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Spruce Island - a Private island for large or small gatherings

Bedrooms 7
Half Baths1
Property type lodge
Minimum Stay 4 - 7 nights


About the property

Seven bedrooms; 7.5 bathrooms; sleeps 18; larger groups possible.

Spruce Island is a small, 80 acre private island off Deer Isle/Stonington, Maine. An aerial video of Spruce Island and a video of a traditional lobster bake on Spruce Island can be found on this page.

The Stone House is the only house on Spruce Island. It can be rented by the week in the summer. In the off-season it can be rented for shorter periods. More than 18 people can be accommodated with prior arrangement.

There are many places to explore and things to do on and around Spruce Island. Kayaks and row boats are provided. Outboard motor boats can be rented. Dress up as pirates and entertain your children (pirate dress provided); enjoy campfires on the shore; drive golf balls into the ocean and collect them at low tide; swim in a fresh water quarry on near-by Green Island owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Play horseshoes, capture the flag, badminton, and pingpong. Charter our amphibious Sealegs to take you island hopping. Gaze into the heavens and see a universe of stars you can't see elsewhere because of light pollution. See bald eagles, ospreys, and many other seabirds. Experience the wonder that Robert McCloskey wrote about in the children's book, 'Time of Wonder'.

The house is comprised of two separate buildings. The Main House is a large open room with cathedral ceilings, a huge fireplace, and large well equipped kitchen. There is one bedroom in the Maine House. A swing hangs from the timbers in the Main House, and a “crows nest” on the roof affords spectacular views of the surrounding islands. On rainy days and at night, you can watch movies on the big screen and listen to surround sound music in the Main House.

The Guest House contains six bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Electricity is supplied by wind and solar, supported by backup generators. Water is supplied from wells and a large rain water cistern.

This property is completely 'off the grid', but WiFi is available through HughesNet satellite connection and cell phone service is available.

Kayaks and other small boats are included. A small 10hp, 10' inflatable outboard motor boat can be rented for $400/week. A larger 18' outboard motorboat can be rented for $750 per week.

Spruce Island falls within the town of Stonington, Maine, famous for fresh Maine lobster and for the pink Maine granite that has been cut from its quarries for more than a hundred years. Spruce was quarried in the late 1800's and in harmony with this history, the owners decided to build these houses entirely of large granite blocks.

Tranportation to the Island: Transportation to and from the island is provided free on the first and last days, up to three round trips each of those days in an amphibious Sealegs, or two round trips in a Munson landing craft. For mid week transportation, there are a number of options. Old Quarry Ocean Adventures runs a 34 foot boat out of Stonington. A small outboard motor boat suitable for getting back and forth to Stonington can be rented. Steve Johnson runs a charter service called Bert & I Charters, 207-460-8679 (Boat Phone), 207-367-2991 (Residence). The Isle au Haut Ferry also does private ferry service to and from Stonington to islands in the area. Another option is to hire our amphibious Sealegs boat or the Munson landing craft with a captain. The cost is $125/hour. The advantage of the Sealegs is that, as an amphibious craft, it can drive out of the water and set down on the ground like a camel for easy and safe loading and unloading. This is especially nice for exploring the many uninhabited islands around the area. For deep sea fishing, a good option is Eggemoggin Guide Service.

Island Life: There are many fun things to do on and around Spruce Island. Some examples include: Intra-island or even inter-island capture-the-flag; Camp fires on the beach; Exploring the many other small islands in the area; Sleeping in a tent near the shore is a wonderful experience for children and adults. You can sit by a camp fire and gaze into the heavens wondering how it all came to be, even catching glimpses of satellites moving across the sky, before rolling into a cozy tent and letting the gentle sounds of waves and wind lull you to sleep.

Dogs are allowed with permission. Please inquire. There is a $150 fee. There are no ticks on the island and we are trying to keep it that way. So dogs must be treated for ticks to prevent them from carrying ticks to the island.

For the 2018 season, we are offering a full-service island vacation option for those families that would like a worry-free, island vacation where everything is prearranged for them, including all meals, unlimited boat transportation with captain/guide to explore the area, including trips to surrounding islands and to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. This full service option will allow guests to avoid the stresses of planning for their vacation, to fully enjoy themselves while on vacation, and not to worry about cleaning up at the end of their stay. While not inexpensive, this option will allow guests to most enjoy themselves during their vacation. Please inquire if you are interested in learning more about this option.

More Details

Colie O'Donnell
Member since: 2010
Speaks english
Response time
Within 12 hours
Response rate
Calendar last updated:
20 April, 2018

About Colie O'Donnell

We started building the stone houses in October 2006. It took five years to finish, working spring, summer, and fall and towards the end, working through the winter, though we had to pick the days to avoid really dangerous winter conditions. I was out there almost every day, in all kinds of weather, guiding the process and working with the crews. I ran the landing craft, did errands mid day, operated the crane and Lull and other equipment, and coordinated the logistical challenges moving thousands of tons of materials, across four miles of water. Somehow we persevered through the economic crash of '08 and other calamities along the way. The fact that all the stone as well as windows, doors, and wind turbines are from China is another story.

One of the most gratifying experiences of this island project has been to see how much people love gathering here for family reunions. I hope you too will enjoy it as my family and so many others have. And I hope you will return for many years to come and that this little island will become a significant place in your life, as it has in mine.

