Sometimes, against all odds, against all logic, we still hope...that someday we'll own our own private island and leave the worries of the world behind. For one lucky owner with deep pockets and a penchant for privacy, that day is now: the entirety of Hope Island, just off the coast of Portland, Maine, is currently on the market for a cool $7.95 million.
An oasis of classic Downeaster possibilities jutting up out of the Casco Bay, Hope Island is an 89-acre "magical island kingdom," or so says the listing from realtor and principal John Saint-Amour of LandVest (a subsidiary of Christie's), located just a 25-minute boat ride across Atlantic waters from the "mainland base" of downtown Portland.
Part of the town of Chebeague Island (aka Cumberland), the luxury private island estate is currently owned by local developer and real estate mogul John Cacoulidis, who bought the property with his late wife, Phyllis, in 1993. Over the last 24 years, the couple lived on the island full-time, renovating, remodeling, and "improving" (more on that below) the property to its current offerings, which feature a winterized (year-round) 11,295 square foot, 6-bathroom, 3-bedroom main house originally built in 1913, and so much more.
"To have an entire island in Casco Bay with easy access to Portland is a rare commodity," listing agent Saint-Amour told the Portland Press Herald. "To be frank, the investment in the island far exceeds the asking price."
The entire estate boasts nine inhabitable buildings, including the main house plus a 3,300 square foot guest house, a substantial boathouse including a staff apartment and a deepwater dock, a barn with worker's quarters, a 10-horse stable, more barns and chicken coops, a private tavern (slash entertaining venue), even a private chapel. And a helicopter pad.
All contained within the piece de resistance: a perimeter of more than 11,000 feet of private Maine shoreline on the Casco Bay featuring both sandy beaches and rocky cliffs, plus perennial gardens, eight private ponds, walking trails and private roads looping the island. Hope Island is also powered by generators and submerged marine cables from nearby Long Island. There are also 15 water wells and nine separate septic systems.
Caveat emptor, however; the island has been under the careful, watchful eye of local authorities over the years, and in 2013 the current owners settled a multi-year legal dispute with the town for $100,000 over construction that was done without proper permits, shoreline encroachment, and other issues....not the least of which was an overall previous but unsuccessful bid to secede from the town entirely.
Drama aside, Hope Island was "a source of great pride and joy" for the previous owners, who turned the estate into a real "gentleman's ranch" in the middle of Vacationland. "An avid gardener, lover of animals and the outdoors, [Phyllis] transformed Hope Island into a beautiful working farm with chicken, geese, swans, ducks, peacocks, deer, horses, a mule named Emma and her five dogs. She routinely took in rescue animals and cared for local wildlife," read a portion of the obituary for Mrs. Cacoulidis when she passed just last year.
Due diligence courtesy of the Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, Boston Magazine, and Wikipedia. You're welcome, future owners. Now, can we come over and ride the ponies on the beach? Pretty please?