An Irish-born owner of an historic Vermont inn is holding an essay contest to determine who will be the next owner of the 9-room country inn.

Contestants must submit an essay, 250 words or less, on the theme “This is my dream: To win and operate a Vermont country inn.” There is also a $150 dollar entry fee.

Doreen Cooney, a native of Kanturk, County Cork who emigrated to the US in 1971, owns the inn in partnership.

Cooney, a former employer of Bank of Ireland in New York, has run the inn for 17 years and has decided at 63 she wants to take a step back.

The contest is approved by Vermont authorities says Cooney and they are hoping for up to 4,000 entries. An official adjudicating group will pick the winning essay.

"The winner willl end up paying only $150 for the inn says Cooney, it is a great opportunity"

That lucky winner of the contest, which is open to anyone 18 years of age or older worldwide, will be granted ownership of the Deerfield Valley Inn located in the Mount Snow area of West Dover, Vermont.

“While a great many people are interested in the B & B lifestyle, many have difficulty financing their dream. The essay contest allows dreamers to realize their dreams, and the winner of the contest would win the Inn for what amounts to the price of an overnight stay or dinner for two,” said Cooney.

The inn, which was built in 1885 as a private residence, is on the National Register of Historic Places and has operated as an inn continuously for over 60 years. The inn is located only two miles from the Mount Snow Ski Resort, and antique shops, art galleries, and wineries are available in the area.

Essay submissions must be received by midnight on November 20.

The top 25 essays will be submitted to a panel of three independent judges who will select a winner, first runner up and second runner up. The winner will be contacted by November 30 and the transfer of ownership of the inn will take place within 45 days. The runner up will be awarded ownership if the winner rejects the prize.

Doreen Cooney, owner of Deerfield Valley Inn in Vermont.Doreen Cooney/Deerfield Valley Inn