Imagine being picked up in the small fishing village of Port Clyde, Maine, riding just 3 miles out to sea, arriving on a magnificent 110-acre private island and finding yourself transported back to a simpler time when life had fewer distractions and a slower pace. As you step into the beautiful historic buildings, you find them filled with items and furnishings dating from the 1920s.
Some secrets I can keep, while others, though clung to, are too tempting not to share. McGee’s Island falls within the latter. First I’ll say that for years, I’ve sought the perfect refuge—I’ve found a few, near and far, but at the apex of all of them, rests boldly and with all the generosity and assurance that grows from truly knowing itself, McGee Island. When I happened upon the listing, I thought it was too good to be true, but I’m telling you now, utopia exists. For two years going on three and with hopes for many more, I’ve held on this enchanting island a writers’ retreat for women called The Salty Quill. For one week each year, we write, eat, walk and share, and when the time comes to leave, without exception each writer departs feeling she has gained something far greater than time and space to write. We leave a part of ourselves, a sense that we have always been known there, a sense of home, a longing that begs return. I don’t know how it happens—perhaps it’s the water, perhaps it’s the wind across the Atlantic, broken and buffeted by Barter Island, or perhaps it’s the walls of a grand home that for over a century has sheltered families and loved ones who’ve journeyed there to find respite, to rediscover the best of themselves, to remember the many ways they love one another. Others on this page have spoken to the countless fine details: the outdoor shower, the extensive library, the grand fieldstone fireplace, the fine linens, the sheltered harbor, the warm fine beds, the deep leather chairs, so many and much it’s foolish to name. Just know that this house has been lived in, cared for, and cherished, and nothing has been forgotten or unattended to. That the family extends to its guests the faith and freedom to wander and live amongst such a treasure trove is akin to a wide open-armed hug from a long lost relative, some place that for all of us we thought was lost and forgotten, some place we can once again, if only for a moment, reclaim. Thank you McGee Island. Je t’aime.
- Pamela Loring, Hull, Massachusetts, United States,
This summer was our second time vacationing on McGee Island and as with our first, it was exceptional!! McGee Island is an extraordinary place to experience a true “Down East” Maine vacation. It’s almost hard to describe what a special place the island is that you have to imagine… • Beautiful vistas, like an Andrew Wyeth painting. • The smell of the cool ocean breeze. • Peace and quiet, only hearing osprey birds and lobster boats in the distance. • Laughter of family having morning coffee on the front porch. • Joy of gathering around a candle lit dinner table to reconnect with family members who live near and far. • Having a heated game of “Trivial Pursuit” around a crackling fire in the living room. • Seeing the “Milky Way” in the night sky and counting all the shooting stars. The Erickson Family, along with Joe the caretaker, has outdone themselves in bringing modern comfort and amenities to their historical family house. It’s amazing to look around at all their family treasures dating back to the early 1920’s, yet sleeping soundly in comfortable beds that have heated mattress pads. Activity wise, here’s what our family enjoyed: • Kayaking around Barter Island. • Swimming off the beach and boat dock. • Hiking and exploring the island – picking raspberries along the way. • Day trip into Rockland and the “Farnsworth Art Museum” — The museum is an unexpected treasure trove of several well-known Wyeth paintings. • Ping-Pong, badminton, board games, puzzles, and giant Jenga contests! Our families will always remember and cherish our time spent on McGee Island. We will certainly be back again soon!!
- Alling | Judy | Tully | Westland, Marblehead, Massachusetts, United States,
McGee Island is an amazing vacation hideaway! The weather and scenery are nothing less than perfect. The houses on the island are beautifully crafted antique structures, and have clearly been very well cared for and maintained. We visited in July and spent our days outside in the sunshine, and our nights in cozy sweaters enjoying the chilly temperatures. We loved hiking around the island, reading in the hammock, cooking in the kitchen house, ping pong tournaments, card games, picnics, and so much more. You can truly be as laid back or as active as you want to be. There is plenty of space in the main house, so you always have access to peace and quiet if you're traveling with a large group. The house is stocked with the primary necessities (leave your coffee maker at home!) and even has Internet and a washer/dryer! Bring your specific toiletries, food/drinks, and anything else you may want or need (remember, you're on an island). This place is a hidden gem, and we will definitely be returning!
