Maine Coast, Low Cost

February/March 2017 | view this story as a .pdf

With more miles of coastline in Maine (3,478) than California (3,427), this spring is the perfect time for deal hunters to own a slice of paradise on Maine’s waterfront.

Let’s travel to five bargain-basement oceanfront properties for under $225,000

FM17-LowCanadian Mist

If you’ve ever dreamed of running away to Canada, here’s how to do it without a visa! In Eastport, you can open your curtains to a foreign country every morning. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on the eastern shore of Moose Island is just a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. Gaze across the expanse of Passamaquoddy Bay to New Brunswick’s Campobello Island, former playground of the Roosevelt clan, with Nova Scotia not far beyond.

Built in 1897, 173 Water Street was once “the Eastport Gas Company and a general store,” according to Barbara Wilson of Due East Realty. Listed at $185,000, the residence has undergone extensive renovation, including major work on the foundation, windows, and roof, all to make it a “healthy and cottage-like” home.

Set on a postage stamp of land (.08 acres), the house nonetheless faces straight onto beachfront. The neighboring public boat launch and ferry landing keep you in touch. Inside, the house feels spacious thanks to an open-concept floor plan, cathedral ceilings, and picture windows placed for giant sea views, including “a view of at least six islands from the dining room table.” Taxes are $1,455.

Peace on the Pennamaquan

If you dream of a home nestled on Maine’s craggy coastline without the exposure to merciless Atlantic conditions, drive as far east as roads will allow and seek sanctuary in this two-bedroom, two-bathroom steal at 1 Hardy Point Road in Pembroke. Tucked into a nook of Cobscook Bay, where the Pennamaquan River meets the ocean, the $129,000 cottage has gray cedar shakes and flashes of springtime lupine rushing the waterline of this .62-acre property.

Built in 1900, the dwelling has seen extensive renovation in the past 30 years: “The owners bought it as a vacation home, an escape from work, but they found themselves increasingly putting more work into it until it was all basically redone,” says Jessica Thompkins-Howard of Due East Real Estate.  Both the large living room and sunroom, which extend out from the house, benefit from wall-to-floor windows, allowing you to take in the river and tree-lined bank opposite. Taxes are $1,593.

Chalet We Dance?

Set back from the road in a private, quiet setting with room for walking and a place to launch small boats”–you almost wouldn’t believe current owner Tora Johnson when she tells you the address of this chalet is 2189 U.S. Route 1, Sullivan. A professor of geography and marine studies at University of Maine at Machias, Johnson and her husband, Chris, a traditional wooden boat builder and commercial fisherman, lived on a lobster boat before purchasing these 2.9 acres off the Mount Desert Narrows, designing their “dream home” in 2004. The contemporary two- bedroom, one-bathroom structure has an open-concept floor plan showcasing both hardwood floors and high ceilings with exposed beams. Equipped with well-placed windows to assure solar gain in the winter, along with “timber frame construction, nearly all of it from Maine-harvested lumber,” this home boasts green credentials.

Listed for $225,000, this getaway features a yard ringed by trees and over 390-feet of tidal frontage on Long Cove, a small inlet of saltwater, “home to the rocky remnants of a mill dam.” As you look out across the cove through the large picture windows, keep an eye out for the neighborhood horde of “eagles, ospreys, and other seabirds.” Taxes are $4,076.

Buckminster Palace

Waterfront property in Boothbay is intriguing enough, never mind the fact that this two-bedroom, one-bathroom bungalow opens out into a geodesic dome, popularized by Maine’s own Buckminster Fuller. Laura Blake at Newcastle Realty says the dome section arrived in 1970 “as a kit […] that when placed together looked like a spaceship.” In 2004, this spaceship/bungalow was updated, with the current owners renovating to create “a new kitchen, bedroom, and entry room, enlarging the deck to enjoy the 205-foot waterfront […] while still keeping the cathedral ceilings and charm of the dome.” Situated at 68 Tamarack Trail, the property includes 1.9 acres overlooking the St. George River as it flows into Muscongus Bay, extended by access to an “association dock and float, and land frontage on Knickerbocker Road for a potential building.” With private waterfront property and a bit of Boothbay radical chic for only $189,000, one thing is clear: there’s no place like dome. Taxes are $1,769.

Victorian Sensibilities

If you have a taste for period features, this $125,000 four-bedroom, one-bathroom relic in Eastport may win you over with its luscious Victorian-era detailing both inside and out, not to mention prime views across Passamaquoddy Bay. “It’s exceptional,” Barbara Wilson at Due East Realty says of 120 Water Street, with so many unique features that it’s generating “more bites than any of my other houses.”

Set on .15 acres, the house invites you in with wood parquet floors, an elegant staircase, and a “sense of graciousness” granted from high ceilings and bright, open rooms. Considering the large bedrooms, “dramatic contrasts of paint,” and the kitchen’s tin ceiling and crown molding, Wilson says that it “almost feels like a bed and breakfast.” Just add scones. Whether or not you dream of opening a quaint B&B, this home’s 19th-century style and ideal location–just a short jaunt from the waterfront–could make your perfect Maine getaway. Taxes are $4,120.

Captain of the House

For the first time since its construction over 150 years ago, the Captain Bennis House at 1960 Route 1 in Sullivan is on the market. Listed at $209,900, the eight-bedroom, seven-bathroom dwelling was built in 1875 for Captain Spiro Vuscassovich Bennis and his new bride, Elizabeth Hannah Simpson. Bennis, originally from Austria, fought in the Union Navy during the Civil War, most notably on the USS Gem of the Sea and on the USS Connecticut under Admiral Farragut.

The dwelling retains an aura of 19th century grandeur thanks to original hardwood flooring, crown moldings, chandeliers, and curlicue iron curtain rods. A sun porch frames striking vistas across the water to Mount Desert Island. The surrounding 1.16 acres feature a separate carriage house containing two complete seasonal apartments.

All of this for just over $200K? What’s the catch, we hear you ask!

“Price was, and still is, our biggest challenge,” says listing agent Ryan Swanson.  “The property is quite popular, but the layout is extremely non-traditional.” For instance, the fact that the house has four kitchens “doesn’t fit for someone that just wants a big house.” The “non-traditional” nature of the abode may lend itself to rental or seasonal letting opportunities–or simply a little distance from certain family members as a single-occupancy home. Taxes are $4,561.

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