In March, the sale of Mill Pond House was completed. LandVest was honored to be the listing agent and the broker of the sale, not because it represented one of the most significant property sales in Maine in the past two years, but because we were acutely aware that we were helping to secure the original owner’s legacy and vision that helped create The Somes Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary for others to enjoy for many years to come.
How It All Came to Be
The Mill Pond House was built in 1928 and was owned by Dr. Virginia Somes Sanderson, a direct descendent of Abraham Somes, thought to be the first non-native settler of Mt. Desert Island and for whom the village of Somesville was named. Abraham built his sawmill on the east bank of the mill pond in 1763. Virginia was an educator, historian, and wildlife conservationist who maintained two properties in Somesville; Mill Pond House located in the village, and a cottage on the south shore of nearby Somes Pond. To protect the natural beauty of the area, wildlife, and their habitats, Virginia donated her Somes Pond cottage and the 33-acre property to become the nucleus of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary which she founded in 1985. Upholding conservation values, providing opportunities for scientific research, ecological and natural history education, and enjoyment by the public were key parts of her vision. A short stroll from the Mill Pond property delivers you to beautiful trails that the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary has to offer wildlife and forest enthusiasts.
As a part of her master plan, Virginia bequeathed her Mill Pond House to Somes-Meynell and in 1990 the Sanctuary granted life tenancy to a local family in lieu of a substantial land donation within the Somes Pond watershed. After the life tenancy ended and a Sanctuary planning process, LandVest was approached and selected to market and sell this property. We knew immediately that this was far more than a typical real estate transaction; rather, it was about contributing to Virginia’s legacy, and at the same time, finding a buyer who shared the values of the Sanctuary, since a portion of the property has a reserved right for on-going wildlife research, monitoring, and educational programs by Somes-Meynell staff, volunteers, and partners.
A Coastal Maine Dream
Mill Pond House is a dream property for anyone who has imagined living along the Maine coast in a historically and ecologically significant location. Occupying 2.6 acres that is nicely sited between the idyllic freshwater mill pond and 553 feet of ocean shore front on Somes Harbor, this distinctive property provides unobstructed views of Somes Harbor and the largest mountains of Acadia National Park. The land includes partial ownership of the pond, which has an important fish ladder alongside the dam spillway where migrating alewife (river herring) are carefully monitored by staff and volunteers of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary.
The property is located at the interface between the marine and aquatic worlds, the dynamic junction where Somes Brook meets Somes Harbor and where all the creatures and processes that define these habitats come together. Our largest lake, the 900-acre Long Pond, was created by the collection of rainwater and snow melt from the Western Mountains. It, along with the 104-acre Somes Pond, passes through the Mill Pond and empties into the harbor at the head of Somes Sound. Osprey, eagles, seals, loons, gulls, herons, and many duck species can be seen throughout the year. As a wildlife viewing location in coastal Maine, particularly during the spring to early summer alewife river herring migration, it cannot be beat.
Tide levels rise and fall through a typically 9- to 13-foot range dramatically changing the landscape fronting the property – part of each day, a stream of freshwater flows several hundred feet from the Mill Pond dam spillway to the mouth of the cove and alternately becomes a full pool cove. The tidal change made the property an ideal location for building and launching schooners in the 1800s. The launching timbers can still be seen on the east-facing shore.
To find out more about this sale or if you’re interested in other properties like it, contact Scott McFarland.