- Reedy, Texas, USA,
McGee Island is a perfect getaway from the stress and distractions of modern world without renouncing the comfort of a top resort. Our family & friends enjoyed the exceptional beauty of the island, its wildlife as well as many scenic hikes. For those guests who were looking for additional active pursuits, croquet, bocce ball, swimming, canoeing, target shooting and volleyball added to the allure of this gem of an island.
- Kathinka Tunney, Sun Valley, Idaho, USA,
This island is like no other place in the world. We were 9 adults and 10 kids- ranging from age 3 to 10 years. McGee was heaven for them. An education in itself- from sea glass hunts to timing the high tides- there was so much to do. The islands caretaker Joe was priceless, showing the kids how to lure crabs- as well as calling every single one by name. Not a single "I'm bored" was uttered- without the use of any computers/iPads. It was pretty amazing to see what happens when kids have the independence and surroundings to use their imaginations. Some highlights for the kids were: a bonfire/s'more party, making pretzels, crabbing with joe, picking apples and raspberries on a hike, seeing the stars, flashlight tag, and swimming in the tide pool. How amazing is that? Important fact: everything felt very safe for kids. No steep cliffs or sudden drops to the ocean. All areas felt suitable for their adventures. A place your kids (and you!) will remember forever.
- Amy Westcott , Brooklyn NY, US ,
There are not too many things in life that are perfect. McGee island is perfect. Everything about this island is actually better than what you may have read. A quick and scenic boat ride will get you to the island where eagles fly in for a quick snack, where deer can be seen crossing from one island to the other, where the night sky is busy with stars both bright and shooting while owls provide background music! All of this can be enjoyed from an enormous wraparound porch outfitted with rustic and comfortable Adirondack style chairs. This porch is the centerpiece of McGee, a great place to take it all in and a very difficult place to leave. McGee has three charming houses each offering vintage Maine experiences. The first is the boat house (this getaway has its own kitchen and bath). This dwelling sits so close to the ocean it is almost like being in a boat! And it offers the best seats in the house for ocean views and killer sunrises! Next is the cook house, replete with a dream kitchen a big dining room and more sleeping space. The kitchen table sits facing the ocean where all the activity of the day can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee and a warm fire. Last is the main house. This is the jewel in the crown that is McGee. Time, here in this home, stands still. Walking into this home is like walking under a veil of relaxation. This house changes people, it strips away the hard veneer we hide under in our day to day lives and reminds us what is important; us. Sit by the fireplace, sing by the piano, read a book by the window…McGee teaches you to relax. The most difficult task on McGee, is leaving this island paradise. Go. It will change your life! And be sure to book your next visit before you leave! Kevin Dadoly, A Brush with the Island, Watercolor workshops, L.L.C.
- Kevin, Amherst, NH, USA,
My family and I had an amazing time. Rustic History and modern amenities blend to redefine island rentals. The Island's caretaker is available 24/7, and went out of his way to accommodate us. From lobster, to skeet shooting, to making sure the propane was always full, to advice on what to look for on our walks around the island trail, Joe was top notch! Even on the rainy days, the main house lent itself to relaxing by the huge stone fireplace, playing a few intense rounds of poker, and even letting the kids build a fort out of chairs and blankets. The boathouse is full of maritime and Erickson family history (if you get a tour from Joe), and mealtime was a traditional family affair every night. If you're brave enough, you can swim in the tidal pool (we brought wetsuits) and dive for your own mussles; they were delicious. There's no current to speak of and a dedicated triathlete could easily get their daily open water swims in! The kids can safely kayak with very little anxiety on Mom & Dad's part for sure. There's even a double kayak my daughter and I took a trip around the large island in. If you're a shooting enthusiast, there is a 25-50yd gun range to pop water or soda bottles. Skeet shooting got my whole family interested, and Joe was a gracious trap operator! Every day had it's own flavor, and we enjoyed the opportunity to connect as a family, without the distractions of the outside world. It is definitely a MUST DO again. Thank you to the Ericksons for such an idyllic location, and the oportunity to share in your family's natural history. Sincerely, The Dawson Family.
