Photos and Description of this 3 bedroom holiday cottage in Spruce Head Island - Oceanview Island Classic
Charming and Unique 2 Bedroom 1 Bath 1920's Classic Ocean-view Summer Retreat
On the crest of the island, perched high over a ledge with an 80 foot drop to a classic Maine island harbor, this cottage is a little gem built in the 1920’s and carefully preserved in its original style and feel with a few welcome updates and added comforts here and there. It lets the outside in on every side, with the Ocean horizon and other islands framed between spruce and lichen-covered rocks to the East, South and West.
Spruce Head Island is connected to the mainland by a series of spectacular causeways. From the cottage it is a minutes’ walk to the working harbor immediately below, or a few minutes’ walk to a quaint marina to the North behind it.
You can walk safely everywhere—and with some discretion anywhere—on the island, whether along the shore below the High Tide Line, or through the woods, or along the many paths and quiet shared access roads that cross it and lead to one magnificent seclude spot after another.
In every direction you find amazing seascapes and hidden coves; quiet forests fresh with salt air; mosses and springs; roots of evergreen trees curled around boulders covered in lichen, often filled with migrating song-birds. There are breath-taking vistas everywhere you look; including scores of other islands within 360 degrees of the island you are on. Some of these islands are nearly within touching distance; others are far out to sea; yet others form the middle ground; it is like walking into a dream.
There are dramatic rocky ledges, idyllic nautical scenes and magical coastal experiences to be had anywhere you go, rivaling any location in the world, as the many international yachtsmen (and yachtswomen lol) here will tell you. Penobscot Bay and its surroundings is one of the great sailing grounds of the world, rivaled only by the Aegean and the Caribbean, and their equal in all respects. Spruce Head Island is a rare classic example of that rugged beauty of the Maine Coast in all respects. As it was tucked away and private, off the beaten track and known mostly to locals and old families, it has escaped random development, it remains unspoiled, stunning, and right in the heart of it all that famed beauty of the region, a step back in time to things that truly matter, and will now remain protected in future by each of the residents who love and cherish this place.
The cottage is nestled back from the quiet road (which has no outlet) on its own little commanding promontory, which, like the helm of a ship, enjoys a steep drop on two sides. This gives a wide open feel, unobstructed views of the island landscape with its variety of trees and the ocean and islands beyond, a cove nestled below. The eastern outliers of the village are almost completely tucked away below that drop and its trees, so all that you see is Nature to the East and South and the nautical activities of the fishing harbor to the South and Southwest only steps below the property.
More open water across the neighbor’s lawn to the West and Northwest; these are extremely quiet, friendly neighbors in attractive, newly remodeled shingle style cottages; to the North the setback to the road offers a charming landscape with rocks and trees down to the driveway (which is mostly composed of a very conveniently placed giant rock), with a handful of attractive shingled cottages set back discretely up and down that road. There is a great sense of privacy and the unmistakable feeling of having taken a step back in time.
This is the old, classic Maine coast known to painters and poets; to the old families that have summered here for generations, to local fishermen and to grateful transplants who discovered paradise and stayed. Sea breezes and the sound of bell buoys and fog horn and crashing surf dominate here; lobster boats and sea birds are the main traffic. You find yourself in a world apart as the island atmosphere drifts through the house and its setting.
The varied weather conditions, the unique, ever-changing light, each bring with them their own unforgettable mood. Low rapidly drifting cotton-ball clouds; ocean-breezes singing in the ancient fir outside the house; shining water, mysterious fog, the occasional storm, glinting sunrises and rainbow sunsets; at night, maybe even a lone fox on the rock-ledge lawn, with an impossibly large moon rising over the distant islands. All these seep gently into every room of the house, and hold the grounds in their embrace. A few minutes there, and the place will become part of you, and you will wish to escape back here summer after summer if only for a week!
The cottage has rough-hewn wood cathedral ceilings in living room, country kitchen, sunroom and master bedroom with Queen bed; a second cozy bedroom is perfect for children or two adults on comfortable single beds; the living room offers a full pull-out sofa for an additional couple or guest. All have original Ralph Lauren Home Collection linens and other appointments, designed by the man himself, which gives a welcome luxurious feel to the nostalgic rustic environment.
