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Spruce Island - A Private island for large or small gatherings

Sleeps25
Bedrooms 7
Bathrooms7
Half Baths1
Space 3,600 sq. ft.
Property type lodge
Minimum Stay 1 - 7 nights

Overview

About the property

Sleeps 18 (larger groups possible; ask for details)

Spruce Island is a small, 80 acre private island off Deer Isle/Stonington, Maine. An aerial video of Spruce Island and a video of a traditional lobster bake on Spruce Island can be found at the bottom of this page.

The Stone House is the only house on Spruce Island. It can be rented by the week in the summer. In the off-season it can be rented for shorter periods. More than 18 people can be accommodated with prior arrangement.

There are many places to explore and things to do on and around Spruce Island. Kayaks and row boats are provided. Outboard motor boats can be rented. Dress up as pirates and entertain your children (pirate dress provided); enjoy campfires on the shore; drive golf balls into the ocean and collect them at low tide; swim in a fresh water quarry on near-by Green Island owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Play horseshoes, capture the flag, badminton, and pingpong. Charter our amphibious Sealegs to take you island hopping. Gaze into the heavens and see a universe of stars you can't see elsewhere because of light pollution. See bald eagles, ospreys, and many other seabirds. Experience the wonder that Robert McCloskey wrote about in the children's book, 'Time of Wonder'.

The house is comprised of two separate buildings. The Main House is a large open room with cathedral ceilings, a huge fireplace, and large well equipped kitchen. There is one bedroom in the Maine House. A swing hangs from the timbers in the Main House, and a “crows nest” on the roof affords spectacular views of the surrounding islands. On rainy days and at night, you can watch movies on the big screen and listen to surround sound music in the Main House.

The Guest House contains six bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Electricity is supplied by wind and solar, supported by backup generators. Water is supplied from wells and a large rain water cistern.

This property is completely 'off the grid', but WiFi is available through HughesNet satellite connection and cell phone service is available.

Kayaks and other small boats are included. A small 10hp, 10' inflatable outboard motor boat can be rented for $400/week. A larger 18' outboard motorboat can be rented for $750 per week.

Spruce Island falls within the town of Stonington, Maine, famous for fresh Maine lobster and for the pink Maine granite that has been cut from its quarries for more than a hundred years. Spruce was quarried in the late 1800's and in harmony with this history, the owners decided to build these houses entirely of large granite blocks.

Tranportation to the Island: Transportation to and from the island is provided free on the first and last days, up to three round trips each of those days. For mid week transportation, there are a number of options. Old Quarry Ocean Adventures runs a 34 foot boat out of Stonington. A small outboard motor boat suitable for getting back and forth to Stonington can be rented for $400 per week. Steve Johnson runs a charter service called Bert & I Charters, 207-460-8679 (Boat Phone), 207-367-2991 (Residence). The Isle au Haut Ferry also does private ferry service to and from Stonington to islands in the area. Another option is to hire our amphibious Sealegs boat with a captain. The cost is $125/hour. The advantage of the Sealegs is that, as an amphibious craft, it can drive out of the water and set down on the ground like a camel for easy and safe loading and unloading. This is especially nice for exploring the many uninhabited islands around the area. For deep sea fishing, a good option is Eggemoggin Guide Service.

Island Life: There are many fun things to do on and around Spruce Island. Some examples include: Intra-island or even inter-island capture-the-flag; Camp fires on the beach; Exploring the many other small islands in the area; Sleeping in a tent near the shore is a wonderful experience for children and adults. You can sit by a camp fire and gaze into the heavens wondering how it all came to be, even catching glimpses of satellites moving across the sky, before rolling into a cozy tent and letting the gentle sounds of waves and wind lull you to sleep.

Dogs are allowed. However there is a $150 fee per dog. There are no ticks on the island and we are trying to keep it that way. We have also found dogs increase our cleaning costs. Consequently we charge a high fee to encourage guests to leave their dogs at home. If dogs are bought, they must be approved by owner, and they must be treated for ticks no more than one week before arrival and carefully check for ticks the day they arrive, before they go out to the island.

More Details

Property Manager
Colie O'Donnell
Member since: 2010
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
100%
Calendar last updated:
September 22, 2017

About Colie O'Donnell

We started building the stone houses in October 2006. It took five years to finish, working spring, summer, and fall and towards the end, working through the winter, though we had to pick the days to avoid really dangerous winter conditions. I was out there almost every day, in all kinds of weather, guiding the process and working with the crews. I ran the landing craft, did errands mid day, operated the crane and Lull and other equipment, and coordinated the logistical challenges moving thousands of tons of materials, across four miles of water. Somehow we persevered through the economic crash of '08 and other calamities along the way. The fact that all the stone as well as windows, doors, and wind turbines are from China is another story.

