Monday, April 26, 2010

Why Maine Lobsters and Lodging?

Hello readers -
Welcome to the story of Maine Lobsters and Lodging! About 65 years ago my parents were married and the first place they lived as a couple was Bath, Maine. I could have been born there but for some reason my life in Maine would start a bit later. My dad was stationed at Bruswick Naval Air Station and each day hitched a ride to the base from Bath. My mom remembers helping to care for the children in the home where they rented a modest room. My grandparents as I recall, made annual trips from Pennsylvania to Maine and returned to visit us in New Jersey with maple sugar candy, pine needle-stuffed pillows to freshen our drawers of clothes, and wonderful photos.

As I grew up I always wanted to see Maine but was destined to spend my summers on the Jersey Shore - an adequate substitution for a young child I suppose. When I was out of college and off teaching high school in NJ I took up skiing and found many a weekend trek to Maine to be much fun. Imagine driving from central NJ to Sugarloaf on a Friday night, skiing Saturday and half of Sunday and then riding back to NJ in time to teach classes on Monday morning. I believe I was more interested in winters in Maine than whether or not my Monday morning classes would be engaging for my students.

When my master's degree was almost completed I saw that a position was open in Maine at USM-Gorham. I applied and was invited for an interview. While my classmates thought I was crazy to head so far north to teach, I was excited at the opportunity to live and work in Maine. My interview was a typical Maine experience. I flew into Boston and it was too foggy for flights into Portland so passengers were bussed to Maine. I couldn't see anything throughout the ride and awoke the next morning to an equally dense fog. While I met my future colleagues and had a great campus visit, I just could not see anything of Maine. In the end, it just didn't matter - I wanted to be there and the opportunity was wonderful.

Two years in Portland-Gorham and lots of ski time at Sunday River kept me happy in my early career. Lobsters and treks along the coast, midnight runs to LLBean, and mountain adventures made for a wonderful experience. When I left for graduate school in the midwest I knew I would want to return. Well, careers have a way of twisting and turning and fast forward many years since 1980.... world travel, living and working in China, accomplishing much in my professional career, adopting a wonderful daughter from China, writing and editing books, and providing support for orphans.... it's retirement time! And with that, I can help my daughter plan for college and I can plan for my return to Maine.

Along the way I thought an ideal place to be would be a small town in Maine along the coast - a place where I could get to know people and enjoy time there. I started thinking about a place to live and that turned into a quest for a lodging property to purchase. While the first attempt to secure a purchase of a desired property didn't work out due to the local banks and economy, I was able to gather some exceptional friends to join in the process and purchase what we will call Bay Leaf Cottages and Bistro - 2372 Atlantic Hwy, Lincolnville ME.

This blog is about us - the trials and tribulations of starting up and reviving a resort property in Mid-coast Maine. What happened with the bank anyway? How did property #1 fall through at the last moment? Why we're happy with property #2 anyway. Who are our investors and why are people from China coming to Maine for their vacations? What challenges have we faced in rennovating a house that's 150 years old? What are we serving at our Bistro? Where are we eating in the region and better yet - what is there good to see and do and why? Who are these Midcoast Mainers and what have I learned from them?

These questions and a whole lot more will soon be a part of this blog. Please join us on our journey! Come join us at Bay Leaf Cottages and Bistro!! We have 12 cottages and 9 motel rooms all being rennovated starting next week - we've even brought a Design Challenge to Maine! 14 winners of an interior decorating constest have redesigned our cottages and motel rooms to make them more suitable for family travelers, couples/partners, and even your loving dog! See for more info! Stay 2 nights and get 2 free lobsters! We're cooking up a storm on Wednesday and Saturday nights too!

Jane in Maine