Building on an Island

Miracle on Grant Farm Road

Building on an Island

Note to anyone who is currently building a house or in the process of renovating: if you’d like to set a hard deadline for wrapping things up, invite five people to stay in your home for the holidays.

We’re hosting our first Christmas this year. My sister and her boyfriend are flying in from California, my brother from Florida, and my parents are driving up from Connecticut. The prospect of seven adults sharing our first-floor bathroom has inspired us to try to pull off a Christmas miracle: finishing the guest quarters upstairs.

My family’s last trip to North Haven was spent in freshly drywalled rooms with no doors. One night, as my husband and I were lying in bed downstairs, listening to them shuffle around above us, he turned to me and said, “Your family is sleeping upstairs on the floor and we don’t even have a railing up.” Neither of us could stop laughing.

Here’s where things stand now:

North Haven home office

North Haven guest room
North Haven stairwell
North Haven bathroom
North Haven baby

The upstairs is painted and the floors are finished. Soon, there will be beds in the two guest rooms and my office — look, I have an office! The stairwell railing is being welded as I type. The teething baby is doing his darndest to distract everyone. And in the coming days, God willing, water will flow through the guest bathroom taps.

A lot of things can go wrong when you host visitors on an island in the winter. Ferries can be cancelled. Packages might not arrive in time. Power can go out in a bad storm. But this year, I am choosing to have faith in ferries and the promise of Amazon Prime. And if we lose electricity, well, at least our woodstove will keep us warm.

Now, if only Santa could spare a few elves to do the shingling we did not finish before the first snowfall.

Cover photo: What’s more “Maine” than a burn pile smoldering near the ocean? This is a shot of our front yard after we did some clearing earlier this month.

Have a question for Laura about what it’s like living year-round on a remote Maine island? Maybe you’re wondering how one weathers the winters, deals with the commute to the mainland, or finds a job, a community, or a date. Leave a comment with these and any other queries below — Laura will try to answer as many of them as she can in an upcoming column!

One Comment

  1. Laurie Bartek

    Hello Laura
    I had the joy of working as a Camp Nurse in June-Aug 201 in Maine. I am smitten with everything Maine.
    I am overjoyed to read your blog/posts. Thank you for sharing your home/ pics and life.
    Curious about winters. Summers are a no brainer bonus.

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