One of the most gratifying experiences of this island project has been to see how much people love gathering here for family reunions. I hope you too will enjoy it as my family and so many others have. And I hope you will return for many years to come and that this little island will become a significant place in your life, as it has in mine.

Colie O'Donnell purchased this lodge in 1986

Why Colie O'Donnell chose Acadia

I bought Spruce Island twenty nine years ago, when I was thirty. The island had nothing on it then. The first trip out, I rowed the four miles alone in an eight foot dingy. I remember it was a beautiful fall day, but quite windy and it was a slog getting back to Stonington against the headwind. There was something about that island and that archipelago that was just so stunning. I recall very well sitting for the first time on the smooth granite slide on the east shore, transfixed by the beauty. I was unemployed at the time, with a wife (also unemployed) and two young children. Having just graduated from business school, I should have known better but instead I spent all my savings on it.

What makes this lodge unique

To some people, the architecture of these stone houses may be rather plain and sever, but they are strong and enduring, as is the island they are a part of, and to me that is both practical and beautiful. The heavy stone structure easily withstands powerful winter storms and requires virtually no maintenance that over time will offset the added cost of building on an island, with stone. Inside, they are warm and playful. They have all the practical comforts of a mainland residence, but a simplicity and plainness that are out-of-the-ordinary and refreshing.

Guestbook comments from the manager

Today we woke up and had pancakes! It was my birthday today. I just turned 12. We made a cake that was huge! I had such a fun time and I really hope that we come back. My mom said that we might! We found a fort cave going down to the dock and we also made a fort out of wood. We had a really fin time and will hopefully see you next summer. Thanks so much!



P.S. Our friends are coming in two weeks so we left them something on the mantel. So please don't move it!
Jul 2011
  • 1 of 7

Map

Nearest Airport
40 Miles
Bangor International Airport
Nearest Golf
100 Metres
Driving range on the island
Nearest Restaurant
3.5 Miles
Fisherman's Friend
Car: not necessary

Spruce Island is a small, 80 acre private island in Merchants Row, half way between Bar Harbor to the east and Camden to the west. Isle au Haut, part of Acadia National Park, is about 5 miles to the south. Merchants Row is renowned for its scenic beauty and is a destination for boaters from around the world. There are dozens of small, uninhabited islands in the area that can be explored by kayak or other small boat and on foot. Robert McCloskey’s “Time of Wonder”, captures the essence of summering on a small Maine island in this area. Stonington is a pituresque fishing Village frequented by artists who capture its unique beauty on canvas and film. There is an old Opera House in town, built originally to entertain the many thousands of granite workers in the 1800's, which now conducts plays and musical performances throughout the year. There is a fresh water quarry on a near by uninhabited island that is a wonderful place to swim.

Other Activities: campfires on the beach; lobster bakes, Kayaking, Boating, Wildlife Viewing

Amenities

Stonington Lodge Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • lodge
Meals:
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 3600 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM / Check-out: 9:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 25
  • pets considered ...
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only ...
Location Type:
  • Near The Ocean
  • Rural
Theme:
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
General:
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood
  • Internet ...
  • Laundry Soap
  • Linens Provided
  • Parking
  • Parking Off Street
  • Telephone ...
  • Toilet Paper
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Wood Stove
Kitchen:
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Blender
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Lobster Pot
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Stove
  • Toaster
Dining:
  • Dining Area
Bathrooms:
  • 7 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Full 1 - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Full 2 - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Full 3 - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Full 4 - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Full 5 - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Full 6 - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Full 7 - toilet , combination tub/shower
    Half 1 - toilet
Bedrooms:
  • 7 Bedrooms, Sleeps 25
  • Bedroom 1 - 2 twin/ single
    Bedroom 2 - 2 twin/ single
    Bedroom 3 - 2 twin/ single
    Bedroom 4 - 2 twin/ single
    Bedroom 5 - 2 twin/ single
    Bedroom 6 - 4 twin/ single
    Bedroom 7 - 4 twin/ single
Entertainment:
  • Books
  • Books for Kids
  • DVD Player
  • Games ...
  • Music Library
  • Ping Pong Table
  • Radio
  • Stereo
  • Video Library
Outside:
  • Beach Chairs
  • Beach Towels
  • Boat ...
  • Boat with Paddles
  • Child's Swing
  • Crow's Nest
  • Deck / Patio
  • Golf ...
  • Golf Cart
  • Golf Clubs
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Outdoor Grill Gas
  • Walkway to Water
  • Wood Deck
Suitability:
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Attractions:
  • cinemas
  • forests
  • library
  • live theater
  • museums
  • pond
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • whale watching
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundromat
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • deepsea fishing
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • jet skiing
  • mountaineering
  • pier fishing
  • sailing
  • snorkeling
  • sound/bay fishing
  • swimming
  • wind-surfing
Notes:
Some fun things to do include: intra-island or even inter-island capture the flag; camp fires on the beach; sleeping in tents near the shore; exploring other islands in the area; dressing up as pirates to entertain your children (pirate clothing provided); hiding 'pirate treasure' on the island for children to hunt for; use the kayaks provided to explore the area; charter a larger power boat for local or long distant excursions; drive golf balls out into the water at high tide on the beach and collect them at low tide to do it all over again (golf balls and clubs provided)...

