Four sisters (& a friend) enter hospitality biz as owners of Newfound motel

HEBRON — Four sisters and a friend, all with roots in the Weymouth, Mass., area, will be opening the newly-renamed Blue Moon Motel on the Mayhew Turnpike (Rte. 3A) on Memorial Day weekend.
''We used to rent a cabin on Newfound Lake every summer and all have strong ties to this area,'' says Mary Joyce of Thornton, oldest of the four sisters, who has been a resident of New Hampshire ever since 1980 when her husband took a job with the U.S. Forest Service in the White Mountain National Forest.
Joining her in running the motel will be her sisters, Therese Joyce, currently of Seattle, Washington, who is relocating to Boston, Mass. in June, Anne Joyce-Brandt of Weymouth, Mass., Melissa Keough, also of Weymouth, and a friend Jeanine Callahan of Weymouth.
''We knew it was for sale last summer and decided to take a look at it. We talked it over to see if we could run it as a collaborative venture and decided to buy it and continue to run it as a motel and see what happens,'' says Mary Joyce,
She is the person most familiar with the area, having served as the executive director of the Circle Program, which provides summer camping experiences for girls from at-risk families in the greater Plymouth area.
She says the sisters have all remained close over the years, taking ''sister vacations'' together and have a special affinity for the Newfound Lake area, where they have rented cabins for the past 20 summers or so for family gatherings.
''We're all keeping our day jobs but we're looking forward to the experience of running our own business together,'' says Anne, who along with Melissa runs a cleaning business in Weymouth.
The 10-unit motel will be open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day weekend and the sisters have been busy making improvements which will catch the eyes of their customers, including a complete repainting of all the rooms, as well as new carpeting, beds, bedding and mattresses and redecorating the reception area.
Formerly known as the Whip O Will, the motel was built in the 1950s as part of a much larger resort which had extensive frontage on Newfound Lake, where there were 32 full cottages as well as a full-service restaurant. The lakefront property and cottages were sold in the 1990s and that area now is a condominium development but the remaining 19 acres and motel located on the other side of the highway have been continuously operated as a motel.
The sisters says one advantage that the Blue Moon has is that it still has deeded beach rights on Newfound which will allow their guests access to the lake.
They already have strong bookings for Laconia Motorcycle Week and plan to be active in regional tourism groups and the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.
And they feel a special family connection to the resort, noting that a 91-year-old aunt, when she heard about the purchase, pulled out a postcard from her collection from the Whip-O-Will which had been sent to her in 1963 by the four sisters' mother.
The postcard said that they had had lunch in Bristol and stayed in unit #11, which is now the owner's quarters at the motel.
The sisters chose the Blue Moon name to give the motel a fresh start and said that the name comes from the date on which they signed the purchase agreement last year, which was on August 28, just when the second full moon of the month, known as a blue moon, took place.
''We're looking to continue a Newfound Lake tradition,'' says Mary, who notes the motel will be holding an open house later this month for the local business community.

Four sisters will be running the newly-renamed Blue Moon Motel, formerly the Whip-O-Will, on the Mayhew Turnpike (Rte. 3A) in Hebron. They are Mary Joyce of Campton, Therese Joyce of Seattle, Washington; Anne Joyce-Brandt of Weymouth, Mass, and Melisa Keough of Weymouth, Mass. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)