GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 18, 2013

Rockport inn's sale tied to becoming residence

ROCKPORT — The Seaward Inn bed and breakfast complex will shut its doors Sunday, with plans to convert into a residence.

The Seaward Inn has been family owned since 1945, when it started off as a cottage. As years passed, it then grew into a sprawling inn across Marmion Way, enlarging to 36 units.

Current owner and Innkeeper Nancy Cameron-Gilsey, now 61, said that after her parents died in 2003, she bought the property and its then-23 units from her sisters.

“It grew to across Marmion Way, but it has been shrinking ever since,” she said.

In 2007, four of the 23 units were sold and turned into condominiums. Cameron-Gilsey said that was a necessity — she could not afford to buy the entire lot.

The Seaward Inn is coming full circle. Another family has agreed to buy the property, the deal is expected to be finalized in November and the doors are closing Sunday, she said.

As part of the process, there will be a yard sale in the dining room from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday.

The decision to sell was not an easy one; Cameron-Gilsey said it was a combination of rising maintenance costs and wanting to try something new.

The process has been bittersweet, she said she’s sad to leave but happy the process is moving along. One portion of the property may be maintained and rented out, motel style.

The family aspect of the Seaward Inn was not limited to the Cameron-Gilsey line.

“It’s amazing to me how much people have cared about the inn and loved it,” she said. “People feel like it’s family.”

She said she was blown away by the quantity of responses she has gotten to the inn’s news; many have written in with favorite memories.

The family that has agreed to buy the property can only move in if the Board of Appeals signs off on a zoning change, allowing the main building to be used as a private home rather than an inn or restaurant.

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