(Dave Sr.) "Our family was truly blessed. My Aunt Claire, a high school teacher from Massachusetts for 40 years, would scrimp and save a few dollars every week so that she could take her extended family – including us kids – to Maine for the entire summer, which she did for many years. She so loved Maine I can say for certain Maine was her “Heaven on Earth”.
Her favorite destination was the tiny beach community known as Ocean Park located in the center of beautiful Saco Bay and a beach known by many as the '7-Mile Strand'."
"The old Polaroid pictures tell a memorable story of a close-knit family enjoying every minute in the various beach cottages we rented in this tiny hamlet. Today, some 55+ years later, as I sit on the same beach, walk the same streets, and recall all good family times we had together, it brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes."
(Dave Jr.) "At the tender age of two I had no idea what it meant to be the fourth generation of our family to visit Maine in the summer. As a youngster, I recall vividly hours spent digging in the sand, playing in the water, and walking barefoot from the beach to the ice cream store.
At some point I came to realize this was a continuation of a decades long tradition. Now my parents were renting the very same house and hosting my Great Aunt and Grandparents. The "buzz" in the house was awesome; and as I grew a little older, and listened to the stories of the past, I came to realize, this is as it has always been.
When I look at the pictures and recall those summer days, I can’t help but think how fortunate I was to experience Maine the same way as my Father did when he was my age, and his Father before that."
(Dave Sr.) My Aunt Claire loved everything about that beach cottage. She rented it for so many years it became "ours", it was special, a unique gathering place for our family where we shared the joys of life together.
The dining room was her most favorite room in the house, it featured large screened windows you could open wide. The scent of pine trees and ocean salts would mingle with the smell of bacon and fresh coffee in the mornings; bright sunshine filtering through the tall pines created a perfect backdrop for family chatter, reminiscing about times past, and discussing what laid ahead. It was idillic.
(Dave Jr.) After a day at the beach, riding bikes, playing tennis, or shuffleboard, you were starving! The adults were busy in the kitchen, my grandmother making her delicious fish chowder; Aunt Claire frying up fresh Haddock; then there was that early season sweet corn and farm fresh tomatoes; and always a huge bowl of Maine Blueberries.
Yet, what I recall most was the atmosphere. There was no stress, no rush, just a happy-go-lucky banter amongst the hustle and bustle of family members pitching in to cook and set the table. Mealtime was special, and the dining room Claire so loved created the perfect social cocoon. It was truly storybook.
(Dave Sr.) We spent many a night around that dining room table, enjoying a leisurely dinner, talking for hours on end, and partaking of our favorite evening pastime, playing bridge.
On movie nights, my Aunt would always have dollar for each of the kids, 50 cents for the movie and 50 cents for an ice cream. Often she would meet us after the movie and we’d all walk to the ice cream parlor, then stroll a few blocks back to our cottage, enjoying the cool night air and the sweet smell of pine burning in cottage fire places.
(Dave Sr.) "Our last night. It had become a ritual now…lobster diner, fish chowder, salad, fresh bread; family crowded around the dining room table. One last game of bridge. One last night around the fireplace where that smell of pine wood burning in the fireplace would be forever ingrained into our memories. In a few hours we will be packing and cleaning...but for now, we were absorbed in the present and the glow of the fireplace.
The next morning always came too soon. We knew what had to be done and we quietly went about it. The kids would take one last walk to the beach as the adults were figuring how to fit everything back into the cars. Then it was our turn. One last glance at the beach, one last deep breadth of the ocean air, and a final silent goodbye...until next year."
(Dave Jr.) "As I look back I can't imagine being anywhere else. The impressions left on me, especially those from my Grandparents who lived in York and Kennebunk, my Great Aunt Claire, and of my summer experiences in Ocean Park, all overwhelm me with happiness. I'm proud as well to have ushered in the 5th generation of our family to Maine, but now, I'm happy to say, we no longer have to pack and go home; Maine is our home."
"What inspires me as much today is the thought of helping other families start or continue their own tradition of vacationing in Maine. It is also the fact that the business is drawing my Father back Maine. Family. It's really what life is all about."