Harborfields Cottages, on the shore in West Boothbay Harbor, is now under new management. Wendy Thorpe Allen, along with her husband Tim, have assumed responsibility for the operation and management of the business following the close of the 2011 season in October.
Wendy is the grand-daughter of Harborfields’ founders, Dick and Peggy Thorpe. The Harborfields business began in 1948, although the property has been in the Thorpe family since 1832. Since Peggy Thorpe’s passing in 1984, Harborfields has had several managers, with Barbara and Rick Prose having served in that capacity since 1999. The Proses have now moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Barbara has accepted a position as Assistant Minister at the All Souls Unitarian Church, the largest UU church in North America.
Rick offers the following parting words:
It is with much sadness - and many fond memories - that Barbara and I announce our departure from Harborfields at the end of the 2011 season. For the past 13 years Harborfields has been our home, our jobs, the place where our kids grew up and a place that we will dearly miss. Barbara has taken a job as Assistant Pastor at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Tulsa, OK, and, since the girls are out of the house, I figured there was no reason I shouldn't join her. We will miss seeing the sun rise over the harbor through our front door, breathing the salt air and being able to jump in a sailboat whenever we feel like it, but, we will not have to shovel snow, rake leaves or listen to the wind whistle through the house in the teeth of a north-easter, so we've got that goin' for us, which is nice, to paraphrase Carl Spackler.
We want to thank the Thorpe family for trusting us to take over their family business and then giving us the support we needed to make the place better, without changing the rustic character of the enterprise. Rick Thorpe, Barbara and I all felt that the fact that Harborfields stubbornly held to its retro values - no phone, no TV, etc. - would attract a more interesting clientele, and none of us was proved wrong over the years. As we let guests know of our imminent move this past season we kept hearing, “Oh, the place won't be the same without you.” But, you know what? Harborfields has always reflected the needs, wants and interests of the guests more than the character of the managers, or it has at least been a 50/50 proposition and we've met each other in the middle. And, thus, it has made the experience of running this place feel like a kind of funky collaborative experiment in alternative community, if only on a seasonal basis.
With new blood comes new energy, and we're sure that Wendy, Tim and Bennett will continue to make things better and better. So, with that, we bid adieu to all the friends we've made over the years and hope to see at least some of you in the future when we return to Boothbay Harbor.
Rick will continue to develop his new business venture, manufacturing and marketing wooden bumper stickers, woodiwoodi.com -- we’ll have some for sale in the Harborfields office. For those who might like to stay in touch, you can reach Barbara and Rick by e-mail at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
All of us in the Thorpe family -- Rick, Patricia, Nick, Wendy, Tim, and Bennett -- want to thank the Proses for all they’ve done for Harborfields over the years.
So, now, you might be wondering, what big changes are these new managers Wendy and Tim going to make for 2012? Well, hopefully nothing too, too radical, but we do have some changes we need to make...
Harborfields’ insurance company is making us raise and child-proof the railings around the decks of some of the cottages. We will try to do this in a way that minimizes (or even improves) the visual impact on the wonderful water views from these decks. As we make progress on this and other projects, we’ll be posting updates on the Harborfields facebook page.
The insurance company is also requiring us to introduce some formalities into our reservation and check-in process. As always, our goal remains for you to have a simple, relaxing, enjoyable Maine vacation with us, but please take some time to review our new terms and conditions and rental agreement, available on the Harborfields website. Hopefully, nothing in there will be a surprise, but let us know if you have any questions, concerns or other comments.
Speaking of reservations, we will begin accepting reservation requests for the 2012 season from returning guests immediately! Please contact us at email@example.com as soon as you can (you can also call us at 207-633-5082, although e-mail is probably easiest). As usual, we need a deposit of 25% of the rental fee to confirm the reservation (send to Harborfields, Inc., PO Box 524, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575), but even if you are not quite ready to pay the deposit, we would like to know what your intentions are, so we can at least pencil you in tentatively. Our peak summer rates for 2012 will be going up slightly (about 3%), but not until January 1, 2012 -- if you confirm your reservation with an appropriate deposit before then, it will be at the same rates as 2011! (While rates for July and August, 2012, are going up slightly, June and September rates will be held at 2011 levels, while May and October rates will actually decrease!)
As you make your summer vacation plans for 2012, you might like to know that the Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat races are scheduled for June 16, with Windjammer Days set for June 26th and 27th. In addition, there are a lot of great events planned for Memorial Day weekend as well.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, not all of our guests are able to return year after year, so we are always on the lookout for new guests who might appreciate what Harborfields has to offer. It seems to us that one of the best ways to convey what is special about Harborfields is word-of-mouth from those who have been here—like you! To that end, if you are willing -- perhaps in the spirit of that funky collaborative experiment in alternative community that Rick P. mentioned -- we would like to encourage you to consider (1) submitting a review to one or more online review sites (see suggested links below), (2) joining our Facebook page and sharing your own photos, recommendations on things to do in the area, and vacation stories, and/or (3) referring others to us -- we will happily send you as many of our new business cards and/or brochures as you might like to distribute. As a further incentive, we are offering $50 to any returning guests that refer a new guest who books a week-long stay during the months of May, June, September or October. We will begin accepting reservations from new guests February 1st, 2012, or as soon as we’ve got the returnees sorted out, whichever is earlier.
OK, so now a little about us: Wendy was born and raised in Maine. At Yarmouth high school, she was a standout athlete in skiing and track. She has a degree in Graphic Arts, and worked doing pre-press in the commercial printing industry for over 20 years, evolving with changes in technology from manually stripping flats and burning plates to all-digital direct-to-plate processes. Currently, Wendy is a potter producing functional & appealing hand-thrown stoneware pottery that she sells at fall craft fairs in New Hampshire—-and on the front porch at Harborfields—-as well as through her website. She spends her winters teaching skiing at Granite Gorge Ski Area in Keene, New Hampshire.
Tim is "from away"—-he grew up in New Hampshire. Tim studied Geology in college and graduate school, which has taken him to some far-flung corners of the world. Currently, Tim is a Professor of Environmental Studies, and Chair of the Department, at Keene State College (Keene, NH), where he has taught since 1992. After renovating the boat himself, Tim, Wendy, and Bennett have been sailing their Peterson 34 sloop GREYHAWK on the Gulf of Maine Ocean Racing Association circuit for the past several years. They also raced GREYHAWK to Bermuda and back in the 2011 Bermuda One-Two Yacht Race.
Wendy and Tim’s thirteen-year-old son Bennett is a student in 8th grade at the Keene Middle School and enjoys skiing and trick riding on his scooter. For the next few years Wendy, Tim and Bennett, along with their dog Tahoe and cat Scamper, expect to divide their time between West Boothbay Harbor and Keene. But you can always reach us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 207-633-5082 (call forwarding works wonders), and by regular mail at Harborfields, Inc., PO Box 524, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575.
Wishing you all the best,
Wendy, Tim and Bennett
Here are the suggested sites for posting reviews of Harborfields Cottages (you do have to be a registered member of these sites to post to them, though):
The Harborfields Herald newsletter is published annually in the fall, with maybe a few other short updates in the winter, spring, and early summer.
PO Box 524
West Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04575