Tarry A While's History
Tarry-A-While has a wonderful, rich history. Since the late 1890's Tarry-A-While has taken in "Summer Boarders" from the city. It started when Forrest Abbott moved from Harrison to "the ridge" to build a large elaborate house for a wealthy women, Mrs. Sanders from Providence, Rhode Island around 1891. He and his wife were then living in the white cape, located at the top of the drive to the left. After a party at the big house in 1884 the house burnt to the ground and Mrs. Sanders sold it to Forrest. Around this same time Forrest's parents Charles and Sarah Abbott, living in Harrison were lonely, so Forrest tore down their house and rebuilt a new house for them in the pasture behind his home. The house, which is now the Inn, was too big and Sarah began to take in boarders, however, soon the care of the house became too much for Sarah. Forrest noticed people flocking to the ridge to spend their summers and Forrest renovated his parents’ house to fully suit the summer boarders around 1909. It was in 1910 that the guests named it "Tarry-A-While." Forrest and Lizzie ran Tarry-A-While for the next 30 years until 1940 when their son Arnold and his wife Ethel took over.
Arnold and Ethel were now the third generation of the Abbotts to run Tarry-A-While. During their 26 year tenure, many of the outer buildings were constructed. The Social Hall entertained guests and locals with weekly socials, poetry readings and musical performances. Four of the five cottages were constructed. The "Abbott" Cottage was where Arnold and Ethel lived during the season. The boathouse (now privately owned) was renovated into a bathhouse for guests to change into their bulky swimwear. Three meals were provided and many guests spent the full summer and came year after year having the same room each season. Children were not allowed to stay the night so if you had a child you had to find them a place to board with a family close by. Meals were served at the same time each day and the guests sat at the same tables year after year. New folks were welcome to Tarry-A-While only with a letter of recommendation.
In 1966, Tarry-A-While was sold to the Jenni's. Hans (from Switzerland) and Barbara (from NJ) had found their way to Bridgton in the 50's when Hans became the first Ski Instructor at Pleasant Mountain. Unlike their predecessors they had no experience in running a summer hotel. They broke new ground at Tarry-A-While. Opening the property to the public and opening the "Stubli Switzer Restaurant". During the next 27 years they made many modern improvements to the "resort". Hans built the Jenni chalet and put in many private baths and the first air conditioning units in Bridgton!
The Stretch family came on the scene in 1994. Nancy (Nan) was born in Bridgton and Hans Jenni taught her to ski at Pleasant Mountain (now Shawnee Peak). Marc, originally from NJ, found Maine (and Nan) by attending Fryeburg Academy. They were vacationing on Highland Lake when Tarry-A-While was advertised for sale in the paper, fell in love with the property and became its stewards for the next 19 years. The Stretch's maintained the property to the highest standards and raised three wonderful children here, all while preserving the tranquility and charm of Tarry-A-While. In 1997, they built the beautiful post-and-beam home on the hill above the Inn, with Marc hewing all the beams himself.
In 2013, Dan and Roseana Richards purchased Tarry-A-While from the Stretch's. Dan is a Bridgton native (and grew up with Hans and Barbara Jenni’s sons) while Roseana grew up in Woolwich, Maine. They moved to metro Atlanta after both graduating from the University of Maine as Mechanical Engineers, but would return to Bridgton each summer to spend time with family and friends. Dan’s older sister, Donna Cotton, also a Bridgton native, serves as innkeeper and provides the special attention to Tarry-A-While guests that they so cherish. Dan and Roseana have made many improvements to the resort and plan to make many more but rest assured that Tarry-A-While’s natural beauty and charm will stay as unchanged as possible.