Discover Wiscasset, history, Wiscasset

Hotel with a History

Wiscasset Woods Lodge has been welcoming guests to Mid Coast Maine for over 100 years. Our cottage rooms were originally rustic roadside cabins built in the woods beside the road when the “Atlantic Highway” was developed to bring tourists to Maine around 1912. These types of cabins were once common along what is now Route 1 as a way to earn extra money during the summers. Moody’s Diner got its start in the same way at around the same time. In addition to the ten original cabins, six cabins were built by the water in Newcastle, then in the 50’s moved across from Foster Auction House and finally moved to our property in 1975.

Picture of Wiscasset Woods Lodge circa 1930's found in the book Around Wiscasset: Alna, Dresden, Westport Island, Wiscasset, and Woolwich
Photo of cabins circa 1930 from the book “Around Wiscasset”
Newspaper article of Forest Inn AKA The Bloody Bucket burned to the ground.
1975 Newspaper Article courtesy of Wiscasset Newspaper

The property also housed the Forest Inn. Originally built as an open-air dancehall located on the south end of the property. In the 1960’s the inn was bought by the famous Maine wrestler Jackie Nichols. By then it was enclosed with a dance floor and restaurant on the ground floor and 6 rooms on the second floor. It was the only nightlife between Bath and Boothbay which meant that many people frequented it even though it was known for being a rough place. Jackie’s wife nicknamed it “The Bloody Bucket” because of all the paid and free fights that took place there. One night in 1975 the inn mysteriously burned to the ground. The cause was never determined but many locals think the fire might have been started by some of the women in town. That’s how unpopular it was with the wives.

Motel Building at Wiscasset Woods Lodge in Midcoast Maine.

The steady increase in tourism into Maine led to the construction of a two-story motel building to double the number of rooms available. The Whitfields, who were then the owners, didn’t want to take on any debt, so only built what they could pay for in cash. In 1971 the ground floor of the motel was built and rented out, then in 1972 the second floor was built in three parts and lifted on top of the first.

Wiscasset Woods Lodge room with knotty pine interior

In 1990 the Gillies bought the hotel. Bill Gillies loved woodworking. He gutted and remodeled most of the cabins giving them vaulted ceilings and a knotty pine interior. When trees fell on the 8 acres of woods around the hotel, he would often mill them himself and use the wood in the rooms.

Trail signs for the 1/4 mile trail at Wiscasset Woods Lodge in Midcoast Maine.

We purchased the hotel in the winter of 2015. We put in a commercial kitchen and now serve our famous hot, homemade breakfast to our guests every morning. We also built a trail through our 8 acres of woodlands which kids and dogs love. In addition we gutted and remodeled 6 of the old cabins that had stood vacant for 20 years. We now have 7 pet friendly rooms, 2 suites and a handicap accessible room.

Free, hot breakfast buffet at Wiscasset Woods Lodge in Midcoast Maine.

If you’ve found this excerpt interesting, you might enjoy reading the full history of the lodge from which this was drawn.

We’re hosting an open house in conjunction with the Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce. The even will take place on Thursday, May 16th from 5 – 7pm. We’ll have several rooms open to walk through and you’re welcome to try our famous hot breakfast. If you’re in the area please stop by and visit.

Saundra and Eric Neperud, Owners Wiscasset Woods Lodge
Discover Wiscasset, Shopping

Out of the Rat Race and In the Clover

Kasey McNamara’s story is similar to several of the people we’ve met during our interviews of local merchants. People who were living somewhere else doing something else when they decide they needed a quieter, simpler life for themselves and their family.

Kasey was living in Boston and working in finance on the regulatory side of mutual funds. There she met her husband, Jay, and had their first child. They quickly decided that Boston wasn’t where they wanted to raise their children. Houses were so expensive that the only ones they could afford meant long commutes into work each day. And they wanted a quieter pace of life and safer surroundings to raise their children. They decided to move back to Maine where Kasey grew up and Jay’s parents moved to in 1986.

In the Clover in Wiscasset Village, Midcoast Maine.
In the Clover, Wiscasset Maine

While living on Westport Island, Kasey had her second child and in 2008 began working part time at In the Clover. Once the kids grew older she decided to start working full time again. She left the store and went back into the world of finance. That only lasted a couple of years. Kasey quickly found that she was no longer wanted to spend her day sitting behind a computer screen and missed working with the staff and customers at the store. She and Jay discussed it and decided to take a chance and see if then owner, Kelley Belanger, would be interested in selling someday.  

