Winner due in Maine tomorrow to claim inn

May 18, 1993

Janice Cox of Queen Anne's County is expected to arrive in Maine tomorrow to take ownership of the country inn she and her husband, Richard, won Sunday in an essay contest.

The Stevensville couple's entry was judged the winner based on what it said about the couple's values and skills considered necessary to operate the inn.

Rules of the contest require that the new owners arrive within 30 days to take ownership. Mrs. Cox said she will be in Center Lovell, 55 miles northwest of Portland, tomorrow.

"My husband and I have talked about owning a restaurant or some kind of place ever since we've been together. Winning this is incredible," Mrs. Cox said.

The restaurant manager said she might not have entered the $100-per-entry contest had she not won $400 in the Maryland lottery soon after hearing about the Center Lovell Inn on the Phil Donahue television show.

"I'm kind of a tightwad, and $100 is a lot of money if you work hard for it," Mrs. Cox said.

A field of 5,000 entrants entered the essay contest hatched by Susie Mosca and her husband, Bil. They had run the inn for 19 years.

The Moscas read all entries and narrowed the contest to their 25 favorites. Three judges selected the Coxes as the winners. The runners-up were from Vancouver and New York.

The judges agreed that the Coxes have the skills and values necessary to successfully operate the inn. They "expressed strong family values, a working knowledge of the hospitality industry and impressive culinary credentials," one judge wrote.

Entries were limited to 250 words. The winning essay will be published in Yankee magazine.

The Moscas had said they would return the checks and keep the inn if they failed to get the 5,000 entries needed to raise the $500,000 they thought the 11-bedroom property was worth.

As it turned out, they got about 7,000 entries by their May 1 deadline. They said they decided to stick to the limit they had set at the outset and returned about 2,000 checks and essays.

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