- Michael Dawson, Parkville, MD, USA,
McGee Island is a very special place and was a wonderful setting for our family to celebrate our parents' 50th anniversary. The owners are absolutely fantastic to work with when planning your get away and provide information on every detail for your trip. Unlike some rentals, everything was as described and pictured and there was absolutely nothing that we were disappointed by upon arrival. The houses and property are stunning. The views that change through the day with the tides and lighting are amazing. We loved the Cook's house with a great kitchen for cooking for a crowd and dining room that accommodated our group of 16. Our group pushed the outdoor cooking with propane burners for lobster to an extreme, having lobster four ways during our stay! The caretaker was great at helping us with our orders for lobster throughout the week. From one year old to 78, all had fun and found plenty to do. The "pool" made for a great place for our younger group to explore and paddle around at low tide when it is almost completely enclosed. And the older crowd enjoyed paddling and hiking around the island. All enjoyed gatherings on the porch, in the big living room at night, and in the Cook's house. We can not recommend this property and the owners as renters enough. You will not be disappointed if you choose McGee for your special vacation.
- Kathryn Peters, Dallas, TX, USA,
Our stay on McGee was one of the best vacation weeks we have spent anywhere. Your family truly has one of the most special homes on the coast of Maine. It is like a time warp of what we knew and loved as children. This property is definitely not for everyone, particularly those who expect amenities consistent with a five star resort. Television, air conditioning, spa services and fine dining are not to be found on McGee Island. Instead, watch the eagles and great blue herons vie for the same tasty morsel swimming in the ocean. Bask in the sea breeze and enjoy the salty spray on your face. Pick mussels at low tide and cook them with lobsters caught that day. Tide pools, kayaks, ping pong, trail hikes, reading on the front porch in a hickory rocker in the sun - all my idea of a five star vacation. Joe, the caretaker, will help you shoot clay pigeons, take you to Port Clyde for an outing to Monhegan Island (fantastic!), pick up lobsters for dinner or leave you alone to discover the island on your own terms. The facilities are authentic and period and amazing and harken back to a time when families were together days and weeks and months, enjoying Maine life. We spent evenings at the cookhouse around the wood stove, preparing feasts and drinking wine. After dinner we retired to the main house, lit a roaring fire, sipped rum and enjoyed being together until we could no longer stay awake. Thank you for sharing your special home with our two grateful families. We look forward to returning next year for another magical week on McGee Island.
- Susan Copeland, Quechee, VT, USA,
Our family tries to vacation together every few years and this year was an exceptional challenge with the addition of four children ages 3 and under and extended family members who wanted to join in the fun. Looking for a place to accommodated 20 family members from ages 85 to 1 was daunting. McGee Island was the jewel that we were looking for. The owners were wonderful to work with and answered our many questions cheerfully and promptly. On McGee, there was something to do for all ages. Daytime was full of island adventures and the evenings were spent in the Main House living room where we enjoyed drinking wine, laughing, deep conversation and for some, a late nite ping pong game on the huge porch! One rainy day, in the middle of our week, was a surprisingly welcomed, relaxing day spent in front of a comfy fire. Joe, the caretaker of McGee, was always accommodating especially since it seemed that we always had someone coming or going from the island. He was helpful, always available but never intrusive. If you are looking for a place to relax, reconnect and have a great time on an era gone by family vacation this is the right spot!! McGee Island is for you!
- Cathy Zink, NewMarket, NH, USA,
We were a group of 19. This was a reunion of my sister's and my families: 12 adults and 7 little ones (ranging in age from almost 1 to 12) - and the first time the little ones (the 2nd cousins) had ever met one another ... also, the first time in 9 years that my sister's twin boys and my two girls had the opportunity to see one another since a wedding 9 years ago! A special occasion for all of us to say the least - what a perfect venue and situation in which to do so! A few comments from our crew:
We celebrated a mega-reunion, a 43rd anniversary and a proposal/acceptance while on island ... McGee was the PERFECT venue to experience and share this all!! Don't miss it - book it!
I should also mention that Joe, the Caretaker, is a great and very competent guy who will ensure your needs and wants are taken care of!
Enjoy McGee ... I'm just trying to figure out how and when to orchestrate a return!!
- Steven, Yorktown, VA, USA,
Thank you so much for an amazing vacation. We had so much fun, very relaxing and what a great escape from the world. The evening dinners at the cook house were a treat, great time had by all. The kids never got bored and our morning coffee on the main house deck were priceless. We'll definitely come back next year, thanks again!
