House For Sale: Affordable Oceanfront in Maine
From there we drove north to Eastport, quite a bit bigger than Lubec and with a deep-water port, to look at a cute gable-roofed house (#4) overlooking Johnson Cove. It sits on five acres, including 600 feet of sandy beach, a rarity in these parts. The first floor is a large open room incorporating kitchen, dining, and living room areas, while a single bedroom is upstairs. There are one and a half baths and a basement, too. The price: $299,000.
Although we’d stipulated that everything we’d see had to be $300,000 or lower, Denise had to show us another Eastport property (#5), with 250 feet of deep saltwater frontage, incredible ocean views, and five acres, within walking distance of downtown. With eight rooms on two levels, this is definitely a year-round home, so we decided this $349,000 property was okay to include. The view from the deck is to die for and takes in, when the tide is coming in, what’s known as “Old Sow,” the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere.
By this time we were thinking lunch. And Denise couldn’t have taken us to a better place than the Eastport Chowder House, housed in a restored sardine-canning building on the waterfront (207-853-4700; eastportchowderhouse.com). Back when Yankee Magazine was born — exactly 75 years ago this year (how ’bout that?) — a can of sardines was in every American lunch bucket, and there were dozens of sardine processing plants in both Eastport and Lubec. But the sardine industry is pretty well kaput today.
So, we asked, how do Lubecers and Eastporters manage to make a living these days? “Fishing, clamming, salmon farming, blueberrying,” she said. “And likely someone around here made the Christmas wreath on your door, too.”
After lunch (the lobster stew was delicious), still in Eastport, we looked at a nine-room house (#6) on a little more than half an acre overlooking (but not on) the harbor. It has an old part and a brand-new part that’s not quite finished. So there are two kitchens as well as two bathrooms, a fireplace, a drilled well, a partial basement, and an expansive deck. Price: $225,000.
On the way back to Lubec late that afternoon, we made a stop on Leighton Point Road in the town of Pembroke and fell in love with a nine-room farmhouse (#7), with a barn and other outbuildings, overlooking the Pennamaquan River (which flows into Cobscook Bay), and with 375 feet of water frontage. With three bedrooms and one bath, it has a new kitchen, new skylights, a new second-floor dormer, and, well, a new pretty much everything. Priced at $225,000, this property on, say, Cape Cod would sell for millions.
We stayed that night at The Home Port Restaurant & Inn, located on the hill overlooking Lubec’s waterfront and operated by two charming Southerners, Dave and Suzannah Gale, who serve truly gourmet meals. (They’ll be open again for the season this coming May; call 207-733-2077 or visit homeportinn.com. For places to stay this winter, go to: YankeeMagazine.com.)
Early the next morning we continued our tour, with two more properties in Lubec. The first, a two-bedroom, five-room cottage (#8) on North Lubec Road, was the least expensive of all the places we saw. Although we didn’t go inside (we had the wrong key), it looked nice enough. No water frontage, however, and the view of Johnson Bay (from a glassed-in porch), visible through thick leaves on either side of the house across the street, would be much better during the fall and winter. But, hey, it’s yours for only $125,000.
It required a long drive on a winding, woodsy, dirt byway, Coffins Neck Road, west of town, to reach our final property, a three-season, four-room (kitchen, bath, living room, two bedrooms) cottage (#9) with 205 feet of water frontage and a grand view of what’s known as Nutter Cove. You’d certainly find peace and quiet out here –great kayaking, too. Price: $209,000.
Denise offered to show us a few more properties: a gingerbread Victorian on the St. Croix River in Calais, for instance, priced at $159,900, and a 48-acre peninsula north of Eastport, in Perry–with not only a house but 2,000 feet of water frontage as well–all for $399,000. However, it was time we began the long drive back to New Hampshire.