Antique Bokhara rugs hang on the beams in the living room adding to that feel, along with the Arts and Crafts furniture. Even the bath with shower has a view! A large table in the living room accommodates a generous group of diners, while the sunroom across from the kitchen invites intimate breakfasts, a table for two (or three), or a children’s meal, all with unobstructed views through a wall of windows; again with that priceless, timeless feel; letting the outside in. The yard is dappled and skirted with great coastal rocks and perennials amidst the level mowed grounds before and around the house; a wooden platform invites reading on classic Adirondack chairs, as does any area of the open lawn. A barbeque stove is available, as well as a table and seating for outdoor dining with optional umbrellas.
Spruce Head Island is considered a choice spot, even among the already spoiled summer guests and year round residents of mid-coast Maine; it is unspoiled and spectacular; yet it remains accessible. Other classic villages and old harbors (Tenants Harbor, Port Clyde, Rockport, Camden) are a short drive away, as is the charming and lively harbor town of Rockland (with classic and sought-after Rockport and Camden beyond) all with world-class sailing and dining; international yachts, classic tall ships, boat excursions, fresh sea-food; museums, many fine and fun shops, and ferries to the islands. There are excellent Gulf resorts both public and private; countless hidden coves and secluded beaches to comb; or endless hikes in the coastal mountains with their warm lakes and mountain streams to dip in. Acadia National Park is an easy day-trip away; our own coastal mountain parks can be seen from there, and lie a twenty minute drive away from the cottage. In the winter, you can ski at the Camden Snowbowl on Ragged Mountain with stunning views of the Ocean, or Toboggan in the National Toboggan Championships for a lark and a thrill.
Every season is magnificent, but none more special I think than early summer and early fall. Call or e-mail if you have any questions about the house, the setting or the greater area.
We bought this house in part in order to be able to protect it. Many such houses, very much like those that appear in Wyeth paintings, have been bought up and so heavily “renovated” that they were torn down to their foundations and rebuilt, to such a degree that even the original foundations are gone! Those foundations, as in this case, are made of rock, which in turn tread lightly and gently on the original rock ledge of the island.
The mosses and lichens that grow around it have been relatively undisturbed since before Contact with the Europeans that came to these shores. We delight in treading thus gently on this land; in the late 1890’s when my great Aunt summered in Southwest Harbor, and right through the 1920’s when this cottage was conceived by the grandparents of the woman who sold it to us, the prevailing “Shingle-style” in the region, which inspired everything from old fish shacks to grand “cottages” dominating the island and hosting the Great and the Good, all of these tread lightly as well.
You will thus not find the miniature equivalent of a New Jersey suburban McMansion here with gleaming granite counter-tops from Africa, air tight walls, commercial quality chef’s kitchens and shiny bathroom fixtures.
Instead you can leave all that behind and experience something much more fragile, romantic and precious. You will be tempted to read a book in the sun in a warm wooden; drink wine or tea in a little narrow sun porch; muse on a rock ledge; and leave the familiar and annoying things of this brave new world behind you for just a little while.
Our amenities include: a rustic kitchen with all you require to cook; a few additional goodies to surprise you; certain staples and spices; there will be cleaning materials for your own use (weekly maid service is included); a generous amount paper products of various kinds including toilet paper, bathroom tissues, paper towels and paper napkins; also a full complement (more than enough for eight people) of bath, hand, and beach towels, bathmats, wash and dish cloths and cloth napkins; table mats, table cloths, etc; everything you need for kitchen, bed, bath and summer outdoor enjoyment. We will have soaps, dish-soaps, liquid hand soaps; .some basic shampoos and toiletry items in case you forget yours. There is no washer and dryer, but there are wash-dry-fold laundries and Laundromats in town, the Clean Bee in Camden is wonderful but there are some closer.
There are Kayak and Toboggan rentals and boat charters we can advise you with, both public landing and possible marina access by request. Well-behaved pets are considered at the owner's discretion. A family planning an escape in the old tradition of summer in Maine, or a romantic couple, or a gathering of old friends, they all will love it here!
- Minimum Age Limit for Renters
- children welcome
- non smoking only
- pets considered
- wheelchair accessible
About Melody (& Michael) Talcott
For the past six years our primary residence was a boat in Boston Harbor, a 40ft live-aboard ocean-going Choey-Lee built Rhodes Reliant while Michael worked as senior IT infrastructure engineer for a Hedge Fund; now the boat is back in Maine, and will soon be at the marina on Spruce Head Island. When it is, guests will be welcome to hop on board!
