Twelve years ago, Neil and Sheila Blake of Boothbay, Maine, built their dream home on a waterfront field where he played as a child. They designed their year-round, expandable three-bedroom cape on Hodgdon Island to take advantage of the views of Sheepscot Bay and the channel to the Sheepscot River.
Now the couple, who are in their early 60s, want to downsize and move into nearby Boothbay Harbor. They have their 1.38-acre Boothbay property with 165-foot water frontage, a dock, a ramp and float, the home, an attached two-car garage and a separate studio with a garage on the market for $725,000.
“We’ve lived in several homes around the area, and we always wanted to have a covered porch where we could sit out in any weather,” says Neil, who grew up on Hodgdon Island and co-owns Blake’s Boatyard on Boothbay Harbor’s West Cove with his two brothers. “We spend a lot of time on this porch watching the boats. And the sunsets are spectacular.”
Their home’s traditional front entry opens to a broad foyer leading to the centrally located waterfront living room and porch beyond. Throughout the house French doors, birch flooring and accents of beadboard paneling provide the country ambience the couple desired. In the living room, light streams in through the waterfront windows and a fieldstone fireplace makes the room cozy. “We have a fire often in winter,” Sheila says. “We love burning wood” (which they may cut from their own wood lot).
Behind the fireplace wall, in the master bedroom, a bay window offers views of their 38-foot 1966 Chris-Craft cabin cruiser, dock, mooring and the bay beyond. The compartmented master bath has twin vanities.
Sheila’s business office, where she creates gemstone jewelry, is off the bedroom. In one corner, stairs access the unfinished 32- by-60-foot attic, which has a full-size window on each end.
“There’s plenty of space and height here to build a room,” Neil says. “It’d be easy to add dormers. The view is amazing from the roof where they would go.”
Off the opposite end of the living room is the kitchen. An extra-wide, Corian-topped breakfast bar separates a waterfront dining area from the food preparation area, which is lined with appliances and pickled birch cabinets. The adjacent formal dining room overlooks the front gardens Sheila nurtures on the rocky slope.
Beyond the kitchen is the den, which has a waterfront bay window. Down the hall are a guest bedroom, a full bath, a garage entrance and a laundry. Outside, the south-facing patio forms a winter outdoor retreat. “Here we have a beautiful water view and we’re protected from the north wind,” Neil says.
The couple hosts lobster bakes outdoors, or in bad weather in the concrete-floored aboveground walk-out cellar. “There’s lots of room for kids to play in here, and even the furnace room has a water view,” he says.
The lower level also has a guest bedroom with a full bath and a separate outside entrance.
The detached studio with a finished one-car garage adjoins the gravel driveway, only steps from the house. Sliding glass doors in the studio open to their wooded side yard, which is laced with walking paths Sheila cleared.
Over the years she transformed their yard into a series of terraced perennial gardens, seating areas and grassy paths sloping down the granite ledges to the water’s edge. She planted many specimen trees, which now screen the house and shelter the sitting areas. “I love planting trees and watching them grow,” she says. “They make the yard so interesting. I hate to leave here. I love it so much.”
Neil keeps his boat, which originally was his father’s, in front of the house at their floating dock (2.5-foot depths at mean low water) or mooring.
The Blakes’ dock is about half a mile from the broad Sheepscot River, a mecca for sailors, powerboaters and kayakers. The shoreline is dotted with islands, guts, bays and coves both upstream (even beyond Wiscasset) and down to the open Atlantic 15 miles south.
“There’s lots of anchorages and marinas within easy cruising distance,” says Neil, who has been a boat nut since his childhood days at the boatyard his father founded in 1951. The couple often boat to area restaurants, and they have cruised to Somes Sound, Northeast Harbor and other Down East ports.
Their vinyl-sided house has a well, hot water baseboard heat, domestic hot water off the oil-fired furnace and a private septic system. Another full bath or a one-bath cottage can be built because the Blakes hold a septic system permit for four bedrooms. Annual taxes are about $4,900.
By road, Boothbay Harbor’s supermarket, shops, banks, postal and medical services are less than four miles away. About 15 miles north is U.S. 1, which connects to I-95 and Portland, Maine.
Carol Buxton, of West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, (207) 633-3515, exclusively lists the property, which can be viewed at www.duPontRegistry.com.
February 2014 issue