Osborn Finch Cabin

Osborn Finch cabin viewed from the shore

The Cabin – A Peaceful Seaside Getaway

 

WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING CABIN RESERVATIONS FOR THE 2017 SEASON, MAY 25 – OCTOBER 9

This small rustic cabin nestled on the shore of PWA’s Osborn Finch Wildlife Sanctuary is available to the public for overnight stays on a reservation basis. Situated on the shores of Dutch Neck in Waldoboro, it is the perfect getaway for kayaking, nature study or just plain relaxing. With no running water or electricity, the cabin offers a quiet retreat from hectic modern life.

The cabin features a common sitting/dining area, a room with a sink and cooking area at one end and a twin bed at the opposite end, a third room with one bunk bed and one twin bed, and a bathroom with composting toilet.

Cookstove, lanterns and cookware are provided; renters must bring their own bedding. See the sample use agreement for more details on what to bring and what to expect. The cabin comfortably sleeps three, and maximum occupancy is 4. Pets are not permitted in the cabin. There is a 2-night minimum stay required unless there is only one night open (see calendar below; inquire to see if we can rearrange our cleaning schedule to open up a second night if desired); $60 per night donation (the first increase in 9 years). Please contact the PWA office to arrange reservations, including a formal use agreement – jody@pemaquidwatershed.org or 207-563-2196.

Osborn Finch Cabin Availability


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2017 SEASON: May 25th – October 9th
CALENDAR COLOR KEY:
Green = Open
Pink = Booked
Yellow/Orange = Changeover Day

Directions

From Damariscotta, take Biscay Road to Route 32. Travel north on Route 32 for 6.3 miles and turn right on to Dutch Neck Road. At the fork go left for 2.5 miles. Preserve sign and grassy parking area are on the left.To reach the preserve from Route 1 Waldoboro, turn onto Route 32 South, go 2.7 miles and turn east onto Dutch Neck Road.


View Osborn Finch Wildlife Sanctuary in a larger map

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Photo Gallery

See below for photographs as well as a colorful history of the cabin provided by Betty Davis Stevens and Carmen Davis Anderson.
Click on any image for a larger view.

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The following story was published in the PWA Summer 2007 Newsletter. The entire newsletter is available here (file size approx 2.1 Mb.)

Growing Up on the Osborn Finch Wildlife Sanctuary

by Betty Davis Stevens and Carmen Davis Anderson

The 1930s old Ford bumped along the gravel roads carrying honeymooners Mel and Florence Davis, our parents, from Stanstead, Quebec, to their new home on what was to become PWA’s Osborn Finch Wildlife Sanctuary at Dutch Neck, Waldoboro, Maine. It was the fall foliage season of September, 1939.

Prior to 1939, the Osborn Finch Wildlife Sanctuary was owned and farmed by Hubert Witcher, a friend of the Davis family, and consisted of 18 acres on both sides of the Dutch Neck road including the farm house and buildings located across from the Finch Preserve. Mr. Witcher is buried at the Dutch Neck Cemetery.

Davis Family posing by fireplace

Fireplace at other point of Finch Preserve, circa 1954, Carmen front left, sister Betty next to her

After Mr. Witcher died, our parents continued farming the property and raised two children there: Carmen born in 1943 and Betty born in 1945. While living on Dutch Neck from 1939 to 1957, our parents utilized the ‘Preserve’ land as a chicken hatchery. This had a large hen house on the Finch Preserve side of the road and kept about 1000 ‘Barred’ Rock and Rhode Island Reds chickens. Newly hatched chicks from the farm incubators were shipped out by train from the Waldoboro railroad station.

Other Dutch Neck residents were farmers also. The farmers got together to cut the hay and put up loose hay in our father’s barn, still standing across the road from the Finch Preserve. Other farm animals included several milking cows, a hog or two and a working horse. We remember our father squirting warm, fresh milk into our mouths directly from the cow. These animals were found at most farms on the Dutch Neck road about 1950.

newly constructed Finch cottage in 1940

Finch Preserve cottage at end of construction with tar paper sides and roof, circa early 1940

On the field between the road and woods of the Finch Preserve, we raised a huge garden each summer. We spent many hours pulling weeds from the garden; our mother canned the produce and it fed us for most of the year.

Our father had a certain talent with wood and woodworking. A woods road wound its way to the cottage he built on the shore of the Medomak River about 1941. It still stands at the Osborn Finch Wildlife Sanctuary. Our father always built very sturdy, strong structures using lots of nails. It is not surprising that his buildings have stood the test of time. We aren’t sure where our father obtained the wood to build the cottage. However, according to “Richard Remembers Dutch Neck − Memories of Richard Wallace as told to Jean Lawrence 2002-2005,” the lumber for the original house, on the other side of the road, came from a boarding house built for workers who were employed at the granite quarry on what is now Quarry Hill just off Depot Street. You’ll notice a man’s boot print in black tar on the living room ceiling. This is no accident. When building, our father used to leave his construction autograph in the form of his boot on a board.