Reviews

Exceptional! 5/5 -
(17 traveler reviews)

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Spruce Island - A Private island for large or small gatherings
average rating of 5.0 based on 24 reviews
5

Kayaker's Dream Home Base

  • 5 of 5

We were a large kayak group that used Spruce Island as a base to paddle around the Stonington Archipelago. The set up here is very practical with one Main gathering house and a separate house where most of the bedrooms are (each with a separate bathroom). It's great because so many rental put in Queen beds which if you have a group of single people isn't so practical. There are a lot of other practical amenities such as a large scale composting system, outdoor burners, big projection system and a tickle trunk full of costumes! I would consider the island a bit of an eco-retreat as it is essentially off grid. This means you have to respect your use of power, water and where you dispose of your waste. This may not be for everyone but it was right up our alley.

Pros

Colie's communication and ability to shuttle large groups over to the island; the amount of space on the island to explore and to enjoy; composting system; bedroom configuration; wolf gas stove; off-grid for the eco types.

Cons

Oven is a bit small and only 1 fridge plus small bar fridge (if you're staying for a full week and have 18 people - make sure you plan accordingly); wi-fi is capped which gets used up quickly especially if people have settings on their devices automatically uploading pictures (there is definitely something to be said about not using it completely); there were also some fees that popped up at the end that you should sort out before hand so it isn't a surprise.

The island should cater to all kinds of groups but if you belong to a sea kayak club - you should try to come out here outside of summer and paddle.

  • Submitted: Sep 21, 2017
  • Stayed: Sep 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for the thoughtful review. The oven is a 24” GE wall oven (model JGRP20SENSS) measuring (on the inside) 17“ wide x 15“ high x 18.5“ deep, and has two adjustable racks. It is small and will limit how much you can produce if you want to do a lot of baking and roasting. But I've had only a couple of comments about the oven over the 7 years we have rented the island. This year a wedding party with 30 guests was able to bake a four-layered wedding cake. The refrigerator is an Amana with French Doors (model AFD2535FES). It has a 17.3 cubic foot refrigerator and a 7.5 cubic foot freezer draw below. The under-counter refrigerator is Marvel (model 61ARMBSFL) with 6.1 cubic feet and dimensions of 24.25”x34”x 24”. Most larger groups of 16 or more people do make one or two trips to town for groceries during a week. Most rent one of the outboard motor boats we offer for that purpose, and others hire us to take them to town. Hughes Net upgraded the internet speed this year to 25-50MB download which means you can burn through a lot of data. They give me 50GB a month on the plan, so I allow one quarter of that (12.5GB) per week for free. If we go over 50GB a month, they charge me $3 per GB. So if a group exceeds the 12.5GB, I pass the $3/GB charge through to them. I need to pass that through because data usage can get out of control and very costly if people do not manage their usage. In addition to internet charges, I pass through credit card fees, including international credit card fees, that I am charged if a guest uses a credit card to pay for the rental. Guests can avoid these fees if they pay by E-Check. Unfortunately for these guests who were from Canada, the Home Away E-Check method of payment does not work for international travelers. So they were forced to use a credit card and could not avoid the credit card fees. I have complained to Home Away about this. But Home Away may not have much control over it as it is an international banking issue. Fees charged at the end of the rental are covered in the rental agreement and I encourage guests to read that document carefully before deciding to rent the island. Other than internet charges and credit card fees, I charge for the golf cart use at the end of the rental.
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5

Rustic Family Retreat

  • 5 of 5

For those looking for peaceful privacy, Spruce Island is paradise. Large groups can be housed in comfort and privacy. The island is ringed by granite ledges that make every walk an adventure and the trails through the interior woods are cool and mysterious (in a good way). The main house and bunk house are simple but well equipped and maintained. Plenty of toys are on offer and transportation to and from the island is not an issue as long as you plan ahead. Two different beaches are accessible to take advantage of varying weather conditions and there is even a second island thrown in for the price of the first.

