Staycation Showcases: Historic canoe shop in Dover-Foxcroft

Part four of our month long series on unique places to stay in Maine
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 3:20 PM EDT
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DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine (WABI) - All this month we’re featuring unique Staycation spots in our state.

Tonight, we take a trip back time as we travel to Dover-Foxcroft.

Joy Hollowell shows us how a local couple turned a 120-year old former canoe making shop into a Staycation destination.

“There’s just something about this building,” says Brenda Schultz of Dover-Foxcroft. “I don’t know what it is but I’d look on AirBnB and see thousands of hits.”

Perhaps it’s the story behind the structure. Henry Packard built it back in 1900 to be used as a canoe shop.

“He liked to build a lot of things so he began building canoes,” explains Schultz. “All different kinds and all different styles. He was a one man show.”

Schultz never knew of the historic canoe shop growing up in Dover-Foxcroft.

“No, I didn’t,” she says.

“I did not know until I met her,” adds her husband, Rob Stevens, who also grew up in Dover-Foxcroft.

“You didn’t know about this either?” responds Schultz, surprised by his response. “Oh well, that’s new to me.”

When Schultz purchased the place, it was being used as a storage shed.

“So it was mostly sitting on the ground,” she explains. “There was a hole in the roof. It was pretty sad, actually.”

Brenda Schultz purchased the shop in 2013.

“I was living in Los Angeles at the time,” she explains. “I had come home and stopped to see my mother. And I saw this and bought it. Fell in love with it.

She ended up moving back to Dover-Foxcroft.

“Picked up a husband in the process. And it turns out he’s an electrician and a carpenter so we teamed up and started fixing these places.”

Just one year later, she bought the house and former horse barn next door to the canoe shop. The couple have since renovated three other properties.

“I was talking to a recruiter for physicians at the local hospital here,” says Schultz. “He was telling me that he couldn’t get any doctors to come here because they had no place to live. So I immediately fixed the front home and it immediately booked with the doctors. But then other people started wanting to come stay here, so I fixed the barn.”

“We had to bring in sewer and water from the street which is a pretty costly proposition.”

The canoe shop was last on their list.

“I was using it as my marketing studio originally,” says Schultz.

Schultz and her husband spent six years rebuilding the entire inside of the shop.

“It’s the original shell but everything else has been propped up and replaced,” she says. “We had to bring in sewer and water from the street which is a pretty costly proposition”

Some of the elements are still the original including the brick chimney and several windows.

Once word got out, folks were pretty anxious to come in.

“Before it was finished, says Schultz, chuckling. “There was a guy was from Sweden and he was working for the lumber company here. He said- I don’t mind, I will just live in it while you’re working on it.”

The open floor plan of the canoe shop appeals to many, says Schultz, with special touches including a claw foot bathtub and slate sink handcrafted right next door in Monson. The stand alone structure is surrounded by a grassy yard featuring a hammock, horseshoes, a grill, and picnic table.

“One lady was having twins and she wanted to do party of her labor here,” recalls Schultz, smiling “That was the most unusual. But we’ve had lots of proposals here and people here on their honeymoons.”

The Dover-Foxcroft location is also ideal for folks interested in exploring the Appalachian Trail. Guests come here from as far away as Australia and it doesn’t matter what time of year.

“When I was a kid, all we would do is go to Bar Harbor, Old Orchard Beach,” recalls Schultz. “Those people never came here. And we are getting flooded with people from Belfast, Bar Harbor, Old Orchard, York, everywhere. They’re coming up here now- they say they want to come back to the real Maine.”

You can view the historic canoe shop at https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/40755937?source_impression_id=p3_1629746269_8OdOAFeCEJlDFRC%2F

Other stories in this series:

Maine treehouse

Converted caboose

Comfy Dome

Goose Rocks Lighthouse

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