New life for old home

Ken and Jenny Meis­ter have big plans — in­side and out — as new own­ers of Hol­man Homestead

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY NANCY MACPHEE

For Ken and Jenny Meis­ter, it is now time to get down to work.

The city cou­ple, own­ers of the Sum­mer­side Inn Bed and Break­fast, have pur­chased what they hope will be a se­cond suc­cess­ful busi­ness in the city.

This week, the Meis­ters of­fi­cially be­came the new own­ers of the his­toric Hol­man Homestead prop­erty si­t­u­ated in Sum­mer­side’s down­town.

“We are sort of in the hon­ey­moon phase. We are still re­ally ex­cited,” said Ken on Tues­day.

Late last year, the home, for sale for some time, was un­der the threat of de­mo­li­tion, with then owner, Kay Rogers, granted the per­mit by the City of Sum­mer­side.

“It tugged at our heart­strings. We ab­so­lutely loved the prop­erty. We didn’t want to see it torn down. We had looked at it a cou­ple of years ago and loved the house, but the price and the time wasn’t right for us,” said Ken.

Work has al­ready be­gun, with a well-drilling com­pany on­site Tues­day in prepa­ra­tion for the in­stal­la­tion of a geo­ther­mal heat­ing sys­tem.

Ar­chi­tec­tural plans still have to be pre­sented to the city for ap­proval and build­ing per­mits ob­tained be­fore the real work be­gins.

The P.E.I. Mu­seum and Her­itage Foun­da­tions has re­stric­tions in place as to what can be done to the prop­erty and must ap­prove any changes.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives have been on­site and “ab­so­lutely fell in love with our goals and ob­jec­tives,” said Ken.

“We don’t see them at all as an ob­sta­cle.”

Re­vi­tal­iza­tion plans in­clude knock­ing down walls on the main floor upon the city’s ap­proval to make way for an old­fash­ioned gen­eral store and ice cream counter.

“We hope peo­ple will be sit­ting in here and in par­lour ta­bles in the gar­dens,” added Ken.

“They will have a menu at their ta­ble that will share a lot of the his­tory and her­itage of the build­ing and about the Hol­man fam­ily.”

The gen­eral store will fea­ture a mix of new and old, with old-fash­ioned candy, books from Is­land au­thors and an­tiques for decor and some for sale.

“We would love to have the jars where you can get your penny can­dies,” said Ken.

Up­stairs, on the se­cond floor, three tourist suites will be made.

The Meis­ters, who ren­o­vated their award-win­ning inn to its cur­rent grandeur, plan to do the work them­selves, the cost es­ti­mated at about $130,000 with an­other $50,000 to set up the busi­ness.

Out­side, the cou­ple plans to breathe new life into what is the old­est English gar­den in North Amer­ica, and with the help of Jenny’s green thumb, they will have its splen­dour re­stored.

A space will also be made avail­able to the Sum­mer­side and Area His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

The Meis­ters hope to be serv­ing ice cream floats and greet­ing vis­i­tors by June.

“We want this to be a com­mu­nity gath­er­ing place where peo­ple will come, they’ll feel a bit of the her­itage of Sum­mer­side, they’ll be able to re­lax and re­mind them of the Sum­mer­side of the past,” said Ken.

“We know Sum­mer­side loves their her­itage and we know Sum­mer­side loves ice cream. It should be a suc­cess.”

NANCY MACPHEE/TC ME­DIA

Ken and Jenny Meis­ter are the new own­ers of the his­toric Hol­man Homestead prop­erty, si­t­u­ated in Sum­mer­side’s down­town core. The cou­ple, who owns the Sum­mer­side Inn Bed and Break­fast, is al­ready at work ren­o­vat­ing the build­ing into what will be a gen­eral store, ice cream par­lour and three tourist rental suites. There will also be a space for the Sum­mer­side and Area His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

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