Sadler House

Sadler House

Rockland, Maine

Plenty About Puffins: Family Fun

When I ask our visiting families what local information I can help them with, they invariably say, “What advice do you have for activities with the kids?” In a world of excessive screen time, it is such a delight for families to discover high quality adventures that are also (gasp) educational. Don’t tell the kids, but they are going to actually absorb quite a bit if they experience the mid coast adventure of learning about Project Puffin.

About Project  Puffin

Project Puffin is an Audubon conservation project that takes place on Eastern Egg Rock and other islands off of the mid coast. A very persistent scientist named Dr. Stephen Kress pioneered an effort in 1973 to bring back the nearly obliterated population of puffins in Maine. It didn’t happen right away, but he and his team eventually achieved a near-miracle, repopulating the area with about a thousand pairs of them, to date. The conservation efforts have also included other endangered seabirds, such as terns. Read more →

Owls Head General Store: MidCoast and Down Home

When you start spending your vacations in the midcoast of Maine, there are just too many things to do and too many places to eat. Especially with a vacation rental to run and maintain, and kids to manage, you just don’t get to all the great local spots fast enough. This generates what I’m beginning to think of as The Secret Slacker Shame. You find yourself getting red-faced all the time because people are raving about the places you still haven’t been, but you don’t want to admit you haven’t been there.

Alright, well, that’s over for us with the Owls Head General Store. Visiting the Owls Head General Store - Maine

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Kid-Friendly Day in Rockland

Parents know that half the battle on vacation is finding things you can do with the kids and still have fun. There are so many kid-friendly activities to do in the mid coast of Maine, but I’ve thrown together an example of a great day you can spend with your kids in Rockland. Choosing just a few activities and restaurants was hard, but here’s a sample of one great day you can plan.
Kid-Friendly Rockland Infographic

 

Food Allergies: Resources for Eating in Rockland

I’m going to say from the beginning that this was a daunting post to put together.

My goal is to provide some helpful tips for guests with food allergies, who are trying to relax and enjoy their time in Rockland. With that said, there are lots of establishments that offer some gluten free, dairy-free, or peanut-free options on their menus. Many others urge diners to share their food restrictions with their server upon arriving at the restaurant, or even before (while making a reservation). I didn’t want this project to overwhelm me, though, and keep me from writing it at all, so here’s how I proceeded. Read more →

5 Tips for a Dreamy Bunk Room

If there’s anything people on Pinterest are crazy for, it’s a bunk room.

But, seriously, why not? Bunk rooms are loved by kids and they can be enormously practical – especially in vacation homes where families are rooming together and flexible sleeping arrangements are needed. I’ve seen countless bunk bed photos pinned to boards with titles like “Our future vacation home,” and I was no different before we furnished Sadler House. When we bought our home, we identified the second largest bedroom as our own future bunk room and immediately started planning.

What followed was a series of lessons-learned that should be heeded by any future bunk room decorator, because there were some logistical issues we never anticipated. As a veteran of the bunk room decorating wars, I share these pearls of wisdom so that you may avoid the mistakes we nearly made! Read more →

Choosing Vacation Rental Furnishings: 5 Tips

All vacation home owners have been dreaming of their homes or apartments since long before they got the keys. If you are one of those people, chances are, whatever place you are able to afford will not be guest-ready the day you close on it. More likely than not, you will have a limited budget to work with, and dreams that are bigger than your resources.

Choosing Vacation Rental FurnishingsAs you start preparing your house for renters, you’re also at the beginning of an unavoidable battle between lavishing all your love and too much money on your new home and being realistic about the parade of guests you’re hoping to bring through your place. As the new love of your life, your vacation home will become a pet project that you have to keep under control. Always remember, with the many guests you’re hoping to host, it will not be the best place for you to put your “forever” furnishings and treasures…just yet.

Don’t despair! Choosing vacation rental furnishings and the foundation colors of your home can be fun, satisfying and practical. Although every home and situation is different, as a recent veteran of this war between wishes and needs, I want to share a few lessons I’ve learned, to help you get through this important time in planning the basic foundation for your vacation rental success. Read more →

Free “No Smoking” Printable

As a vacation home owner, you are prepared for a lot. You choose furniture you can bear to part with. You ensure that your linens are replaceable and that nothing in your home is so precious that you will cry if it’s destroyed. Every devoted rental owner has to walk that fine line between providing a wonderful guest experience and acknowledging they have to be tough, because accidents and inconsiderate guests are bound to happen.

