sits on the edge of the ocean and has long been an iconic destination for a steady stream of summer visitors.
For more than 80 years, the Beloin family owned and operated several small cabins and a shoreside motel on the property. The Reynolds had been looking for a business opportunity in the area, wanting to take advantage of Maine’s dynamic tourist industry, and relished the “challenge of creating something new and beautiful out of something old and lasting,” says Ellen.
At the time of the purchase, Ellen was staying home with two sons while Casey was working as Chief Engineer for the O’Hara Corporation’s fishing vessel Araho in Alaska. With only a few months until the beginning of their first season, the family threw itself into the work of renovating the property.
“Because of their age and proximity to the ocean, the buildings required significant repairs,” Ellen remembers. “We knew we were getting ourselves into a big challenge, so it hasn’t been too shocking, but it has definitely been quite an undertaking.
“We worked around the clock and we were a little crazy for a while—repairing the buildings, figuring out our inventory, and taking reservations for the coming season.”
In the end, all the hard work paid off and the Reynolds celebrated the opening of Drift Oceanside Inn in May 2019. While Casey (an MEO major at MMA) continues to work aboard Araho, Ellen manages the inn’s day-to-day operations, putting her International Logistics Management degree to good use. And, now that the season is fully underway, the family has “settled into a comfortable rhythm of focusing on creating happy vacations” and enjoying their new roles.
“It meant a lot to Casey and me to honor and respect the history that came with this place. Of course, we are adding our own touches and making changes where they need to be made, but we want those who have come for years to still feel as welcomed and at home as they always have,” Ellen says.
“Drift provides a quintessential Maine experience,” she explains. “It provides time to slow down, take walks in the woods, gather shells on the beach, and watch ships pass by. It’s very reminiscent of days gone by, and somehow allows people to shake whatever life stressors they may be feeling at home.”
In honoring the property’s legacy, the Reynolds have created a bright new future for their family, for their business, and for the future guests of Drift Oceanside Inn.█
—By EMILY BAER
Photos: courtesy of Casey & Ellen Reynolds