The past few weeks I have been transitioning from winter in the Bahamas to summer at Ocean Point Inn – trading crystal clear aqua seas for sparkling deep blue waters off the rocky coast of Maine. Both locations are little slices of paradise that I am fortunate to enjoy. However, Ocean Point is “home!”
Spring comes slowly to Ocean Point but the trees are finally budding and flowers are popping open. The osprey are building nests and the ducks are laying eggs.
Ocean Point Inn is bustling with activity. New gardens have been created and all the landscaping has had a spring spruce up. Painting as well as siding and new windows have been added to some buildings. The Penthouse is getting a lovely new kitchen. Some Lodge rooms are getting new carpeting and window shades and Hatchard House rooms new entry flooring. The living room in the Main Inn is being totally redecorated. It is very exciting to see this wonderful transition in decor.
Most of the Jamaican workers started work on Tuesday. Dennis, Johnny, Frank, Patricia, Ronnie and Wayne are working away every day. The water and heat came on in the Main Inn yesterday so I hope to be back in my office starting today.
Every guest will receive Ocean Point’s Hot Buffet Breakfast this year starting on June 13th. We are discontinuing the Continental Breakfast after June 12th. The many, many guests I have talked with over the winter seem delighted with this change.
Another change for this season that guests seem very happy about is food being served in Ocean Point’s Dining Room starting on opening day, May 22, 2015. It will be a minimal menu until June 12th. The full dining room menu will be offered every night this season and the Bar will be opening at 4 P.M. The “Tavern Nights” will be discontinued.
Jim LaValle will be doing the breakfasts with all of his delicious surprises! He will also be entertaining one evening a week.
The Gift Shop has lots of new creative handmade surprises as well as the very popular repeat items. Many crafts are produced from local beach walks.
I am very excited about the opening of the 117th year at the Ocean Point Inn. The location of the Inn is spectacular, the staff are extremely friendly and helpful and the food is delicious – a winning combination. Join us this summer and let us show you why some of our guests have been coming to this special place on the coast of Maine for over 50 years.
When the first settlers arrived in North America there were so many lobsters they would wash ashore and pile up two feet deep. They were considered “poor man’s protein.”
Native Americans used lobsters for fertilizer and fish bait. They baked them under seaweed over hot rocks, thus starting the New England Clambakes we enjoy today.
In the beginning lobsters were gathered by hand. In the late 1700s boats called smacks with saltwater tanks were used to transport live lobsters. The men who ran these boats were called “smackmen.” In the mid-19th century lobster traps were first used in Maine.
Lobster were so inexpensive they were fed to prisoners, apprentices, slaves and children during colonial times. These people became tired of being fed lobster!
The first lobster pound started in 1876 in Vinalhaven, Maine. By the 1880s lobster became popular in Boston and New York and the prices started to rise.
American lobster, or Maine lobster, can weigh more than 40 pounds and be up to 3 feet long. The largest lobster on record was caught off Nova Scotia and believed to have been over 100 years old. It weighed 44 pound and was 42 inches long.
The lobster stands out for its unusual anatomy. Its brain is located in its throat, nervous system in its abdomen, teeth in its stomach and kidneys in its head! Lobsters hear with their legs and taste with their feet. They can be right-clawed or left-clawed and favor that claw.
If crowded into tanks they become cannibalistic and eat each other. Their claws need to be banded to prevent this situation.
Lobsters are a very healthy food with fewer calories than an !equal portion of skinned chicken. They offer healthy omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and vitamins E, B-12 and B-6. Maine Lobster is on or menu nightly at Ocean Point served many delicious ways from our famous Lobster Stew, to Linekin Bay Stuffed Lobster.
What amazing creatures they are
The Seguin Lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington in 1795. It is Maine’s tallest and second oldest light station, a short boat ride from Ocean Point Inn. For more than two centuries this lighthouse has been a very important guide to ships on the Maine coast and entering the Kennebec River. Even earlier in 1607 the English settlers of the Popham Colony anchored at the island before landing on the mainland.
