Have you ever visited a place that instantly made you feel at home? A place where your soul sighed with longing and your heart said, “Here. This.” I’ve been fortunate in my life to have found a few of those places: Islay. County Kerry. Tofino. Kauai. And now the midcoast region of Maine. We’d visited Maine before, many years ago. I think it was 2000, based on pictures I have floating around and how my hair looked. That is one of the interesting things about always changing your hair – you can look back through the years and figure out what time of your life something happened based on what hairdo you were sporting. And I’ve sported many. Anyhow, we spent four days in Kennebunkport in a tiny roadside motel. The lodgings weren’t important, but how we spent our time together was. It was our first big vacation with one another and it set the stage for our many travels to come. Fast forward to last year when we began planning our first Caudill / Taylor family vacation. Now that my sister’s kids are a bit older, we wanted to take a big week long trip together, and set our sights on Hanalei, Hawaii. We booked a big house a block from Hanalei Bay, and began anticipating all of the activities we would do while there. Would we rent a surfboard and try to teach Nora how to surf? Which luau would we go to? Would we brave a day in the car in order to take the kids to see Waimea Canyon?
Unfortunately about six months before our trip, we realized that airfare from Ohio to Kauai was going to be prohibitively expensive, not to mention the flight being quite burdensome. It’s no fun for two adults to fly with three kids from Cleveland, to Los Angeles, to Honolulu, to Lihue. We knew we still wanted to go on vacation together, but we had to look elsewhere – somewhere the Taylors could drive to. I really had my heart set on the ocean, so I lobbied hard for Maine. Eventually my enthusiasm won Jenny over and we began scouring the internet for every 4+ bedroom property that was within spitting distance of the water and wouldn’t break the bank.
Now, let me just say straight away, that it’s somewhat hard to find a large rental property that isn’t also very nice. For some reason, the larger the house, the nicer the furnishings. We are not precious people, and I didn’t want to be responsible for ruining someone’s magazine-worthy vacation home. Unfortunately, this ruled out a lot of properties in the Kennebunkport area because let’s be honest, those are some fancy mo-fos with a lot of money. We expanded our search north, settling on the midcoast region, specifically the Penobscot Bay area. Jenny and I spent hours going over the available properties with a fine tooth comb, reaching out to individual owners and rental agencies alike in an effort to find just the right one.
I don’t know if you know this – I certainly didn’t – but apparently Maine is quite the popular summer vacation destination. I think some people call it Vacation Land. This means that many of the best properties book up to a year in advance, and many of them are rented year after year by the same families, at the same part of the summer. We hadn’t expected that, so we were a bit bummed to find that many of our first choices were no longer available. Undaunted, we kept looking until one day we discovered a small village south of Camden called Port Clyde. It’s not a tourist destination, in the truest sense of the word. There are only a couple of restaurants in town, a general store (with one gas pump), an ice cream shop, and a kayak rental place. There are no shops carrying tschokies of any type, and you won’t find a ton attractions beyond the beach and the lighthouse. All that said, it was perfect for us because we were really looking for a location that would allow us to spend quality time together and to partake in some outdoor recreation. Our days were spent either at the beach, or at lobster pounds, playing in the yard, or kayaking in the harbor, while our nights were spent cooking lobster dinners, doing puzzles, and playing games on the porch well into the night. It was great to see my mom and niece get better acquainted with one another (she and Nora were practically attached to one another for the majority of the week), while I got many, many, many hugs from the sweet pea that is Charlie. Josh got to tell us all about his obsession with Transformers, specifically the Autobots. He is such a little boy in every single way. I don’t know that we could have found a more perfect house for us either. It was a rustic summer cottage, directly on the harbor, and there was nothing precious or fancy about it. I felt fine letting the kids be kids, and didn’t want to cry when mac & cheese found its way onto the floor of the kitchen. The number of bedrooms was perfect for a group of our size, and the fact that the owners added a second bathroom before the summer season started was just perfect. All in all, I would heartily recommend Marshall Point Cottage for any family trip to Maine, and if you’re looking for a relaxing way to get away from it all, the St. George peninsula certainly delivers, while still being convenient to areas like Rockland and Camden for shopping and dining. We’ve only been back for a few days, and I’m already seriously considering how we can go back for a visit, or more. I’ve started sending Alan real estate listings for seaside cottages of our own. I really think I could spend a long, long time in a place like that and be just fine with the state of the world. Something about it truly is magical to me. If you’re interested in seeing the full set of photos, please click here.