became Vacationland, it was considered to be a health spa as early as 1837. The
Boothbay Region was said to be the “Favorite resort for invalids during the
summer season on account of the purity of the air and the facilities for bathing
in the clear sea water.”
There were no automatically granted vacations then.
The idea of maintaining a house just for summer use was unheard of.
At first, refugees from hot city summers boarded with families who had an
extra bedroom or two. Boarding houses grew from small beginnings to flourishing
businesses. Families who had taken
paying guests into their homes saw the inherent possibilities and expanded their
facilities to accommodate many more. Some expanded into small hotels.
These early years of the 20th Century were
halcyon days. As soon as school
closed, families packed huge trunks to last for at least two months. They
The men of the visiting families, after seeing that their
wives and children were comfortably situated, returned to the city, They
commuted to Southport
on weekends as regularly as they commuted to work.
Members of the host family did the cooking.
At mealtime a large hand bell was rung to call guests to the table. The
meals were sumptuous. Breakfast began with cereal doused with cream from the
family cow. It proceeded through
fish cakes, baked beans, bacon and eggs to mince pie. Dinner, which was served
, usually began with clam chowder or lobster stew, which was followed by a meat
roast, chicken or fish and fresh biscuits and a huge platter of cold lobster
For amusement, guests would row around the harbors and
coves or “travel” miles in rocking chairs on the piazzas. There were
motorboat rides for those who enjoyed them, and walks to the Post Office to send
cards to friends saying, “Having a
wonderful time, Wish you were here.”
When automobiles became common, boarding houses went out of
business. People became more mobile, and developed a great desire to see what
was around the next curve. Motels took over.
In the 1930’s the museum building was used as a boarding house. Washbowls were placed in each bedroom. There was only one bathroom and that was downstairs. To answer an urgent call in the night it was necessary to creep silently and dangerously down the steep, dark stairs or use the “thunder mugs” still displayed under the beds
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