- Brian Percox, Austin, Texas, USA,
What a very special place! Not only is the physical setting extraordinary, but each room of the house is beautiful --views, lovely fabrics, comfortable furniture and beds. We loved it. From the beginning, the owners were so helpful and accommodating while we were planning. Toward the end of our stay we had a family olympics: best time kayaking around Barter Island, walking around McGee, swimming to Barter and back, and best scores in croquet and shooting. I can't claim that everyone participated because there were those who fell in love at first sight with the front porch of the main house and only moved from there when they had to.
The cook house is amazingly well done, and we are a family of cooks. We found everything we needed to cook big family feasts. Of course we had lobster several times --and steamers. Don was more than great, getting the lobsters and clams, teaching several people how to shoot, giving us tours as well as extra butter; and each day he managed to do something that made our stay a little greater. I can't capture all of the wonderful things about being here, but every member of my family appreciated how lucky we were to have this fantastic experience on this beautiful island.
- Linda D., 08/17/13
We were looking for a place to take our family to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. When I found McGee Island on line it seemed like the perfect spot. Little did we know what a treasure we had found.
The McGee Island home was built as a cottage between 1912-1915. The house reflects the era. It is filled with furnishings of the time along with updates in bedrooms, kitchen and added showers along with footed tubs so inviting for a long soak.
There are several hiking trails to test your agility, kayaking, swimming,outdoor games and a wonderful porch for lounging, reading or painting the magnificent scenery, Beach combing and collecting sea creatures delighted the youngest members. At night the sky was aglow with myriad stars and even many falling stars. In the early morning the sunrise was a treat to awaken us.
Our family loves to cook and found the kitchen a great place to create tempting dishes to eat inside or outside by the grill. The caretaker, Don, was so helpful and was available to answer any questions and brought us fresh lobster and fish to cook. We could have gone to the mainland but never felt the need. It was the most relaxing, invigorating vacation that each one enjoyed. We left with many beautiful memories and a wish to return.
- Ernie, Maine, 08/13
This was one of the best vacations I have ever had - in large part due to the wonders of McGees Island. The owners were kind, accommodating, responsive, and the properties themselves were charming. Think, Moonrise Kingdom.
I spent a week there with family and friends to celebrate my 40th birthday, and we are all planning to come back - it was pure joy.
- Tustra, United States, 07/09/13
Where to start. Our time on McGee was perfect. Despite arriving in a downpour, getting to the island went very smooth. We were met at the dock by the very helpful and enjoyable caretaker who helped us load the boat so our luggage wouldn't get wet. As we pulled into McGee not even the weather could disguise the beauty of the island. My husband and I were thrilled.
We'd rented the island to host our wedding and upon arriving knew it'd be everything we could have wanted. The weather varied from sunny and warm to rainy and brisk but the houses were well appointed to keep us comfortable. Each bedroom is as described and perfect for guests. We spent the week enjoying the island. Activities ranged from kayaking around the island to relaxing in the wood fired sauna.
There us really no need to leave, but we did enjoy an afternoon off island to pick up our marriage license. The caretaker gave us great advice on where to find a good market, flowers, and pies. He even picked up our flowers for us the next day. Both the owners (who are lovely) and the caretaker worked with us to make sure our wedding day was what we envisioned.
We scheduled a boat to pick up our guests who arrived and were as enchanted with the island as we were. While there are many beautiful spots to get married on the island we chose the front porch of the main house overlooking the water and neighboring island. We enjoyed dinner under the porch, a big fire, and the most beautiful sky of stars.
Everything you could need is provided. Extra blankets, flashlights, and shampoo/conditioner were most appreciated. We recommend visiting McGee to everyone and will definitely be back! Thank you to the caretaker, Don, for all his hard work and to the Ericksons for making such a wonderful place available to enjoy!
- Gloucester, MA, US, 08/31/12
Our week on the island was spectacular! Everything from the house to the island scenery to the kayaking, hiking, swimming, and kitchen facilities were great! The caretaker Don was very accommodating and well organized as we had groups of people leaving and arriving on several different days. He and his girlfriend even attended our wedding ceremony and were so thoughtful to burn a cd of photos they had taken of the event. We also appreciated the isolation and lack of television on the island, although cell phone service was available in the main house, most of us turned off our phones and spent more time visiting with each other, playing games and exploring the island and old house. Our dog also loved the island as he was able to run off leash the entire trip; he also got along well with Don's dog Scout. We hope to be able to return in the future and spending more quality time with friends and family!
