We just returned from a vacation up in Castine, Maine. I’ll have more to say about the wonderful time we had on vacation, but before I do, I just had to write a review of the place at which we stayed because it was remarkable and the rest of the world needs to know about it1.
Castine is a small village in Maine, located on the eastern portion of a peninsula that juts out into the Penobscot Bay. We–and by we I mean Kelly, myself, the Little Man and the Little Miss–stayed at a rental cottage that seemed perfectly situated, with the mouth of the Bagaduce river spread out in front and a long dirt road, like the tail of a yawning lion trailing behind. The owners, Bob and Sam Friedlander, live in the house just across the driveway from the cottage. They rent out the cottage in the summer months, when the weather in this part of Maine is at its best. And it is no surprise that the cottage is booked for most of the summer because it is the perfect vacation spot for families looking for a quiet, small town setting with lots of activities for adults and children alike.
The cottage itself is built into a converted garage, although you wouldn’t know it from the inside. Walking into the cottage you find yourself standing in and entryway that overlooks a rustic, comfortable living room and dining area, surrounded by windows that look out onto a river sprinkled with sailboats, moorings and lobster traps.
The living room contains a wood-burning stove, although in July and August, it is unlikely, you’ll need it. Nor do you need air conditioning. Open the windows and let the fresh cross-breeze cool the rooms. Those breezes are like the trade winds in Hawaii. The cottage is stocked with books, games, and maps. There is a television in the living room, although I doubt you’ll ever need to turn it on. And for those who simply cannot completely disconnect from the world at large, there is even wireless Internet access.
The cottage comes complete with a kitchen, stocked with dishes, silverware, to say nothing of a refrigerator, microwave and range. There is a dining area surrounded by windows, and plenty of space for a family to gather for meals.
Rounding out the first floor of the cottage is a bathroom with a shower, and a washing machine and dryer for laundry.
Upstairs are two good-sized bedrooms. One bedroom has two twin beds, the other has a queen bed. Both rooms are large enough to accommodate cribs, pack-n-plays, or inflatable mattresses if your numbers exceed what the beds themselves hold. The sloped ceilings of both bedrooms look out toward the river through large skylights that can be opened to allow the breeze to cool the rooms during the day or night. Off one bedroom is a balcony that sits shaded under the branches of trees, with a small table and chairs for relaxing with a view of the river.
The nights in the cottage are serene and silent, with only the occasional ribbit of a frog from a nearby pond or rumble of summer thunder shattering the peaceful darkness.
And as I said, there is plenty to keep you busy. Out in the dooryard are four colored Adirondack chairs looking out over the water, perfect for reading, watching the activity on the river, or just watching the clouds float by.
Envious of the activity on the water? Kayaks are available for heading out on the water yourself. There is a short wooden staircase leading down to a rocky beach, as well as a wooden ramp and winch for making it easier to get the boats into the water. When the tide is in, the water comes right up to the foot of the steps. When the tide is going out, it takes only minutes to row your way to the town dock.
The town of Castine is a short walk (or even shorter bike ride) away. Or, as I said, you can kayak into town, tie up, and try some soft serve ice cream at the Breeze on the Castine waterfront. There are numerous little shops to peruse, as well as the oldest continuously operating post office in the United States. There is a golf course nearby as well as several excellent local eateries. What’s more, Castine is only about 40 minutes from Bangor and about an hour to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.
If you are looking for a quiet, place to stay, well-equipped for families, with plenty to do nearby, you can do no better than this rustic cottage in Castine.
- Fair warning: the cottage owners are family, but I’ve never allowed that to preclude an honest review, especially when the experience was as grand as ours. ↩