In the Clover sells clothing and accessories in Wiscasset Maine

The timing was perfect for everyone and in 2017 Kasey and Jay bought the store and haven’t looked back. Jay handles all the accounting, bill paying and business management side of the company. Kasey manages the staffing, purchasing, the look and feel of the store, and the day to day running of it. They now have just a 10 minute commute to work and are able to be there for all their kids numerous school and extra curriculum activities.

Kasey is enjoying buying the clothing and goods sold in the store. The first year most of the merchandise was already purchased and the second year she was conservative as it was her first time buying. This year she’s felt able to take more risks and is always looking to update her collections. She makes an annual buying trip to NYC and quarterly trips to Portland to meet with vendors. She aims to keep up with trends while not being “trendy”.

When asked what the style is in fashion, she said that fashion is more wide open then it’s ever been. “Fashion is now about being comfortable and feeling good about yourself. If you like a particular style of jean then wear them. Nothing is ‘out of style’ anymore.”

A variety of belts for sale at In the Clover in Wiscasset Maien

As a store they try to support that, they don’t just cater to one look. If customers have clothing preferences  they’ll try to bring in items that match it. This has brought them a loyal customer following as has their focus on customer service. If they get an item that they know a regular customer will like, they’ll call them or even send photos. They have several out of state customers who regularly purchase clothes from In the Clover and have them shipped.

If you haven’t visited In the Clover recently Kasey invites you to stop by and see what’s new. She and her staff are happy to help you find the clothing and accessories that makes you feel both comfortable and beautiful whatever your style.

In the Clover is located at the corner of Route 1 and Middle Street. Or find them online, on Facebook, or Instagram.


This article is part of a series produced by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight area businesses. This article was written by Saundra Neperud. Other stories in this series include:

Classes, Discover Wiscasset, Shopping

Family Business Brings the World to Midcoast Maine

Post and beam structure built by students at the Shelter Institute in Midcoast Maine.
Post and Beam Structure Built by students

The entrance to the Shelter Institute is just outside Wiscasset on Route 1. You’ve probably passed the entrance a thousand times, seen their post and beam sign with the rotating holiday decorations and thought, “I should stop in some time and take a look. And while you might not have been in yet, the Shelter Institute hosts people from all around the world. They come to attend workshops, buy woodworking tools, and order custom designed timber structures. The Shelter Institute has recently had attendees from Germany, Brazil, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Japan, Puerto Rico, South America and France. They’ve designed and built structures all around the US and the Caribbean. 

All types of woodworking tools are for sale in the shop at the Shelter Institute in Maine.
Woodworking Tools for Sale at the Shelter institute

While it has world reach, the Shelter Institute has Maine roots. Pat and Patsy Hennin started the business in 1974 in Bath, Maine. Originally in the space above Reny’s they later bought and renovated the building that now houses Brynes Irish Pub. Patsy remained very active in the business up until her death in 2006 and Pat is still highly involved. Their children, Blueberry Beeton and Gaius Hennin now run the majority of the day to day operations. Everyone in the family live nearby and enjoy all the outdoor opportunities that Maine has to offer, especially boating.

Working on the beams for a custom designed building built at the Shelter Institute
Fabricating a Custom Designed Building at the Shelter Institute

As the courses and structures became more popular they found they needed a larger site that would allow students to practice raising buildings and provide space to house their growing fabrication business.  They knew they wanted to remain close to Bath and their regular customers, and they knew they wanted to be on Route 1 because of the great exposure to all the vehicles traveling back and forth regularly. In 2000 they bought 68 acres of land on Route 1 for their new location. The campus includes a retail store, classroom, and workshop.

Students gather around to learn the use of woodworking tools at the Shelter Institute in Maine
Teaching Students at one of their Courses at the Shelter Institute

All of the class offered by the Shelter Institute are approved for the GI Bill for Veterans and many institutions consider the classes job training opportunities. The Design Build Class is college accredited through the University of Maine Augusta. Shelter was founded on the idea of learning and teaching. Pat and Patsy believed in the importance of the individual having an understanding of the world in which they live; literally their home. As a commemoration to the passion for learning that Patsy Henning infused into the Shelter Institute, the family created a scholarship program for local high school and college students to help them attend trainings and gain skills.  You can find out more information on their classes, tools, and scholarships by visiting their website, Facebook page or Instagram.

Or next time you’re driving by why not stop in and see everything they have to offer.  