Samuel de Champlain sailed past Seguin in 1612 and thought the island looked like a giant tortoise. The word Seguin is said to be from an Indian word that means “where the sea vomits.” Others claim it is from an Indian word that means hump.
In February of 1794 ten acres of land was ceded to the Federal Government from the state of Massachusetts as Maine was then part of Massachusetts. In 1796 Major John Polereczky, a Hungarian Hussar and count who was born in France, was appointed the first keeper at a salary of $200.00 per year. He served for eight years, twice requesting a raise and both times being denied.
A fog bell was added in 1837 and an automatic striking machine was added in 1854. In 1857 a new tower was constructed and Fresnel lens were installed.
Over a 31 year time the island was foggy 15% of the time. In 1907 a record was set for fogginess. 2,374 hours or 31% of the year was foggy.
Like many lighthouses in Maine near Ocean Point Inn, Seguin Island has lots of ghost stories. Keepers told of furniture moving by itself and doors shutting on their own. One tale involves a 19tth century keeper’s wife who played the same tune over and over on the piano. The keeper was eventually driven insane and he destroyed the piano with an axe, then killed his wife and himself. Legend says the tune can be heard drifting from the island on a calm night.
Seguin Island is 2.5 miles off the mouth of the Kennebec River near Popham Beach State Park. Take a tour of the tower and relive the memories. Below are boats which will take you to the island. A great day trip!
Seguin Island Ferry Popham, Maine (207) 841-7977
Atlantic Seal Cruises Freeport, Maine (207)865-6112
River Run Tours Bath, Maine (207)504-2628
HalVal Charters Boothbay Harbor, Maine (207)3198123
The tower and keeper’s house were constructed in 1827 but neither lasted very long. This may have been because the builder used salt water to mix the lime mortar. The second tower, built using only fresh water, was completed in 1835. A new wooden frame keeper’s house was added in 1857. The tower was upgraded with a Fresnal lamp at about the same time. The same lamp is being used today and can been seen as far away as 14 nautical miles.
At first the beacon was lighted by whale oil and then by kerosene. The other brick building was the bell house. When fog was first sighted, the keeper would ring the bell by hand. Later a system using weights was installed.
Eventually electricity was added and the beacon was automated in 1934. No longer was a keeper living on the island necessary.
In 1940 the Coast Guard transferred the 7 acre site to the Town of Bristol, everything but the tower. The lighthouse is now part of the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park and many people visit it in the summer
Ram Island Light is located in Fisherman’s Passage off Ocean Point at the entrance to Boothbay Harbor. Back in the mid-19th century a fisherman began hanging a lantern. This tradition was passed on for many years from one fisherman to another.
During the period when there were no lights, the local people told of ghosts warning the ships off the dangerous rocks. One such tale is of a sailor approaching the rocks and seeing a woman waving a torch above her head. He turned just in time to avoid the rocks.
Ram Island was first lighted on November 5, 1883. The first keeper was Samuel Cavanor from Nova Scotia and he stayed until he died in 1913. He lived on the island with his wife and five children and the children went to school in Boothbay. Mr. Cavanor had a wooden leg as a result of an accident on a lighthouse tender.
Ram Island Light became automated in 1965 and last keeper was removed. In 1983 the building was going to be torn down. The Grand Banks Schooner Museum Trust saved the building. The Ram Island Preservation Society restored the house. In 2002 they restored the walkway to the light that had been destroyed many years before.
Ghost stories continuee and some say on very dark nights the spector of a shipwreck victim can be seen wandering the island!! Visiting Ram Island Lighthouse is a great day trip while staying at Ocean Point Inn
The Burnt Island Light, built in 1821, is the second oldest surviving lighthouse in Maine. It operates a Living History Museum and was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Burnt Island Light Station on November 23, 1977.
Burnt Island is at the western entrance to Boothbay Harbor and visible from Ocean Point. The name came from the fact they burned the island vegetation so it would be clear for sheep grazing. In 1885 the keeper had pigs, chickens and cows in addition to sheep.
