Trish and Ken Mason are America’s only 9th Generation Innkeepers. Trish’s family has been innkeepers at The Seaside since 1756, nine generations going back to her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Jedidiah Gooch who bought the inn from a cousin.
As was the custom at the time, the Inn was passed down for generations to the first-born son. Four generations ago, the property passed down to a daughter and we saw the first name change from Gooch. Another name change occurred when Trish’s grandmother inherited the property. Today, the family name at the Inn is Mason, for Trish’s married name, her husband Ken Mason keeps the inn with Trish and carries on the family tradition.
Truth be told, Innkeeping on the Seaside actually dates back to sometime prior to 1660, when ferrymen where asked to reside on this oceanfront peninsula at the mouth of the Kennebunk River to ferry travelers across the River. 1660 is the oldest recorded document we can find of an Inn being located on the property.
John Gooch arrived in Maine in 1637, at the request of Fernando Gorges, agent for King Charles II to help settle Maine as a colony. John Gooch, Trish’s 9th great-grandfather (so in reality the Trish is a 12th generation Mainer) established the Gooches as central figures in what were to become known as the Kennebunks.
Trish first realized how deeply established her family innkeeper roots in Kennebunk were while she was in High School. She was reading “Arundel,” by Kenneth Roberts, and recognized several of the characters and her family’s property. “It was eerie,” recalls Trish.
While Ken was serving in the US Coast Guard, stationed in Jonesport, Maine, Trish’s parents, Mike and Sandy Severance, asked Trish if she and Ken would be interested in running the inn upon their retirement. Having grown up at the Inn, Trish knew the hard work entailed in running an Inn, but it was the warm childhood memories of life at Kennebunk Beach and sea that convinced her. The family legacy compelled her and Ken to continue the innkeeper heritage at the Seaside as well.
This unique and unrivaled story of nine-generations at The Seaside Inn also prompted Trish to write a book, The Seaside House, on the history of the Seaside Inn and her family’s stewardship of this special Maine Inn.
Ken and Trish now have two (future Innkeepers) children of their own and are proud to be keepers of The Seaside Inn and are proud to be Maine Green Environmental Leaders.
- An Inn Since 1660 (at least)
- Oldest Inn in the Country (to our knowledge*)
- Oldest Inn in Maine & New England (if above is true)
- Oldest Family Run Inn in the Country**
- Fifth Oldest Family Run Business in the United States**
- Forty-Sixth Oldest Family Run Business in the World**
*Please let us know if you are aware of one older. **Source: Family Business Magazine