We are Mark and Heather Zinkiewicz. Our “Island Innkeepers” story started a little over four years ago. We were feeling a little bored and looking for something new. An adventure. We had no idea the journey ahead of us.
Mark is a full time musician and a 100-Ton U.S.C.G. Licensed boat Captain and has the biggest case of wanderlust you can imagine. And as long as there are bars and/or water, he can find work anywhere, and that’s where he wants to go – anywhere! When we met, in 2013 (in land-locked Central Florida), I owned and operated a community magazine and a wine and cigar bar. I also had a son in high school. So, Mark’s wanderlust had to put on hold. However, circumstances changed quickly for us in late 2014. I had an offer to purchase the magazine and was burned out and ready to close down the bar, and my son had graduated high school and was now in college. Suddenly, we realized all of the things tying us down were gone.
As we idly tried to think of what we would like to do next… I discovered a website www.workingcouples.com. This site had job listings for couples all over the world. There were openings for everything from campground hosts, to traveling sales jobs, to running storage facilities or managing B&Bs or small motels. Of course, I immediately began fantasizing about running a small boutique inn somewhere in the Caribbean….
We didn’t find anything originally that really excited us, but I started randomly checking the site for new listings. One Saturday morning in October we were laying in bed watching tv, when I logged in again to see what opportunities might be waiting or us… low and behold we see a listing for a Lighthouse B&B on a Private Island in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. As I scrolled by – Mark starts yelling for me to go back. He has always wanted to live in a lighthouse. My first response was, “I’m not moving to Maine. It’s cold in Maine.” (I am a Southern girl through and through).
Becoming Lighthouse Island Innkeepers
He convinced me to go back and look closer at the listing and sure enough – it said it was only open in the summer. One look at the actual place and I was SOLD. The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse was the most beautiful place I had ever imagined. Within the next week, we had submitted our resume and had our first phone interview. By the end of November, we had been offered the position of Cuckolds Island Innkeepers (out of almost 300 applicants around the world). We were stunned and excited to begin this exciting new journey as Innkeepers at the Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse.
This summer of 2018 will mark our fourth year as the Innkeepers. We have enjoyed building unbelievable relationships with our guests, many who have stayed in touch, have come back each year, and some we have even visited in our travels or have come to visit us in Florida. Being island innkeepers has truly been an amazing journey… and led us to our next adventure.
In 2016, while at the Lighthouse, Mark decided to stun me (and most of our friends and family) with a surprise wedding… I’ll share more about that later.
Honeymoon in Panama
In December of 2016, we traveled to Panama for our honeymoon and stayed at a private island resort called Urraca Private Island, located in a mangrove in Bocas del Toro, Panama. This enchanting eco-lodge and its charming owner, Francine, immediately stole our hearts. After another return vacation in April of 2017, Francine told us she was looking for some help and asked if we might be interested in spending our winter in Urraca working with her as Urraca Island Innkeepers. We quickly agreed. How could we turn down living in a hut over the water in a Caribbean resort for the winter?
In December of 2017, we reported for duty. Our winters are now spent in a Caribbean paradise and our summers on an offshore island in Maine.
While being Island Innkeepers is something we never could have imagined for our lives, it is an unbelievable journey that we are thankful for every day. We sincerely hope you enjoy following along and getting a glimpse of our adventures, challenges, and experiences.