This article is part of a series produced by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight area businesses. This article was written by Saundra Neperud. Other stories in this series include:

Nature, Pet Friendly, Wiscasset

Pet Friendly Rooms and a Hiking Trail

All Pet Friendly Rooms have Private Entrances

We have 7 pet friendly rooms and a 1/4 mile hiking trail that dogs love!

All of our pet friendly rooms are on the ground floor with a separate entrance. This makes it easy to get your pet onto the trail or into your car without worrying about disturbing other people.

Our pet friendly rooms also have linoleum planking. It looks like wood but you don’t have to worry about your pet’s paws scratching it and it won’t stain like carpets.

Picture of our pet friendly cottage rooms with linoleum flooring for ease in cleaning and durability.
Linoleum Flooring in Pet Friendly Rooms

We do allow pets to be left alone in rooms. We just ask that you put up the Do Not Disturb sign when you’re out. Our rooms have been insulated with pets noises in mind.

Our 1/4 mile hiking trail is near the pet friendly rooms. In fact our One Queen Bed pet friendly rooms have a private back porch that leads directly onto the trail. We have garbage cans throughout the property and give you a roll of bags when you check in.

Picture of our pet friendly rooms with one queen bed. Rooms have private back porch leading onto our trail.
Private Back Porch on Pet Friendly Cottage Room with One Queen Bed

We also give copies of PETMaine to all pet owners and have provided additional information on local pet resources, dog parks, pet friendly restaurants in your room.

Discover Wiscasset, Shopping, Wiscasset

Who Doesn’t Love a Treasure Hunt

Who doesn’t love the thrill of a treasure hunt? People have been finding treasure along the midcoast for centuries, though nowadays most of the finds are in antique stores and specialty shops rather than on shipwrecks.

For Linda and Louis Cataldo of Wicked Good Treasure at 770 Bath Road in Wiscasset, the treasure hunt still takes them up and down the coast. Taking inspiration from such television shows as Storage Wars, the Cataldos have turned a love for treasure hunting into a thriving new business. They source and bid on storage pods and other lots at auction, without knowing in advance what they might find inside. Sometimes they find treasure, such as in the case of one of their favorite finds, a beautiful selection of Tiffany style lampshades now on display in their thrift and antique store. When the findings don’t measure up to the standards of the retail floor, items are donated or passed on through other lot sales.

Industrious bargain hunters themselves, they’ve found many creative ways to find bargains and to find ways to pass them on to their customers. They buy lots of returned goods from larger retailers, and market their wares both in their store and through online platforms such as Amazon and Facebook Marketplaces.

Tiffany style lamps, one of their best finds

Wiscasset’s location at the crossroads of many well-traveled routes was part of what appealed to them about opening Wicked Good Treasure here. The Cataldos enjoy sourcing up and down the state, but making Wiscasset their home put them only about a 40 minute drive from destinations north, south and west. They enjoy the smaller town lifestyle of the mid-coast, but are only a short drive from their son’s family in Portland.

Wicked Good Treasures on Route 1 in Wiscasset

The Cataldos may be new to the Village, but they’ve traveled the mid-coast for years before relocating here, so while they are getting to know their neighbors, they know their mid-coast neighborhood and can offer visitors recommendations along whatever route they choose to explore. Their friendly and hospitable manner will make any visitor feel welcomed by a longtime local. They hope to enjoy a robust summer season and be able to grow in their space next winter, as they have this winter.

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This story part of series by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight local businesses. Visit the Friends of Wiscasset’s facebook page for more information on local businesses. This article was written by Elizabeth Palmer. Other articles in this series include:

Discover Wiscasset, Restaurant, Wiscasset

Miss Wiscasset Owner Says Midcoast Maine has been Good for his Family

Mark Suarez, the owner of Miss Wiscasset Diner never planned to move to Wiscasset. A pipe fitter from Pensacola, Florida Mark was working for a company that sent him out to sub-contract around the country. He was on a job in Boston when he was offered a 6 month gig in East Boothbay working for Washburn and Dougherty. He decided to take it because it was so close. Now the 6 months has turned into 7 ½ years and a restaurant.

A few things happened. First, he met his wife, Kelley, who also worked at Washburn and Dougherty. She’s a Mainer and grew up in Rockland. Then his father passed away and his mother was injured shortly after. This meant it was much harder for her to take care of herself and her granddaughter, Mark’s niece, Courtney. Mark needed to step in and help out so he decided to move his mother and niece to Maine where he could care for them better. When his niece developed more severe medical problems Mark knew he needed to change his career so he could be around more to help. In 2014 he took over the running of the Light House restaurant, then in November of that year he moved locations to Miss Wiscasset.

