Life on Loon Island

or "Fully Equipped House"

We rented the house on Loon Island from Bob McCann from August 19 through September 2, 2000. The following describes some of the unexpected things that we encountered there. Despite that, we did enjoy our stay there.

Bob's agent John told us that

These statements made us think about...

  1. electricity (AC, 120V, 60Hz)
  2. hot water
  3. water-flushing toilet
  4. phone
  5. 2 private bedrooms
  6. well-equipped kitchen

Electricity and Lighting

The electricity is based on solar power which feeds a 12V battery (DC). This means: do not bring laptops or hair driers.

The same battery feeds the water pump, so when the battery died, we had to carry our water from the lake until Bob came (the next morning - very nice!) and replaced the battery (and the pump, which, he said, clogged and drained the battery).

There are two stationary gas lamps in the "common area", one of which was broken, one gas lantern (broken?), as well as four luminescent electrical lamps (powered by the main battery) and several flashlights. There are some 12V/DC outlets there too.

Water

There are two water taps in the house: in the kitchen and in the shower. Both offer "cold" and "hot" water, although "hot" became rather tepid in a couple of days. Oh well...

The water in the lake is quite lousy, so bring your own spring water bottles or be prepared to suffer from heartburn.

Toilet

This was the worst. The toilet is the "outhouse" type but inside the house. It does smell pretty horribly, is infested by legions of house flies, and, worst of all, opens right into the dining area. This means: bring lots of deodorant and disinfectant.

The toilet does not have an inside lock, so those using it should hum something loudly and those who intend to enter should announce their intention aloud.

Phone

No phone outlets, of course. In the hindsight, I cannot understand how could we hope to have any. The Verizon analog service (no digital at all) is quite lousy in this area - the noise level is very high. Forget Internet.

Do not bring pre-paid calling cards. They are area-specific (they are most efficient price-wise in the area you buy them) and the nearest pay-phone is right next the the Shop&Save supermarket in Ellsworth (15 miles from the shore) which sells local pre-paid calling cards.

Bedrooms

There is a small bedroom on the first floor with a double bed and 4 single beds in the loft upstairs. The loft is not separated from the rest of the house by any door, and the gaps between boards in the bedroom walls make privacy doubtful. There is a "screened in porch with water views on three sides", which can be turned into another bedroom if the weather is nice.

There is a "wood stove" in the common area - we never used it because the heat generated by cooking made life in the loft bad enough.

Kitchen

There is a 4-burner gas stove with an oven, a small gas-powered refrigerator and a sink with running water.

One day the drain got clogged. It turned out that it was composed of two pipes connected under the cottage at a 90 degrees angle with a thin connector, which was the obvious culprit. We disconnected the pipes (required a screwdriver - bring your own!) and cleaned up the connector, and water was happily draining ever after.

Summary and Advice

We enjoyed our stay there immensely, even though we would have enjoyed it even more if we were properly prepared for the problems.

The weather was very good, which definitely contributed to our happiness. Had it rained, the solar panels would have been much less useful, while we would have used much more energy for lighting since we would have stayed indoors more.

There are two inflatable rings there (one leaks). Kids love being dragged behind the motor boat in these things (keep the throttle at "start"). Be careful - do not let them near the running motor!

The canoe is made of aluminum, so it will probably sink if you keel over (we never did). I suggest that you attach a couple of lifevests to it. 6 lifevests are supplied. The lake does not appear to be particularly deep.

Mosquitoes were a real problem.

Be careful with the trees - many of them are covered with tar.

The main Acadia National Park is about 30 miles away (1 hour drive). Schoodic point, a part thereof, is closer (20-30 minutes). You might want to visit Cadillac mountain and Bass Harbor lighthouse.

When in the motor boat, beware of the water plants! They will clog the propeller, and you will have to clean it up before you will be able to proceed.

We visited other islands in the lake, some of which have other cabins. Compared to them, ours does look like a "fully equipped house", but only in comparison.

You will enjoy your stay more if you bring...

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