DOVER — A contest that could turn an essay writer into an inn owner was extended until Feb. 29.

"As we approached our deadline in November, we didn't have enough to make the whole thing viable," said Doreen Cooney, owner of the Deerfield Valley Inn. "There was a lot of renewed interest."

After the deadline. Cooney will decide if enough essays were submitted. If not, she will be refunding $150 to each participant. That is the fee for each essay she has to read.

The essays should address the subject, "This is my dream: To own and operate a Vermont country inn," in 250 words or less. They can be mailed to the inn at 120 Route 100, West Dover, 05356, or submitted digitally on

The Deerfield Valley Inn is described in a press release as a beautiful nine-room inn with a licensed restaurant. The ski resort Mount Snow is located approximately two miles from the inn, which was built in 1885 as a private residence. For over 60 years, the property has served as an inn.

Cooney, opting to get out of the business and retire this way rather than selling it, said a good amount of submissions have come in.

"Enough to make us believe that it could happen," she added, referring to the contest whose winner will inherit a building she estimates at $600,000.

Conventional methods to sell the inn were unsuccessful, according to Cooney, who previously said banks were not interested in financing hospitality services.


Whether the contest brought new visitors to the inn, Cooney was unsure.

"It could be that it has because some people ask us questions," she said. "But we are not really open to discussing it with anyone because we want to keep the field as level as possible."

If someone comes by with an interest in the contest, they are shown the public areas, meaning the guest sitting room and dining room.

"We're not giving them the inside scoop so to speak," said Cooney. "That's in an effort to be fair."

Contact Chris Mays at or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

A snow day at the Deerfield Valley Inn.
A snow day at the Deerfield Valley Inn. (Submitted photo)