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.


Discover Wiscasset, Pet Friendly, Shopping

A Love of Historical Buildings

Sarah Castro has always loved architecture. Growing up in North Carolina she always drawn to Maine because the architecture is so approachable. “You don’t have to be a millionaire to own an historical house here.”  In fact her mother, Mary Castro, bought an older house in Wiscasset after retiring 4 years ago.

With her love of historical buildings, Sarah picked the right place for her store. Little Maine Mercantile is located at 49 Water Street, just down the road from Red’s Eats. Her store is in Wiscasset’s oldest commercial building, built in 1797. Over the years it’s been a hardware store, general store, and toy store. The building has charming remnants of its days as a hardware store. Behind the front counter are cubbies where bolts were once stored, the size markings can still be seen on the face of the bins. Cut into the floor towards the back of the building are different sized holes used when selling rope. The bulk of the rope was stored underneath the building and was threaded up through the holes where it could be cut to length depending on the buyer’s needs.  

Little Maine Mercantile shares the store space with Spruce – a coffee and smoothie bar run by Julie Ambrosino. The two met at their full-time jobs in Portland. Sarah worked in a marketing firm in the same building where Julie worked. They both still hold down their full-time jobs, because of this the store is only open part of the week.  Sarah’s mom helps her run the store on the days Sarah works in Portland.

Their best selling items are the Vena’s Infusions, little jars of dried fruits, bitters and sugar that you add alcohol to for a flavorful and interesting drink. The other big sellers are dog treats purchased by people living in the village. She also sells carefully selected goods made exclusively in New England. Sarah believes in supporting local artists and is open to carrying whatever items people let her know they need.

Sarah really enjoys Midcoast Maine. “The area is so beautiful and the people have been exceptional, really nice to us.” Sarah also feels blessed to be doing this together with Julie from Spruce. She hopes the store will become a community gathering place and can envision a day when they might be able to host small performances or screen movies.

Little Maine Mercantile opened at the end of the tourist season last year so they don’t know what to expect for business during the summer but said they did well around Christmas time. For now they’ll remain open Thursday through Saturday from 10am – 5pm.

You can find them on facebook or on their website Shop Little Maine.


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, 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.