- sally, New York, NY, 08/31/12
Our families (six in total) come from the suburbs in Connecticut; in October, our neighborhoods bring honey crisp and jona gold apples, pumpkin carvings, and a crisp air that carries a memory of summer and a foreboding of winter. Our families, with children of different ages and various jobs that occupy our days (and sometimes weekends), are busy balancing our family lives and our professional ones. Columbus weekend, however, allowed our group to celebrate many things: the long weekend, the striking New England fall, and of course, our families. In short, we came to McGee Island to cherish that absolutely precious time with our loved ones; we left with stunning memories of watching the sun rise across the Atlantic horizon (those colors that streaked across the sky), hiking through the brush and trees along the sea breeze and mountain ash, and mostly importantly, with memories of laughing and cooking and talking late into the cool evenings.
Beginning from the boat ride at the Pier until the very last sunrise we saw, McGee Island offered one surprise after another. The entire experience was layered: from picking mussels on the seaweed beds, to hiking along the windblown trees, to watching our kids try to “fish for crabs and lobsters”, to kayaking at sunset, and finally, to discovering the beauty of the home and estate. Every turn in the house offered a surprise: the old books that lined the shelves, the pictures drawn in the study from 1977, the newspapers of the First World War in the attic, the old grand piano which our kids played on in the evenings (it is the most spectacular place to listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata while the ocean is gentle outside, and we are quietly talking inside with our children playing with the board games on the living room floor). As for the island, we were greeted with treasures that allowed every single person to be marveled and excited, from four-year-olds playing “find the crab!” to the adults boating around the island to the teenagers playing volleyball out on the lawn. In that respect, McGee Island was timeless for us, offering something for everyone.
As for McGee in October? When is New England more magical other than the fall when the leaves light and dance with the fires of yellow, orange, red and sienna? For us, this weekend was a reprise of summer, as we were lucky with 75 degree weather (I had dug up old shorts which I thought wouldn’t see daylight until April again) that allowed for some splashing.
- Lei X., 10/13/11
So exciting to experience a vacation that lives up to it's expectations and much more. As a member of a large family of 28 (ages 2 to 72 ) planing a vacation that can accommadate the many different needs, wants, likes and dislikes of all can be challenging but Mcgee island came in far above the mark. As a family we have done many actives in the past and what makes this the best EVER is the location, setting, and layout. Being on the island creates an adventure all its own. Far enough away from the distractions of every day life but close enough if needed (we needed for nothing). From sunrises to sunsets to star gazing to kayaking to walking the trails, the island provides it's own entertainment for all. The layout of the property creates a wonderful combination of inclusion, privacy and togetherness. Whether you like to sit on the deck of the main house and watch the going ons of the day( a favorite of ALL ages even if they wouldn't admit such) or take advantage of the tidal pool and all it has to offer during its ever changing tidal flow, you feel like you are always part of the actives. We loved the uniqueness of the three houses. The main house with it's picture perfect location and plenty of room for all provided endless hours of family fun in the fire place living room and quite the trip down memory lane with all the pictures and old relics. The cook house was ideal. A common meeting place for the early risers looking for that first cup of coffee or sleepy heads hoping for some left over breakfast. The fully equipped kitchen and extra large dinning room table made for some of the best family style dinners EVER. The boat house was so charming a toss up between a quiet get away, girls/boys night out or the cutest family suite. From lobster feast to volleyball matches, to kite flying, to high tide jumps off the dock ( yes the water's cold) there's something for everyone. If you are looking to make real memories and know what the word "fun" in "functional" means, then this is the best place for your next vacation. So worth it!
