A Couple Moves Upta Camp — For Good
How a three-seasons camp on the Pemaquid Peninsula became a four-seasons home
ABOVE The Littlefields and their three adult children spend a great deal of time together on the screened porch, which faces a dirt road and Long Cove beyond. “The whole camp is meant to be outside of busy life, without technology or other distractions,” Jillian says. “It’s a space to escape. It brings you back in time.”
TEXT BY JESSE ELLISON
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ERIN LITTLE
Four generations of Rebecca Murray-Littlefield’s family have vacationed in Chamberlain village on the Pemaquid Peninsula. As a teenager, she spent entire summers there, as a live-in sitter for friends. When it was time to go home to Augusta, she’d cry. “I always felt this was where I was meant to live,” she says.
Several decades later, Rebecca, a psychotherapist, took the first step toward making her dream come true. She and her husband, Alan, an occupational therapist who also has ties to Pemaquid, invested their retirement savings in a 1960s-vintage three-season camp. Last year, they built a “mini house” next to the cabin and moved to Chamberlain year-round. “I’m just so grateful,” Rebecca says. “The rat race of life is so fast and ugly. This is our own little piece of heaven.”
Rebecca cuddles her dog in the camp’s living room, as daughter Jillian lights a fire. When the Littlefields bought the cabin eight years ago, it was a 1960s time capsule, right down to the accents, furniture, fixtures, and appliances. “We have unfortunately had to replace many of the ailing appliances,” Jillian says.
Alan, a certified master gardener, takes care of the hanging planters on the porch, as well as the flower and vegetable gardens around the house.
The stove and refrigerator are new, but the yellow countertops, sink, and light fixtures are original. “We tried to keep as much as possible, even the rotary phone,” Jillian says.
Rebecca’s shells and sea glass, collected since she was a child, are displayed throughout the house in glass jars and vases or propped along the wall frames.
Alan built this treehouse on the back side of the camp for Rebecca soon after they bought the property. She wired it for electricity so she could have a lamp and a coffee maker, and furnished it with a reading chair, a bed for napping, and a tapestry from Mexicali Blues. “It’s my getaway place,” Rebecca says. “When we first built it, my adult children used to laugh at my husband calling me to come out of the treehouse to come in for dinner. But who wouldn’t lose time out there?”
Tall, wide windows form a glass wall between the dining area and front porch. The awning windows above drop open to let in the ocean breeze. The dining table is a gift from the family friends Rebecca babysat for when she was a teen; they found it in an inn they were converting to a private home. Part of the town of Bristol, Chamberlain is a bit of a secret, Rebecca says. “It’s just enough off the road that people don’t often come down here. It’s special that way.”