Located about 2/3 of the way down Westport Island, this cottage is two miles off the main road at the end of a country lane, where the only sounds are the cries of birds and the muffled engines of lobster boats making the rounds of their traps offshore. A family of seals sometimes hauls up on the rocks of Willis Point a few hundred feet away. For a feeling of complete calm and solitude, start your day sitting on the Adirondack chairs on the front terrace sipping your coffee while watching the ripples spread on the bay (as the fog burns off, you will often spot eagles and ospreys) – and end it sipping a glass of wine and watching the sunset turn the water pink and orange.
If you want action, the attractions of Wiscasset (1/2 hour) Damariscotta (40 minutes away), or Bath (1/2 hour) are of world-class interest. There is always the lively waterfront at Boothbay Harbor or the L.L. Bean outlet in Freeport less than an hour away. For every taste or age group there’s more than plenty to do, from the fish ladder to the Indian shell midden, to the antiques shops, house museums, or the Maine Maritime Museum; excursions of all kinds are available nearby, off- and on-shore ones, from cruises to group paddles. As far as dining goes, a list and descriptions of some local restaurants are available at the house; you certainly won’t be disappointed here!
Local dining is good, and getting better all the time. Our favorite restaurant in Bath is Solo Bistro. And in Wiscasset, Le Garage has a great setting, and The Little Village Bistro has a great chef, although the modest building is deceiving. Don’t miss Treat’s, on the right on main street in Wiscasset, two blocks up from the waterfront. And Red’s Eats, on the left just before the bridge, has the reputation of having the best lobster rolls in Maine – and it does! Of course the best dining, ambience, and service can be found right down the road at the Squire Tarbox Inn. You will need to call for dinner reservations: 207-882-7693. On Monday evenings only, their wood fired, homemade pizza, made as you wait, is absolutely delicious. Call first to let them know you’re coming (5:30 to 7:00).
Long sandy beaches in the vicinity are Popham Beach on Phippsburg, and Reid State Park on Georgetown Island. Also, Pemaquid beach has sand like fine, white power. For fresh water swimming, we enjoy Sewell Pond, on Georgetown Island; access to a more private swimming place than the short stretch along the main road is accessed off Old Stagecoach Road, which runs along the far side of the pond and is a short hike in at the marked trailhead.
There’s plenty of entertainment in the area if you want to shift gears from the peacefulness of Westport Island to various types of popular attractions. In Damariscotta, visiting the great Whaleback Midden is a fun activity for all; it will amaze you when you read its history and connection with local Native Americans. The nearby Round Top Farm has an ice cream stand that will make your hair curl; don’t miss it! The Bath Maritime Museum in the town of Bath, with its varied campus of exhibits and demonstrations is fascinating; take one of their cruises on the Kennebec River (“The Seven Lighthouse Tour” is our favorite). Also, don’t miss the “Snowsquall” exhibit in one of their many exhibit hangers. In Boothbay Harbor and surroundings you can find all the activities of a dedicated tourist mecca – boats to Monhegan Island, seal and other nature cruises, lobster boat cruises – as well as lots of fried food restaurants, bars, galleries and shops. Take note that there are also some good nature preserves with scenic walks, and an Arboretum in the vicinity. If you want to kayak, there’s a good rental place next to the car dealership out at the intersection of 144 and Route 1; they will give you pointers and safety tips for exploring the area by water. There is a good launching spot up the island at the end of Ferry Road.
If you’re explorers by nature, and prefer to stay far from the crowds, just set out with a picnic and visit some of the nearby towns, villages and islands. Poking around in the Maine countryside, and making your own discoveries, is one of life’s greatest pleasures, in our view. Don’t miss Alna and Head Tide, as well as Damariscotta Mills (personal favorites) but you can’t go wrong by just wandering. Simply sitting and reading or writing or relaxing and enjoying the view isn’t a bad way to spend your time either, after you have taken stock of your tranquil surroundings.
One of our sons commented: “This place has a cleansing atmosphere, good for quiet meditation and clear thinking… but it’s a great house for a birthday party, too…”