Our family re-union on McGee Island was a fabulous success easily and comfortably accommodating the 23 family members that attended. Our re-union consists of a tight group of cousins and their children that some 15 years ago embarked on set schedule of re-uniting every three years so we don't lose touch with each other. While perhaps having regular re-unions is not so unique the locations we attend are. We have been to The Hamptons, Italy, Outerbanks, Austria (Alps) and now off the coast of Maine on McGee Island. Each re-union has been memorable but what truly makes our stay on McGee stand out from the others was the Main House, Don the caretaker and the spectacular Maine scenery. What made the Main House so special for us was the instant flashback of memories it triggered from our collective youth resembling a house that three of the cousins grew up in and where the remainder of us of spent as much time as we could learning about life. Perhaps difficult to put into words others would appreciate but suffice it say, there was just something "oh so special" about the Main House. The island and the Maine scenery is spectacular and cannot be overstated on how magnificent it is. Finally, ............ there's Don. Don is quite the character and I'm not sure what we would have done without him there making sure everything was perfect for us. Each morning as we awoke we would sit on the porch waiting patiently knowing our day would truly begin with the start of Don's little tractor. Sure enough along he would come finding the right time to check in on us and the island amenities. Should you visit McGee please take the time to chat with Don about Maine, the history of McGee Island and where/how to buy those fabulous Maine lobstaah. (that was for you Don. We loved your New England accent. All this to say............. We highly recommend McGee Island. Go and you will not be disappointed.
- Ricky, Vancouver, 07/23/11
The Recipe for the Perfect Family Vacation
Cook for about a week in the cool Maine temperature and you’ll pull out the vacation that the entire family will always refer to as the "that awesome vacation on McGee Island, when are we going again?" Which is actually a great question, for us next year isn’t soon enough.
- Helen & Stuart, Chapel Hill, NC, 06/25/11
Our stay on McGee was a huge success. The Main House was comfortably furnished and easily accommodated us all while providing enough space for people to be off on their own if they wanted some space. We thoroughly enjoyed the evenings in front of the fire, playing games or quietly reading. I loved exploring the house; the wonderful old things, furniture and art work. Everyone loved the outdoor shower! I would say that pictures do not quite capture the magnificence of the place. The Cook House transformation, while not complete when we were there, was very nicely done!! The new eight burner/double oven gas range got some serious use. While the dishwasher was not yet functional; it will be a tremendous asset to have. Some of our most enjoyable times were spent in the Cook House preparing our meals and dining together in the large dining room.
There is something wonderful to see no matter where you are. The magnificent view from the front porch never gets old, the lupines, foxgloves, roses, peonies and the ocean beyond were a constantly changing panorama to enjoy, with bald eagles and ospreys soaring over head, the ducks and a loon in the water and an occasional deer crossing from Barter to McGee. On a walk around the island amazing things are waiting to be discovered; beautiful fields of ferns, seals basking on rocks, fantastic ocean views everywhere, ospreys and their nests. Herons walking across the lawn a few feet from the house, for serious nature lovers this was a magical place! And the stars at night are incredible!!!
The owner’s where very helpful and easy to correspond with, very prompt in replying and answering the many questions I kept coming up with. They obviously put a lot of thought and effort into preparing the property for renters. They also provide a very thorough information package.
I also have to mention, the caretaker; he was a major factor in the success and enjoyment of our stay on McGee. He was very helpful and skilled in working out some of the kinks in the Cook House. He went out of his way to make sure everyone in our party got to do the activities they wanted to get in during our week, kayaking and canoeing, shooting/target practice and giving us a demonstration and instruction in the fine art of fly fishing. He also shared his knowledgeable of the local area and the history of the island.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the week on McGee! It was a complete success and a definite repeat.
Arriving at the McGee Island jetty in thick mist one Saturday lunchtime towards the end of July, after some 24 hours travelling, we felt excited but tired, and somewhat disorientated. The warm but laidback welcome we received, and the immediate comfort of our lodgings created just the right first impression. The next morning, waking to blue skies and clear sunshine, the sheer natural splendour of these beautiful islands and their surroundings washed over us. We were instantly entranced and remained so, as the days flew by.
The views of forest, shore and sea, punctuated by the bright splashes of painted lobster buoys, bobbing in the waves, cast up amongst the rocks or even hanging from the trees, provided a constantly refreshing backdrop to the activities of the week.
From grandmother to toddler, we all seemed to find what we were hoping for. Paddling in clear rock pools, crawling with life, catching a first fish, swimming in the sheltered tidal pool, or striking out around the island, on foot or by kayak, there was always something else to do, or try! And not to forget, a never-quite-ending game of cricket played out on the sweeping lawn below the Main House. It is probably worth noting that the kids never even mentioned the absence of a TV...