In March of 1821 funds were designated to build a light and the land was purchased soon after. A tower of granite rubble lined with brick was built along with a stone Keeper’s House. A system of whale oil lamps and reflectors was used. The stone Keeper’s House was replaced with a wood house in 1851 and is still there. At this time Fresnel lens were installed changing the lighting of the beacon.
Originally there was a fixed white light that was to attract ships to the harbor, not warn them of danger! In 1988 the light was blocked in a sector to the southwest to prevent it being seen by ships coming up the coast before clearing Cuckolds. A year later it was changed again. This time a fixed red with two white sectors were created to indicate safe passage on either side of Squirrel Island. This caused confusion with Ram Island Light which was built in 1883. Therefore, in 1901 the fixed light was replaced with a rotating beacon that had a lens on each face. The lens lasted until 1962 when it was replaced with an electric beacon. It was the last lighthouse in Maine to be converted from kerosene. The station was automated in 1988.
In 1988 the island and light station were transferred to State of Maine Department of Marine Resources. The buildings have been restored as closely as possible to the 1950’s condition. In 2003 a living history program was started.
A trip to this island is a “must do” during your stay at Ocean Point Inn. Call the Balmy Days at 207-633-2284 to find out the schedule of “The Novelty” and rates. It is a 2 1/2 trip with two hours on the island. Wonderful experience for all ages!
There is a very special book written by Robert McKay called “Percival the Lighthouse Mouse.” A great gift for young children, especially if they get to go to the island.
In 1891 the Lighthouse Board wrote, “The Cuckolds consist of two rocky islets rising about 15 feet above high water in the westerly edge of the channel at Booth Bay.”
The Atlantic Coast Pilot said they were a great danger to the three to four thousand vessels that entered the bay for refuge in Booth Bay and recommended a fog-signal be placed there.
The cost for a keeper’s house, fog signal house, cistern and equipment was estimated at $25,000. Congress appropriated the amount in March of 1891 and work began in January of 1892.
The station had to be built to withstand very heavy storms. The foundation was made of granite. Materials included 105 yards of granite masonry, 60,000 bricks, 430 casks of cement, 100 tons of sand, 200 tons of stones, 70,000 feet of lumber and 3,400 pounds of iron work. This huge amount of materials was carried on the lighthouse tender, Myrtle. Work was completed on November 16, 1892.
In 1895 a 1000 pound bell was installed to be used when air pressure was building. In 1902 “a modern apparatus operated by oil engines” replaced the “old hot-air fog-signal.” In 1907 a small tower and lantern room were added.
On January 27 and 28 of 1933, a nor’easter struck the Cuckolds doing a great deal of damage. The lighthouse was automated in 1974.
The lighthouse keeper’s dwelling has been successfully rebuilt. In June 2014, the beautifully restored lighthouse opened to overnight guests as the Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse. You can see Cuckold’s Light from Ocean Point Inn.
Frank Sinatra was originally cast to play Billy Bigelow in the movie “Carousel” filmed in Boothbay Harbor in 1956. The cast knew they had to film some scenes twice, one for regular Cinemascope and the other for Cinemascope 55. Sinatra claimed he was only paid to film one movie and walked away from the set saying, “You are not getting two Sinatras for the price of one!”
Warren Barnes, the owner of the Ocean Point Inn in 1956, had the Inn maintenance man take two leather suitcases, stencil F.S. on them and place them in front of the Inn. This caused quite a stir with the Ocean Pointers who thought the star was staying at the Inn.
Helen Hayes stayed at the Inn when she was narrator of an NBC special on Rachel Carson and her book, “A Silent Spring.” They used the lily pond as the backdrop for the credits.
Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley came to dinner at the Ocean Point Inn to escape the crush of fans in town. They were a glamor couple at the time and had good fun with our staff signing autographs and even checks. It was said they were guests of Paul McCartney on his yacht.
