Sunday, July 22, 2018

Business spotlight on Bear Mountain Inn by Michelle Libby searching for a place for a romantic getaway, family vacation or a location for a destination wedding, Brian and Julie Sullivan at the Bear Mountain Inn and The Barn in Waterford, have the tranquil, rustic chic setting for gatherings from one to thirty-six.

The Bear Mountain Inn is located just outside of the village of Harrison sitting amongst Bear Mountain and Bear Pond. The updated farmhouse is idyllic in its appeal.

“We’re a modern farmhouse, but keep the charm,” said Julie. Julie and Brian bought the property 15 months ago and have touched each part of the structure, painting, redesigning and perfecting it for the guests, highlighting the authenticity of the area and personality within. From the quaintest of rooms to the suites, the goal was to bring the outside in, and they have succeeded with barn-board accents, beautiful hues of nature, fresh wallpaper and special touches throughout. Of the 11 rooms, most have a view of the lake.

“This is a great place for those who want to get out of the rat race,” Brian said. The inn, barn and outdoor space has hosted family reunions, retreats, weddings of up to 250 and corporate gatherings up to 36 people, which is the maximum number of beds on the property.

The farm house originated in 1820 and in 1957 was owned by Oscar and Mary Andrews. Mary, 98, returned to the inn recently. She told the Sullivan’s about the history of the home.

One of the most used spaces is the elegant barn. The rustic structure with two ornate chandeliers is the perfect place for a wedding reception. This was the first part of the property that was renovated. The Sullivan’s bought the property in April 2017 and held their first wedding a few short months later at the beginning of June that year. Dogs are allowed in the barn for weddings as well as in a few of the suites, which provide all the amenities and space needed for a true Maine experience.

The two-story, vaulted ceiling post and beam accommodation called Evergreen, was built in 2003 and the Sullivan’s added an additional bathroom. The space sleeps eight people and has a full, top of the line kitchen. It has a two-night minimum.
Owners Brian and Julie Sullivan

The Sugar Maple Cottage used to be a shack to make maple syrup, however, it’s been converted into a quaint cottage with a fireplace and kitchenette. It also has its own private gas fire-pit overlooking the water.

“We’re in the field of hospitality. It’s all about the guest experience,” Brian said.

A garden shed used for help years ago, is now the massage cottage. The divine expansive outdoor space hosts a patio overlooking the water with a fire-pit and chairs set up for conversation. Closer to the barn is another patio area connecting the indoor space to the outdoors, with easy flow of gatherings. On the waterfront there are kayaks and canoes, paddle boards and docks. Throughout the property, there are places to sit and collect ones thoughts as well as ideal sites for wedding ceremonies.

The Sullivan’s knew they wanted to be in the hospitality industry, starting their search looking at RV Parks around the country. They spent 15 months traveling the country in a 40-foot fifth-wheel RV. Missing New England, they returned back to their roots to find the Bear Mountain Inn. “We fell in love with the property. We’re finding our niche here,” Julie said. “Fifteen to twenty years ago, we said we hope to retire in Maine, now we are lucky enough to have a business and be living in this beautiful state.”

“I like being party of a small town and small community,” said Brian. He believes in using local craftsman whenever possible. They carry Swift River Coffee from Raymond, mugs from Lynn Curran’s pottery studio and BeeKind Products that gives money to help the health of honey bees.

The inn serves breakfast from chef Terri, who makes homemade granola, bread, yogurt, fresh fruit, strata, any style eggs or creative breakfast sandwiches like avocado on toast with egg. Not to be missed are the French toast and blueberry pancakes.

“We like all the interesting people you meet. When we were closed a few months this past winter for renovations we said, we can’t wait to have guests again,” said Julie.

This coming winter will be their first open as it is now a year-round destination property.  The inn is 15 minutes from Shawnee Peak. It has 25-acres for cross country skiers and is a haven for snowmobilers, being right off a snowmobile trail. Most people stay for two or three nights at a time.

In 2019, Real Maine Weddings will give away a $100,000 wedding giveaway. The wedding will be held at Bear Mountain Inn and The Barn at the end of March 2019. They will be featured in a 20-page spread about the event in the magazine. Molly Breton will be the photographer.

The Sullivan’s also hope to put up glamping tents if they can get the permits. Glamping is a form of camping that is less roughing it and more glamorous than traditional camping.

For more information on the inn or to book the barn space, visit or follow them on Instagram or Facebook. Brides can find them on Wedding Wire or The Knot. Also, call 207-583-4404 or email to schedule a tour.

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