We watched ospreys circling above the trees, and then hiking around the far side of the island, came across these magnificent birds on their nests almost within touching distance. One very windy afternoon we watched a deer scramble, leap and swim across the rocks and pools at the northern end of the channel, crossing from McGee to Barter Island – followed shortly by two wild turkeys!
Each of the buildings has its own character and sense of history. The Main House is an extraordinary structure, to me it seemed the epitome of skilled construction and craftsmanship, with an abiding sense of timeless, exacting standards of comfort and style. The Boathouse was, as suggested, a wonderful and no doubt welcome retreat for younger members of the party. The Cookhouse was a loved and homely focus for our gatherings in the evening, cooking, drinking and eating. The long table was also the scene of the culinary highlight of our stay, an 18 lobster supper where, young and old, we got to grips with the art (or science?) of dismantling and downing a well-prepared Maine lobster - another special memory amongst many from this wonderful week.
I can heartily recommend McGee Island as a very special family holiday destination.
- Jim, Essex, UK, 07/24/10
We’ve been visiting this island for over 20 years and this magical place seems almost lost in time. From the minute you hop on the boat that carries you from picturesque Port Clyde to the quiet of the island dock, you enter a world that recalls a time when people really got away from it all. The salt sea breeze, the sounds of harbor traffic and lobster fishermen, the screeches of seagulls and osprey, and the inherent beauty of the Maine landscape become the backdrop for some amazing memories. A week is hardly enough time to appreciate the property and all it has to offer.Our family rituals have evolved over the years. An exploratory hike around the island on the path and rocks at low tide is always the first thing. When our children were young that often turned into a bit of raspberry picking for the evening’s delicious desserts of cobblers or pies. Many favorite rituals seem to be centered around food: gut busting lobster nights; taking a boat ride to a local farm for fresh oyster appetizers; and picking chanterelles on the adjacent island. After dinner, everyone generally retires to the Main House for board games, chess, singalongs with family musical talents, or a good book next to the warm fire.In warmer months, children and braver adults often swim or play in the cold water along the shore of the cove, and end the bracing dip with a little sunbathing on the warm rocks by the boathouse. Treasure hunting for the perfect rock, shell, sand dollar or sea urchin is a favorite activity. The property and landscape are a treasure trove for the shutter bug. And kayaking is an exciting activity for active guests, as well as rounds of volleyball, badmitton or ultimate frisbee. Then there’s croquet and bocce ball for a slower pace. The accommodations are what I would call “rustic elegance”... not fancy, but tasteful and comfortable.This is a beautiful and historical place for people to spend time together, with no schedule, no agenda, no entertainment guide and no catered meals. It takes a certain amount of planning and cooperation but it is an extraordinary place.
- Sarah McNally, Hudson, OH, 10/10/09
Our stay on McGee Island was just wonderful. Each of us, ranging in age from 3 to 75 years, had plenty to do … hiking, canoeing, kayaking, playing games, and exploring the island. Most importantly, we were in a lovely setting without the distractions of everyday life. The slower, simpler pace gave us, both young and old, the time and space to connect and truly enjoy being together. It was the most successful family reunion we've had to date. We all highly recommend it!
- Phyl Harmon, Strafford, VT, 09/23/09
If you want to truly get away from the rush of daily life, McGee Island is the place. McGee is a private island with no one there but those you've invited. Rather than staying in a 5 star hotel,the house on McGee is like being in someone's home---only for the time you are there it's your home. No schedules to follow---no need to wear makeup, no need to dress for dinner. This is a great place for a large family to spend time together---catching up on each other's lives---renewing relationships. There is no TV so you can really escape the world and all it's many intrusions into your life. Those who have been to McGee frequently use the word "magical" and it is just that. Lots of exercise, lots of rest and relaxation, long walks, kayaking,sitting on the deck and reading, cooking great meals together---just wonderful. The house is not for people who need hotel style bathrooms and beds---while immaculate, each room has a special personality, a character of its own. I feel lucky to have stayed on McGee and would go back anytime.
- Mary J. Roberts, Birmingham, MI, 09/12/09