Local celebs who spend their summers in the area include Robert Duvall and former NFL commissioner Paul Taglibus on Squirrel Island and the Wyeths on Monhegan Island. Walter Cronkite and Charles Kuralt spent many days on their sailing yachts in Boothbay waters. Jimmy Dean’s yacht, The Big Bad John, and the Chicago Blackhawks’s owner’s yacht, Blackhawk were annual visitors to Boothbay Harbor near Ocean Point Inn.
The Ocean Point Inn will celebrate 117 years this summer and there is an interesting history during all those years. The Pleasant View House was founded in 1898 by Capt. Edward Burnham. It was a twenty room lodging facility with a dining room that seated 40 people. The Main House and Annex (today’s Inn and Lodge)offered “rooms with electric lights and access to public bathrooms.” The main house was used for years as the Ocean Point general store and post office. Guests would travel to Ocean Point by Steamship or by train to Wiscasset and taxi to Ocean Point over corduroy roads with logs for a surface.
Capt. Warren and Mrs. Mattie Barnes discovered Ocean Point while sailing the Maine Coast. Nowhere on the coast had they seen such a dramatic open ocean setting with the view of spruce clad islands, the rugged rocky coastline and the brilliant sunsets of this western exposure. They opened the Ocean Point Inn. They hoped to expand the property and make the spectacular setting available to more people. As they expanded, they always kept in mind the importance of the wonderful view and unspoiled natural scenery.
The Barnes began their initial operation with the Main House, the Annex and a restaurant serving three meals per day. Since guests came for long stays in those days, it was customary to offer American plan rates including all meals and accommodations. During the 1950s they gradually made major improvements to the property. The old Annex was made into the Lodge with the addition of the large wrap around porches and private bathrooms. More cottages were built and the Inn was enlarged, adding dining room space, a better living room area and a comfortable lounge. What we call the “On the Rocks” part of the dining room today was a charming living room where people would meet to socialize, play cards or just curl up with a good book by the fireplace. The center dining room, now called the “Upper and Lower Deck” was the lounge – no bar to be seen – just a relaxing setting where one could enjoy a drink and look at the ocean.
In the mid 1950s the Barnes recognized the need for “modern motel style” accommodations. They purchased the Burnham farmhouse and renovated it into colonial style rooms. The motel section of the property was completed in 1964 and run almost as a separate operation. Ruth Habblitz and Flossie Turner would serve a continental breakfast and provide some entertainment and local information as well.
During the 1970s and 1980s fewer guests were staying for a month at a time or the entire season. The new guests had different needs and the Inn once again adapted to the change. Rooms were enlarged and picture windows, porches, balconies, larger beds and televisions were added. The wonderful outdoor heated pool was added at this time and it remains to this date the largest outdoor heated pool in the Boothbay Region.
In 1985 Warren and Mattie Barnes handed over the ownership of the Inn to long time employees David Dudley, Tony Krason and Mark Sweetland. The tradition of adapting to the the times continues at the Ocean Point Inn. The newest additions include the Starfish Coffee Shop which is open 7:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. daily, Live Entertainment one night a week and Happy Hour some afternoons each week. How long have you been coming to the Ocean Point Inn?
Welcome to our Ocean Point Inn blog. We look forward to seeing you at The Point in 2015. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2015 rates which are now posted on our site. One of the things we are most pleased about offering you this coming season is free full hot buffet breakfast included in every room.
See our 2015 Ocean Point Inn rates and reserve today to guarantee your best room and at our best rates.
Also check out the beautiful photos our guests took of Ocean Point this past year and see our 2014 Photo Contest Winners. Have your cameras and smart phones ready for the 2015 season as we will continue out photo contest with a fun new twist – OPI selfies. Stay tuned for detail. Click here to see our 2014 Ocean Point Inn photo contest winners.
Stay well and we look forward to seeing you at The Point in 2015, our 117 season! Opening day at Ocean Point Inn is May 25, 2015.