Matt Powell and George Trinovitch long dreamed of running a Maine bed-and-breakfast. But the 30-somethings from New York thought that wouldn’t happen until later in life. Then the pandemic struck and they thought “why not now?”
The pair recently saw their dream materialize when they became the new owners of the iconic Pentagoet Inn in Castine earlier this month. Now, they are drawing on Powell’s long resume in the restaurant industry and marketing and Trinovitch’s deft touch for interior design and art restoration to make a success of it.
The couple are the latest in a new crop of young business owners and families that have flocked to Castine during the pandemic, bringing a new verve to the small seaside community.
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“To have this new blood coming in is wonderful,” said Lisa Simpson Lutts, the executive director of the town’s historical society.
While there isn’t a solid count of how many families have moved to Castine in the past couple years, the presence of a new generation is noticeable and has brought a whole different feel to the town that residents have welcomed with open arms, said Lutts.
And it’s meant that historic businesses like the inn will go on. Built in 1894, the Pentagoet is Castine’s oldest summer hotel. These days, the wine bar is a favorite among locals and visitors, as is the pub.
Just down the hill, Max Katzenberg, a heralded former New York City restaurateur who relocated to Deer Isle with his young family during the pandemic, revived Dennett’s Wharf, a beloved waterfront restaurant in town.
Having two major community institutions like the Pentagoet and Dennett’s change hands represents a big shift in a town that only boasts a handful of businesses, but the northern migration of business owners has also extended past the hospitality industry.
In 2020, Troy and Cindy Dickens moved to Castine from Massachusetts and opened Tilth and Timber, an organic herb and vegetable farm. Troy Dickens, 37, admitted he hadn’t sought out Castine specifically, but the town had property that fit his family’s needs.
He, too, has noticed that a new generation has joined him in Castine.
“There’s definitely been a lot of exciting, new younger people in the community,” he said.
Like Katzenberg did at Dennett’s, Powell and Trinovitch promised that they would keep the Pentagoet’s spirit while elevating the experience for overnight guests and diners in the inn’s restaurant, wine bar and pub.
“Basically, it belongs to the town,” Trinovitch said. “We are very lucky to be the stewards. We’re lucky to be here, and we want to do some renovations and make it a little more our vibe, but still really respect the history.”
The couple, who are aided by their miniature schnauzer Mister and Powell’s mother Monica, have continued the tradition of live jazz on Monday nights. They also plan to bring back a full dinner menu in addition to tapas and are considering a breakfast option in the future.
In their first few weeks, people have been supportive. Trinovitch said they’ve come up and shook his hand and said they’re happy he’s there.
“It’s a testament to how much everyone in the town loves the Pentagoet, how excited they are to have more things to do,” Trinovitch said.
Beth Dickens, the president of the Blue Hill Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said there seems to be a lot of people moving to the area with the same mindset as Powell and Trinovitch.
“I think that we definitely have people who are going out and fulfilling a life goal that they really wanted to potentially do,” she said. “I think the pandemic sparked some people with that ‘what am I waiting for’ mentality.”