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Maine Attraction

Lyman-Morse turns its Camden, Maine, facility into “the new working waterfront”
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When Drew and Mackenzie Lyman purchased the Wayfarer Marine facility on Camden’s inner harbor in 2015, they envisioned making improvements, but they weren’t planning on a complete overhaul. That changed in June 2020, when a fire at the location of what is now part of Lyman-Morse destroyed most of the property’s buildings.

After the blaze, the Lymans worked with the town to rebuild a business that is important to the town’s economy. Their initial drawings had a super-modern aesthetic, but along the way, the Lymans—led by Mackenzie, who handles marketing and branding for Lyman-Morse—settled on a style that some people say is reminiscent of a Scandinavian waterfront village.

The buildings, which offer 44,000 square feet of space, contain retail spaces, offices, restaurants, “hotel” suites and a working boatyard capable of handling large refit jobs. Some are already operational; others will continue to open throughout this summer.

The boatyard includes work bays, a carpentry shop, a mechanics shop, a stockroom, an electronics shop, a canvas shop and a large rigging shop. “It’s a vast improvement over the World War II-era Quonset hut it replaces,” Mackenzie says about the rigging shop.

At the center of the facility are Lyman-Morse’s administrative offices. Someone mentioned that the small atrium on the second floor would look good with a boat hanging from the ceiling. When Drew’s father, Cabot Lyman, who founded Lyman-Morse in 1978, heard about it, he offered up his grandfather’s old wooden rowboat.

There are also what Mackenzie calls “crew quarters,” or three luxury boutique suites with killer views of the harbor and a shared lounge with kitchen and fireplace. Downstairs, three waterfront retail spaces are available for lease. Two restaurants also are on-site. Blue Barren Distillery, run by a seventh-generation blueberry farmer, serves local spirits and food. Salt Wharf will serve what Mackenzie calls “unpretentious, locally sourced food.” It has rooftop seating with views of the harbor and Penobscot Bay, an exhibition kitchen, and garage doors that open to the waterfront boardwalk that the Lymans jokingly refer to as the “Champs de Lyman.”

The Lymans don’t like fires, but they acknowledge that rebuilding in the middle of the pandemic and the opportunity to rethink the entire property turned out to be fortuitous. They also don’t like pretense. They envision the boatyard crew finishing their day with a drink at the outdoor bar. Says Mackenzie, “This is the new working waterfront.” 

This article was originally published in the August 2022 issue.

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