We have been in the vacation rental business in this area since 2007, you are welcome to look at our other property in Rockport, Maine, a twenty minute drive away, a Post & Beam log house perched high on a coastal mountain shoulder with dramatic views of mountains and sea. We take pride in combining a rustic feel appropriate to the Maine Coast and its heritage of unspoiled authenticity with family antiques and a few comforts such as oriental rugs and good linens. Also, the houses we chose are in fact dream houses to our own family, primarily because they successfully let the outside in which provides an expansive feel and give us in each case the sense of being in a world apart, a very unique place. We have been very successful in this with our other house, which is always full in rental season, and very well received by guests. In fact we started laughing after the first seasons when we met each and every guest personally, about how many of them would say upon entering, “Oh this is even more beautiful than I thought it would be from the pictures!” We hope to receive the same response from people entering our newly-bought island cottage. You will have to tell us whether or not that is the case!
My job is to run the little vacation rental business we have. I also homeschool our ten year old son (in part in order to allow him to travel with me for his cultural enrichment); I am also a writer and I take various trips each year to support, work with and for (and learn from) Elders and representatives of First Nations/Native American Indian Nations; with issues concerning Indigenous Peoples, their rights, language, culture.
Melody (& Michael) Talcott purchased this cottage in 2013
Why Melody (& Michael) Talcott chose Spruce Head Island
We purchased the cottage last year, as we fell madly in love with it at first sight. It is not often these days that one still finds a completely unspoiled Maine summer cottage of the classic type, lovingly cared for by one family over the decades, and thus in excellent condition for its age.
Also, Spruce Head Island is unique! There are thousands of absolutely gorgeous islands out there, three thousand to be exact, and I have seen many of them when I worked on classic sailboats in 1996 and 1997. But this one is accessible by car, while still retaining much of the magic and unspoiled magnificence of these others.
When you step out of the car and onto the land that the cottage is on, you feel it immediately. The sounds, the sea breezes, the great rocks that form the backbone of the crest of the island, the sweeping views, the elevation at the very top of the island, the rustling trees, all of it will grip you immediately. When you step into the little wooden structure (all nine hundred and sixty square feet of it) you will go back in time.
The vestibule of dark wood smells of the past, of clean sea breezes and fragrant wood; as you step into the living-room, the central and largest room of the house, with its wood stove and oriental rugs, you are immediately thrust out into the view; tree-clad island landscape framing the islands and sea before you.
Again that sense of the past on the coast of Maine will grip you. You will find yourself in a living, breathing spots that lets in the environment yet stays comfortable and warm; a kind of place so unique these days, but of a type and feel that our ancestors enjoyed for generations. High ceilings, wood, light, and air, cozy chairs in which to spend a day reading, at night a bed tucked away into more natural wood scent and old fashioned windows that let in the sea and stars.
What makes this cottage unique
One of the many things we love about the place is the way it makes you feel embraced by its uniqueness. Such houses as this were once very common in the region, classic small summer cottages, but they are now increasingly rare. Where you do find them, they have often been gutted, or raised to the ground and rebuilt. We were extremely lucky, as the family of the original owners, who had and treasured the place for generations, is the one who sold it to us last year. For twenty years before that many of the families’ friends rented it by the week during parts of the summer when the owners no longer were able to come as regularly as they used to—their grandmother had died and the family dispersed, no longer spending long summers here—and filled guest-books full of praises which one day I will have these same people publish here. The former owner recommended that these people, so attached to the house, might continue to come, and they will.
The place is natural and splendidly old fashioned, authentic in its feel, with the exception of one or two minor outdated ‘improvements’ which we will adjust over time (we intend to touch it only with the utmost care when that time comes; I would like to replace some of the paneling, but delicately), it is not over-insulated and triple-paned; it still has its field-stone foundation! It is not fussy, overbuilt, sheet-rocked, or gleaming with shining granite from far-away Africa as so many places are nowadays where we have to spend our time. Instead, here, you live in the old way, with the charming imperfections of a slightly sloping floor in the sun-porch filled with light; a kitchen in which one of our grandmothers might have felt at home, especially in a little summer retreat; just as the family matriarch who designed and arranged this little piece of heaven did; I love the traditional color of the paint on the hardwood floor in the living room; it is a dark maroon, now partly covered with my own grandmother’s orientals