Free Printable of No Smoking Sign

For non-smoking families, however, there is really no preparation for how upset you are going to be when a guest breaks your policies and smokes in your home. Beyond the emotional distress of finding your beloved house smelling of of smoke, there are many cleaning tasks that become necessary and which also come at great cost.

Make Your Policy (Politely) Clear

Even though I have always emphatically stated in our listings and in our rental contract that smoking is not allowed, I wanted to find a way to remind our guests of our firm non-smoking policy, even while they are staying at the house. With that said, there’s no reason to settle for a boring “No Smoking” sign when you can make something more entertaining! I had so much fun creating this one that I thought I’d offer it to anyone who wanted to have a similar sign in the beach or coastal (or just New England!) home.

Just click the link at the bottom of the page to download a png of our sign. I created it using a public domain illustration found on vintageprintable.com, which is chock full of fantastic images.

This is designed to print as an 8×10. When you send it to your printer, be sure to select 8×10 as your printing size and make sure the “fit to page” box is NOT checked.

Once the sign prints, you can trim it and frame! Voila.

I hope this entertains you and your guests and that it keeps your home smoke-free for many years to come.

FREE PRINTABLE SIGN

Rockland “What’s New” Round-Up for 2015!

Some people would call us crazy for heading north to Maine for spring break, but we would have it no other way. Not only does it give us an opportunity to take care of projects around the house before a fresh season of guests, but it allows us the chance to enjoy Rockland in the off-season, when there is no waiting at restaurants and everyone has time to chat.What's New in Rockland Maine

No matter where you go, even with cooler weather persisting, it seems you run into someone you know, and it’s so much fun to feel the strong local ties that you don’t notice in the summer, when the town is full of visitors. Of course, after a tough winter like this one, there’s also the happy feeling that summer is on its way. The snow is finally (!) melting and Rockland is buzzing with quiet excitement about several new additions. Make sure not to miss these new Rockland favorites as the weather warms and outdoor living resumes.

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Industrial Coffee Table

If someone asked me to define the style I had in mind when we furnished Sadler House, it would be tough to summarize. We wanted the house to be comfortable, yes. We wanted it to be grounded and unfussy. Most of all, we wanted it to feel fresh and light.

Industrial Coffee Table - Sadler HouseWe also had a tight budget.

Have you ever gone shopping for a coffee table? Man, those can be expensive! After building the farmhouse table for the dining room, I importuned Dan to take on the coffee table. Even buying one used to refinish was looking to be much too expensive. Why not just craft our own?

While scrolling through the hundreds of tutorials on Pinterest, I came across a photo of a table someone made using wood and plumbing parts. That was it. I loved the spare and sturdy design.

All the materials we used for this table were found at our local home improvement store. If you wanted to, you could do this really cheaply using pine. We splurged a little and went with poplar, since it is more durable and has a cleaner look after being stained.

All-told, buying the materials for the table cost us about $125…although I must confess I have long-since misplaced the receipt (oops). Suffice to say, we got a beautiful new table for much less than we would have paid in a store. Read more →

So You Want to Run a Vacation Rental: Cleaning Secrets

When I used to tell people that we were going to buy this house in Maine and manage renting it ourselves (remotely) people kept their opinions to themselves but largely looked skeptical. Certainly, operating Sadler House has been a huge adventure and one I wouldn’t trade for anything. We were ready for much of what came our way, because we did our research. Not surprisingly, however, a few things caught us off guard. If you are planning to undertake this type of project, you have to expect the unexpected, as the saying goes!How to Run a Vacation Rental: Cleaning

One of the biggest fears that kept me awake at night was managing cleanings between guests. If you live in the same town as your vacation home, you have the luxury of checking the home before guests arrive. You can clean it yourself, or you can cover for your cleaning service if they don’t show up or if someone is sick.

We can’t do that.

I knew from the beginning that we would be totally reliant on our cleaning service. That’s why I almost had a heart attack trying to find someone to do our vacation home turnover cleanings. Fortunately, thanks to the recommendations of good friends, I was fortunate enough to find Hillary at OrganiClean.

Be Informed

If you are planning to operate a vacation home, you should do a little research about what cleaning services are available in the area. If you are in an isolated area, or a small town, finding someone to reliably clean your home could be a major obstacle — especially since the majority of weekly summer turnovers all happen at the same time every Saturday! Don’t put yourself in a bad spot by assuming you’ll find a cleaning service and then realizing there is nobody to do this for you. If, due to a lack of cleaning companies, you will need to hire an individual who is local to the area, consider how you’ll find that person and what you’ll require for back-up in case of illness or emergencies. Read more →