Christmas Cove

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Locals come together to buy Maine marina

Locals come together to buy Maine marina

A quintessential marina in Maine is up and running, thanks to a group of investors who refused to see their local piece of history lost forever.

Christmas Cove LLC, which comprises about 15 local investors, purchased Coveside Marina and the adjacent restaurant after the developer who had owned the property failed to find another buyer. The marina was in danger of closing for good.

Located near Christmas Cove, Maine, about 90 minutes north of Portland, Coveside Marina has 14 slips and numerous moorings.

The group completed its purchase of the property July 31, buying it from developer Craig Foster, according to Herb Sears, one of the investors who spearheaded the plan to keep the marina from closing.

During the Memorial Day weekend, Sears got wind that the marina and restaurant were for sale. And when he learned there weren’t any potential buyers he channeled his energy toward finding others who shared his desire to preserve the property. Sears and others did not relish seeing a “closed” sign at the marina and restaurant. “[That was] just an unacceptable option,” Sears says.

A local family had owned the marina and restaurant and land across the road from the marina, but sold it to Foster, says Tom Hibbert, operator of the marina and restaurant and an investor. The 10 acres across from the marina is being developed into town homes, but Foster was unable to find a buyer for the marina until the local group came forward.

“We wanted to save a part of history,” says Hibbert, a year-round resident of the area. “We all agreed this was the right thing to do, to save the heritage here and have it for the younger generations.”

“The Coveside is a tradition for the cruising crowd and it’s also the mixing zone for the Christmas Cove community and the South Bristol community,” he says. “Throughout the summer it’s a wonderful place to meet people and mix and various people have met their spouses there.

Without the Coveside restaurant, bar and marina, Hibbert says, “Christmas Cove just wouldn’t have been the same place.”

Hibbert and Sears declined to say how much the investors paid for the property. “[We] paid a fair price and it worked out well for the developer and it worked out well for the people who bought it,” says Sears.

Sears, a New Hampshire resident who spends his summers in the area, says generations of families have come through the marina.

Restrictions were put in place limiting the future sales of shares, Sears says.

Hibbert says there are plans to add some modern amenities, such as wireless access, and areas for lobster and clam bakes have been added — but there are no plans to make drastic changes.

It’s a place, he says, where generation after generation spends its summers. Children work there as teenagers, and come back with their own children as adults.