At the same time Ram’s Head Inn owners Linda and James Eklund are preparing to sell the property they have owned and operated for 37 years, they are also preparing to reopen the business this spring.
The Ram’s Head is for sale with an $11.9 million price tag. The sale is being handled by Peter McCracken of the Corcoran Group.The iconic inn has 22 guest rooms, 15 bathrooms, a dining room seating 180 people and a bar area. The Ram’s Head sits on 4.3 acres of land that includes a tennis court, 800 feet of beach front property, eight moorings in Coecles Harbor and a dock. Corcoran could sell to a buyer interested in the entire property or it could be subdivided.
This winter, the Eklunds have been renting the inn by the day and weekend for groups of people, but as has been tradition, it is not fully operational during the cold months. If a buyer doesn’t step forward before warm weather arrives, the Eklunds are committed to continue to run the business until it actually changes hands.
“It will be full steam ahead,” Ms. Eklund said, noting she and James are already involved in planning for both the summer of 2017 and for the 2018 season. “James’ mother always said that you never count the till until the day is done. I won’t even begin to plan as the inn will be operating as usual until a transfer occurs.”
She also left the door open to be involved for a period even after the keys are turned over to a new owner, ensuring that weddings and other events the Eklunds have booked aren’t jeopardized and are executed smoothly.
The decision to sell was spurred by a desire to spend more time with their children and grandchildren. Both their daughter and daughter-in-law are educators with summers off and Ms. Eklund said an intense business like the inn eats up an enormous amount of time. When the Eklund children were growing up and especially when they were old enough to get involved with the business, it was different.
“We want to enjoy the beach, boating , picnics and all of those things that summer allows, and Shelter Island is perfect for that,” Ms. Eklund said. “I guess you could say that I want my job to be a grandmother. It has become my favorite job.”
She’s clear that she and her husband plan to call Shelter Island home forever. “The community is very important to us. We will never move away or stop volunteering here,” she said. Mr. Eklund continues as a partner in Reich/Eklund Construction and is a member of the town’s Waterways Management Advisory Commission. Ms. Eklund is vice president of the Shelter Island Board of Education.
The family has celebrated christenings, graduations, birthdays and holidays and also had memorial services at the inn, Ms. Eklund remembered. Young families who first came to the inn for vacations now have children of their own who have returned for their weddings and special events. Some staff have been with them for 23 years and others have come back to work from time to time.
“We will miss the camaraderie of those relationships,” Ms. Eklund said.