  • Submitted: Aug 23, 2017
  • Stayed: Jul 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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5

Amazing family adventure

  • 5 of 5

We truly felt that we had escaped the modern world on this beautiful island. The owner has managed all of the logistical details incredibly, making it easy to get the the island and even providing fantastic kayak training for the adults. Our first day we circumnavigated the island on foot....8 adults, 10 children of all ages, and one intrepid dog. We jumped into the ocean from the rocks on the "dock", and explored the fern forest and wooded trails. On other days we ventured over to Green Island in the motorboat and kayaks to jump into an incredible fresh water quarry, fished for mackerel, sailed and spent hours on the beach looking for seaglass and shells. The houses were perfectly laid out for multiple families, with an enormous table and large open kitchen. The adults were especially grateful for the coffee making set up! The bunk house was cozy and clean, with room for all. We enjoyed wood stove fires on cold mornings, used the fire pit almost every night to make s'mores and sit under the stars, and simply couldn't believe our luck. This is a magical spot for an incredible family adventure.

  • Submitted: Jul 25, 2017
  • Stayed: Jul 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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5

This is a wonderful site for a thorough immersion inthe glories of coastal Maine

  • 5 of 5

We had our whole family (4 kids plus their kids ranging from 9 to 24) and spent a ful week enjoying the Island and surrounding areas. We were somewhat limited by having several foggy days, which restricted the fun of leaving the island but had minimal impact on enjoying the75+ acres that were ours alone. The accomodations are remarkably well set up for a group of our size. We hired a cook for the stay and I would highly recommend that you try to do so also, because this freed up people to just enjoy themselves . Colie, the owner was very helpful in many ways and can provide the contact for the cook. Overall this was a week that we all will remember with great fondness.

  • Submitted: Jun 27, 2017
  • Stayed: Jun 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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5

a fabulous week !

  • 5 of 5

While not inexpensive, it is not "pricey". Collie has included so many amenities that added to our wonderful week: from the 3 boat trips to get all of the food & gear for 15 people (8 adults, 7 children) over to the island & back. The 4 kayakers in our party had excellent safety training from a top notch professional trip leader. We had a very complete orientation from Collie on the ins & outs of living off the grid. We rented his ATV to enable the 77 year old with physical challenges to enjoy her stay - there even were 2 gardens planted with veggies & herbs for the picking. We also rented a small outboard boat that let the fisher-people catch our fill of mackerel, with a 6-hook mackerel jig we had our fill of fish. The 5 stars are very well deserved !

  • Submitted: Jul 12, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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5

Excellent,five stars

  • 5 of 5

Excellent ! An experience and memories we shared with some of our children and grandchildren that we all will never forget. Hated leaving, miss being there, and would love to return. The best of long summer days. Hikes through the woods, exploring the shore, bright stars,napping in a hammock, seal watching, lobster boil, camp fires, games, the sounds of busy lobster boats . The kitchen is well stocked with anything you need to prepare meals. Beds and bedding were fresh and clean. The house itself was beautifully simplistic and offers much to learn.

  • Submitted: Jun 28, 2016
  • Stayed: Jun 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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Photos

Rates & Availability

Available
Unavailable
Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Additional Guest Fee $51 per person per night
Pet Fee $150
Damage Insurance $99
Damage Deposit $1,000

Electric golf cart rental (optional) charged at $10/KWH electricity used. Taken out of damage deposit.
Small 10' inflatable outboard boat rental (optional) $400/week.
Large 18' inflatable outboard boat rental (optional) $750/week.
Summer rates are for up to 18 people.
Groups larger than 18 are possible; ask for details.
2.5% fee on credit/debit card pmts
12.5GB of free data allowance per week on internet. Additional usage charged at $3 per each 1 additional GB.
Dog fee of $150 PER DOG.

Manager's Cancellation Policy

  • Canceled bookings will not receive a refund

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