We spent our summers and weekends at the cottage starting with Memorial Day and ending with the cooler, fall weather. The cottage had two rustic bed-rooms. Carmen was and is an avid Red Sox fan. Once, she wrote on our bedroom wall with a crayon the team the Red Sox played, the date of the game, the score and her name. This information is still on the cottage wall in the bedroom. A tiny cast iron wood stove in the living room kept us warm when it was cold outside as well as functioning as the cottage cooking stove. A few years later, about 1950, our father added a porch to the west side of the cottage. The porch contained a shelf for the Coleman gas stove where the main meals were cooked when the wood stove was not needed. The ‘dining room table,’ a large plank, was located between the shelf the stove rested on and the end of the porch. There was room for the 4 of us to sit together and eat our meals at the cottage.

There was a cold spring half way between the entrance to the woods and the cottage. Weekend food, including butter and milk, was kept cool in the spring water hold, which always contained fresh, cool water. We would tie strings around the bottle tops to keep them from sinking in the spring. It was the job of one of us to walk to the spring and bring back whatever our Mother desired to cook for our meals. Our father cleaned the leaves out of the spring as he opened the cottage for the season each spring.

We remember our parents having lots of summer company at the cottage which was used so often to entertain. Friends and relatives would enjoy bouncing down to the cottage on Father’s ‘open-air’ truck where we thoroughly enjoyed fresh lobster and clams served by Mother at the picnic table located at the south side of the property from the cottage. Wooden planks remain today from the old picnic table close to the remaining bricks from the fireplace father built on the rocks of the Medomak River.

Our father built small chicken pens in the fields on the way to the cottage. Each evening we would help our father to get the chickens into the chicken pens so the foxes wouldn’t eat them. There were chicken pens across the road in back of the main house also. Each morning on the weekends our father would journey from the cottage up to the house and do the chores; milk the cows, feed the calves and pigs, gather the eggs from the large chicken pens, and return to the cottage for breakfast. In the evening before supper, he would return to the house and do the chores again and return for the evening and night to the cottage.

Finch Preserve Cottage, circa 1950

Finch Preserve Cottage, circa 1950

Church was Sunday night at the Dutch Neck Community Church. Our mother was the organist at this church for 18 years. The Sunday night service didn’t prevent us from spending the weekends at the Preserve Cottage. As kids, our mother subscribed for years to “Bible School by Mail” and every Sunday morning we sat on the rocks outside, if it was nice out, or sat in the cottage if it was not good weather and worked on our Bible school lessons. Then our mother would mail the completed lessons to Portland where they would be checked and graded. Scores were mailed back to us before the next Sunday.

Our mother would watch as we dug clams on the shore and we still dig clams whenever we visit the cottage. She would also walk with us to the top of the hill, on the way to the cottage, where there was a small pond where we would ice skate after school and on weekends during the winter. Also, there were blackberries in the right side of the field, at the edge of the woods going to the cottage, which we picked each summer for our mother to make wonderful blackberry pie.

One day during August, 1957, Carmen was riding her bicycle up the road and a man and lady stopped by and asked if there was any property for sale on Dutch Neck. Carmen told this gentleman she didn’t know what was for sale but she’d ask her father. Carmen remembered her father saying they’d like to return to northern Vermont sometime to be near where they grew up. She raced her bike home while the man and woman drove by to the south end of Dutch Neck at Butter Point Farm. When they returned and came back by the house, our father was outside and flagged them down.

Osborne Finch and his mother Margaret said they had a nursery in New Jersey and the highway was going to go right through his nursery. To make a long story short, during the fall of 1957, Osborne and Margaret Finch purchased the property that our parents owned and where we were born and lived through our early teens. Osborne was a wonderful person and loved the cottage, for which we were thankful. He would collect Indian arrowheads, bird nests, eggs and many different nature items from the land and put them in the old hutch in the cottage for safekeeping. He grew his nursery plants in the field between the road and the woods, which contained the path to the cottage. To this day, some shrubbery that Osborne Finch planted remain in the field on the way to the cottage.

Osborne Finch and his Mom committed suicide in our former home after he learned he had widespread colon cancer. He left the property and cottage across the road from his home on the Medomak River to The Nature Conservancy who provided it to the PWA. Thankfully, the land and cottage are owned by the PWA, and we are welcome to visit anytime. Betty and her husband, from KY, stayed at the cottage in 2005 and again in 2007; Carmen and her husband, from Vermont, visit the cottage often.

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