June 15, 2013
The "Big Infrastructure Project of 2013," mentioned in previous newsletters over the past year, is finally done! Unfortunately, the project ended up disturbing a very large part of our large expanses of luscious green grass -- the fields here at Harborfields. They've been re-graded, covered with new loam, seeded and mulched, and now the grass is starting to fill back in. But it will take some time, well into the summer, for every thing to grow back and the ground to set up, so we would very much appreciate your cooperation in keeping off the "fresh ground.' For those of you staying in the Shore Cottage, we ask you not to drive all the way down to your cottage this year, as you may have in the past, but rather to use the Terrace/Hillside driveway or park in the graveled area by Wharf Cottage and walk down.
The backstory: When the cottages were first built, the standard practice of the day was to pipe the waste water directly into the harbor and let the tide carry it away. With the passage of the Clean Water Act decades ago, such direct discharges were no longer acceptable, so in keeping with the new regulations Harborfields installed several 'Overboard Discharge Treatment Systems,' also known as OBD's. These treat the waste water, filtering and disinfecting it before discharging to the harbor. The systems have been effective, and many have noticed improved clarity of the water in the harbor compared to "the old days.'
The OBD's are licensed by the State and subject to regular inspection and periodic license renewal. However, the State's stance on license renewals is that if there is a technologically viable alternative to overboard discharge, for example subsurface disposal on land through a septic system and leach field or connection to a municipal sewer system, then you should do that instead of discharging overboard. Technology is always advancing, so the OBD system that was serving the Lodge, Hillside, Terrace, Shore, Wharf, and Rock cottages has now been replaced with an on-land subsurface disposal system. The waste water from these cottages still collects in a septic tank by Shore Cottage, just as it did, but now it is pumped over the hill to a large state-of-the-art leach field, using the latest water distribution technology, in the field south of the 1780 Farmhouse.
The Deck and Pine Cottages are still served by an OBD system, which is licensed until 2015. When that license comes up, we anticipate building another, much smaller, leach field. The 1780 Farmhouse and the Main House (including the Captain's Quarters) each have their own existing subsurface disposal systems.
This is all to explain that the signs over the toilets telling you what can and cannot be flushed have real meaning, as does the note about running toilets and dripping faucets (too much water could end up swamping the leach fields, ruining them). We encourage water conservation just as a general principle, but it is doubly important here and now. To that end, we are contemplating replacing all of the old toilets here at Harborfields with modern ones that use much less water per flush than what are currently in most of the cottages.
While we had equipment on site for the "Big Infrastructure Project," we had the contractors expand the south lawn of the 1780 Farmhouse. Why, you ask? So it would make a great place to set up a tent for a wedding reception, looking out over the Boothbay Region Land Trust's Thorpe Preserve and our "Back Cove!" Yes, we are open to hosting weddings and other special events here at Harborfields. Find out more on our website at http://www.harborfields.com/Weddings.html, where we've put together several ideas for possible wedding packages. If you know anyone looking for a Maine destination wedding venue, have them contact us. We would love to give them a tour!
In other news, Harborfields has partnered with a new business in town, West Harbor Recreation Inc., who will be offering boat rentals to cottage guests and the general public from the Harborfields dock. WHR currently has two boats in its fleet, a 21-foot sailboat and a 16-foot outboard skiff, both of which may look familiar. You can find out more about WHR on the web at http://www.WestHarborRecreation.com/, or on facebook at http://facebook.com/WestHarborRecreation
If you would like to rent kayaks, we refer you to Tidal Transit over in town (http://www.kayakboothbay.com/). If you rent the kayaks for three days or more, they will deliver them over here to Harborfields for you (and pick them up again at the end of your rental).
Harborfields does have two rowboats that are available for guests to use, free of charge, and at your own risk. You can identify them by the green painted oars. (Note that all of the other dinghys at the dock are private.) Life jackets can be found in the dock box; children under the age of 12 are required to be wearing theirs by State law.
Advance reservations for the summer have been very good -- Thank you to all of our returning guests as well as those who will be coming to Harborfields for the first time this year. While we are ahead of where we were last year at this time, that doesn't mean that it is too late to get a spot -- as of this writing (June 15), we do still have some availability for the summer:
September remains one of the best times of year to experience the coast of Maine, and September at Harborfields is still largely wide-open. We remain open well into October, as well. Our rates are reduced in the fall, and we'll accept reservations for stays as short as only two nights as well.
One final note: while the political jousting between the legislature and the Governor isn't over yet, the State of Maine appears poised to raise the lodging tax to 8% (up 1 from 7), but probably not to take effect until October 1. When the dust does finally settle, we will send revised invoices to any guests whose reservations might be subject to a new tax rate.
Wishng you all the best, and looking forward to seeing many of you this summer,
Tim, Wendy, and Bennett
The Harborfields Herald newsletter is published annually in the fall, with maybe a few other short updates in the winter, spring, and summer. You can subscribe here: http://thorpeallen.net/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi/list/harborfields
PO Box 524
West Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04575