Penobscot Bay is the deepest body of water in the Gulf of Maine…and I (Astrig) live at its shores with my husband Steven, father Zaven, red hound, Jumping Jack, black cat, Oscar, three fiber goats, Queen Lollipop, Sir Neeshee and Trevor and a Navajo Churro sheep named Miss Maggie that Steven raised with a bottle.
Five years ago we added honey bee hives too…look for them in the gardens. Together we run a family campground that was established in 1965 and steward the land…we provide a place for people to come and relax, wander through the organic gardens, explore the beach and re-connect with themselves and others. We’re proud to be part of the working waterfront of Maine where recreation, fishing and shipping ply the same waters and provide a sense of purpose for all sorts of people.
Living in the center of a campground is the perfect backdrop for my life.
Unlike the “real world,” here there are no clearly defined roles to play. Asked for or not, we all offer opinions on what the other is doing…and many of our guests feel free to throw their thoughts into the mix. On a bad day it feels like living in a fishbowl, but on the majority of the days it feels like being wrapped in a warm breeze scented by May flowers. Imagine a continual swirl of creativity that’s more like a chorus than a handful of soloists.
My artistic passions run towards colorful wool and everything of the fiber world…spinning and weaving and knitting and sewing. The goats provide us with all the mohair and cashmere I can use and are an integral part of Steven’s gardens…they process the waste and provide nourishment for the soil…but more importantly, they’re a constant source of happiness for everyone with their friendly dispositions and playful antics. September brings Fiber College to the grounds…the East Coasts’ largest fiber festival devoted to education and community…more about it here.
Steven is a master teacher and he applies his endless energy to the plants in the gardens. We have water gardens, vegetable gardens, orchards and flowers everywhere. Each spring he starts 100’s of plants with a focus on heirloom seed varieties and plants that improve the soil and feed the insects that keep our world pollinated. We’re committed to a green approach to all that we do in the campground so you can rest assured that the tomatoes you pick or the grass you play on is non-toxic and friendly. This all sounds rather crunchy and organic but actually we’ve found these to be very good business practices. Besides, good goat poop is a lot less expensive than 10-10-10 fertilizer.
We’re lucky enough to live on 40 acres with a quarter mile of ocean frontage. The property has a stream that runs through the middle, stands of 200 year old oak trees, massive red pines and extremely fertile soil. No two days are ever the same and there are endless opportunities to be creative. We garden extensively with native plants, emphasizing those that attract birds and butterflies. I can paint signs and buildings any way I choose, we do all our own marketing (for better or worse), create family craft projects and plan meals that we share with many of our guests.
This is our 22nd summer catering to visitors and we’ve finally reached the point that when something goes wrong, we know the world won’t come crashing down. Our home is set in the middle of a 125 camping sites complete with beach, boardwalk, a playground to make any child bubble, recreation hall for potluck suppers, a supply store and lots of flowers. My husband does the hardscaping and I choose the plants. Dad comes and goes as he pleases and is our reliable sounding board for advice and planning. I run the front office. We all tend to the needs of our guests and our roles become well meshed during the summer. We all love to cook and eat, so every Saturday night there’s a big lobster bake on the beach.
My life oscillates between simple and frazzled but never seems to hover in the middle. You’re as apt to drive in and find me leading a beach walk as you are to find me behind the computer in the office. If you’ve ever thought you might like to own a campground or work closely with your family…here’s a chance to peek through the windows and see what it’s like. Life is never boring at Searsport Shores Ocean Campground and I hope that you enjoy the ride. I’ll try to include photos to fill in the blanks and of course the best thing in the world would be if you stopped by and said hello if you happened to be in Searsport.
It’s been a few years now that there’s wi-fi throughout the park…so we’re embracing social media and hope that you’ll join in to the general conversation…You can follow us on Facebook.