Mr. Suarez says Wiscasset has been a good place for his family. He says Mainers are good people, honest, and nice. For instance, when Judis Country Store closed Judi gave Mark most of her kitchen equipment. Mark says the area is safe and when his niece shops by herself in nearby towns he doesn’t have to worry about her. He says Courtney has really come out of her shell helping out at the restaurant. “She’s learned to express herself, learned new things and has more freedom.” You may not have met her yet, but you’ve seen her artwork if you’ve ever eaten at Miss Wiscasset. Courtney draws all of the framed cartoons on the wall. She’s even had customers request her drawings and send her money for them.

Avocado Benedict at Miss Wiscasset

Mr. Saurez plans to stay in Wiscasset. He’s looked at businesses down in Boothbay, but they can’t beat the amount of traffic that passes by his restaurant on Route 1 each day. He gets a lot of business from people driving past and stopping in to eat and enjoy the air conditioning. He has looked at possibly moving to a larger location but for now he’s staying put. One change he is planning on is getting his liquor license so he can serve Bloody Marys with breakfast. He’s also going to try opening some nights this next winter during Gardens Aglow to catch some of the traffic for that popular event.

Since Mark has taken over the diner business has significantly increased. When asked the key to his success he said “We keep a clean restaurant and serve food made from quality ingredients.” If you haven’t eaten at Miss Wiscasset lately, Mark invites you to come in and try their cooking at 762 Bath Road (Route 1), in Wiscasset.
https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMissWiscassetDiner/


This story part of series by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight local businesses. Visit the Friends of Wiscasset’s facebook page for more information on local businesses. This article was written by Saundra Neperud. Other articles in this series include:

Discover Wiscasset, Shopping, Wiscasset

Beelicious

Beelicious in Wiscasset sells all things honey related. She also has honey for you to sample.
Try a honey sample at Beelicious

Monica Carrington of Beelicious is not only Wiscasset’s undisputed expert in all things honey, she is also a one-woman visitor’s center for the downtown and waterfront area. Her corner location at Water Street and Route 1, across the street from Sarah’s Café, overlooks the bridge and the famous Red’s Eats, and she plays the role of visitor’s guide when chatting with customers about everything from places to park to where the restrooms are.

Beelicious shares the plans for improvements for downtown Wiscasset.
Beelicious shares the planned improvements for Wiscasset

This year she is excited to be able to tell visitors about the downtown improvements while they shop, including the new restrooms along waterfront as well as the additional parking and the sidewalk improvements. Carrington has rearranged her store to open up Beelicious’s front window to the view from the street from both sides of route 1, and Carrington hopes the wider sidewalks will encourage more lingering and seating spaces. She is looking forward to collaborating with nearby merchants to encourage just such casual shopping downtown.

Beelicious is the perfect venue to encourage a linger. The gentle but refreshing scent of honey wafts through the door as one enters. After that one can choose which sense to tempt. Samples of local honey, craft food items and other sweets and savories tempt the palette while the eyes are drawn to the bright, airy décor showcasing bees, of course!

Beelicious is a bright, airy shop with all things honey related.

Carrington herself is a wealth of knowledge, and enjoys sharing her knowledge of and enthusiasm for honey with visitors. The shop is full of sweets, gift items, home décor, bath and body products and unique finds of all kinds.

A local resident as well as a local merchant, Carrington started out just up the street from her current location, and her time in business there made her choice to move into her current location when it because available an easy one. With the visitor experience improved, the foot traffic will increase and Carrington is looking forward to her Bee’s-eye view of the downtown village this summer!


This story part of series by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight local businesses. Visit the Friends of Wiscasset’s facebook page for more information on local businesses. This article was written by Elizabeth Palmer. Other articles in this series include:

Kids activities, Museums, Nature

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens named #3 of top 5 Botanical Gardens

In 2016, Nature Hills, “America’s largest online plant nursery,” named Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens #3 on the top 5 botanical gardens to visit in the Eastern United States. this is just one of many awards won by the gardens.

image of cat fence and cottage in the children's area of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Children’s area of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

My husband and I love the gardens. We visited with my sister’s family on our first trip to the area to look at the Wiscasset Motor Lodge prior to purchasing it. We fell in love with the botanical gardens and we fell in love with the lodge. In the gardens there are miles of lovely trails, a view of the river, and waterfalls. It’s definitely worth repeat visits and we knew we’d be buying an annual membership. So it’s not surprising to hear all the accolades the gardens receive.