We found a Maine rental with a private beach, inspiring decor, and easy access to as much lobster as you can eat.

By Cathy Still Johnson
April 02, 2007
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn; styling by Tracey Rapisardi

Thank goodness for MapQuest! While this Peabbles Cove rental house is only a short drive from Portland’s Jetport, the twists and turns through city and countryside can easily make you wonder, “Is this the right way?” Sure is. When the black-top turns to gravel, and the heavenly scent of salt air reaches your nose, you’re almost there. One more left turn and it’s home, sweet home—at least for the next week or so.

Owner Charlie Webber grew up in this lobsterman’s cottage at the end of a private enclave, and he didn’t mind the dark-wood interiors. But when the first coat of white paint hit the ceiling, he reveled in the transformation. Thanks to his wife, Lydia, and a designer friend, the interiors now seem as sweet as a slice of local strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Up the front stairs, the wow factor awaits: a living room that embraces open ocean through a plate-glass window so clear it seems you could reach through and touch the waves. A beach, private to this house only, lays out the Atlantic’s treasures. It’s easy to while away hours combing through rounded stones, sea glass, and driftwood for the perfect prize.

Lydia and her sister, Holly Ready—both artists—don’t have to look farther than the cove for inspiration. The cottage serves as their gallery. Lydia stocked the kitchen with her hand-painted, sea-theme glassware, and Holly’s paintings of local scenes adorn the living room and bedrooms.

Although the combination of colors and the arrangement of flea-market finds are pulled together with a designer’s eye, there’s nothing pretentious about this getaway. The Webbers’ thoughtful touches guarantee comfort.

In the master bedroom, a king-size bed with super-soft linens defies any alarm clock, and the pale, rhythmic cast of the distant Portland Head Light makes up for the lack of television in this room. (Don’t worry! The house has two.) A claw-foot tub and separate shower await in the master bath.

If you can drag yourself away from the row of colorful Adirondacks out back, there’s plenty more to see. With two state parks and the throwback communities of Cape Elizabeth and Higgins Beach so close by, it’s easy to fill a week. Add in Portland and you’d better reserve two. You’ll need that much time to hit all the lobster stands, anyway.

(published May 2007)