Colie O'Donnell purchased this lodge in 1986

Why Colie O'Donnell chose Stonington

I bought Spruce Island thirty-one years ago. The island had nothing on it then. The first trip out, I rowed the four miles alone in an eight foot dingy. I remember it was a beautiful fall day, but quite windy and it was a slog getting back to Stonington against the headwind. There was something about that island and that archipelago that was just so stunning. I recall very well sitting for the first time on the smooth granite slide on the east shore, transfixed by the beauty. I was unemployed at the time, with a wife (also unemployed) and two young children. Having just graduated from business school, I should have known better but instead I spent all my savings on it.

What makes this lodge unique

To some people, the architecture of these stone houses may be rather plain and sever, but they are strong and enduring, as is the island they are a part of, and to me that is both practical and beautiful. The heavy stone structure easily withstands powerful winter storms and requires virtually no maintenance that over time will offset the added cost of building on an island, with stone. Inside, they are warm and playful. They have all the practical comforts of a mainland residence, but a simplicity and plainness that are out-of-the-ordinary and refreshing.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Today we woke up and had pancakes! It was my birthday today. I just turned 12. We made a cake that was huge! I had such a fun time and I really hope that we come back. My mom said that we might! We found a fort cave going down to the dock and we also made a fort out of wood. We had a really fin time and will hopefully see you next summer. Thanks so much!

P.S. Our friends are coming in two weeks so we left them something on the mantel. So please don't move it!
Jul 2011
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Accommodation and facilities for this holiday lodge rental in Stonington

Property Type:
  • lodge
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 9:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 20 ...
  • Min. age of primary renter: 30 ...
  • Children welcome
  • Parties/events allowed ...
  • Pets considered ...
  • Non smoking only ...
  • Owner reserves right to review and cancel booking and issue full refund within 7 days after Traveler initiates booking.
  • Traveler must read and accept the terms of the Rental Agreement.
Location Type:
  • Beachfront
  • Monument View
  • Mountain View
  • Near The Ocean
  • Ocean View
  • Oceanfront
  • Rural
  • Water View
  • Waterfront
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood
  • Internet ...
  • Laundry Soap
  • Linens Provided
  • Parking
  • Parking Off Street
  • Telephone ...
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Wood Stove
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Blender
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer ...
  • Grill
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Lobster Pot
  • Microwave
  • Oven ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • 7 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Full 1 - toilet , bath with shower
    Full 2 - toilet , bath with shower
    Full 3 - toilet , bath with shower
    Full 4 - toilet , bath with shower
    Full 5 - toilet , bath with shower
    Full 6 - toilet , bath with shower
    Full 7 - toilet , bath with shower
    Half 1 - toilet
  • 7 Bedrooms, Sleeps 20
  • Bedroom 1 - 2 single bed
    Bedroom 2 - 2 single bed
    Bedroom 3 - 2 single bed
    Bedroom 4 - 2 single bed
    Bedroom 5 - 2 single bed
    Bedroom 6 - 4 single bed
    Bedroom 7 - 4 single bed
  • Books
  • books - kids
  • DVD Player
  • Games ...
  • Music Library
  • Ping Pong Table
  • Radio
  • Stereo
  • Video Library
  • deck chairs
  • Beach Towels
  • Boat ...
  • Boat with Paddles
  • Child's Swing
  • Crow's Nest
  • Deck / Patio
  • Golf ...
  • Golf Cart
  • Golf Clubs
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Lanai / Gazebo ...
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Outdoor Grill Gas
  • Walkway to Water
  • wooden decking
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • forests
  • library
  • live theatre
  • marina
  • museums
  • pond
  • recreation centre
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • paddle boating
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • whale watching
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundrette - serviced
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • deepsea fishing
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • jet skiing
  • mountain biking
  • mountaineering
  • pier fishing
  • sailing
  • snorkelling
  • bay fishing
  • swimming
  • wind-surfing
Some fun things to do include: intra-island or even inter-island capture the flag; camp fires on the beach; sleeping in tents near the shore; exploring other islands in the area; dressing up as pirates to entertain your children (pirate clothing provided); hiding 'pirate treasure' on the island for children to hunt for; use the kayaks provided to explore the area; charter a larger power boat for local or long distant excursions; drive golf balls out into the water at high tide on the beach and collect them at low tide to do it all over again (golf balls and clubs provided)...


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(19 traveller reviews)

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Spruce Island - a Private island for large or small gatherings
average rating of 5.0 based on 26 reviews

The best vacation ever!!!

  • 5 of 5

What an awesome adventure! From the moment Mr O’Donnell picked us up in Stonington no other vacation will ever compare. Spruce Island is an absolute awe inspiring place. Our family celebrated many first time adventures from bioluminescence, s’mores on the beach, hiking and made lots of wonderful memories.

Mr O’Donnell thank you for opening your beautiful island and house for others to enjoy! You thought of everything. There was nothing that we could have wanted except more time to explore your beautiful island.

  • Review Submitted: 12/10/2017
  • Date of Stay: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Exceeded every expectation, time of our lives, pirates, kayaks, lobstah!

  • 5 of 5

We went all in and decided to do a wedding 3,000 miles from home in a place we've never been to with a host we've never met and a completely foreign concept. We couldn't have made a better decision. Our host, Colie, was the common factor in pulling it all together.

Going into this rental you'll likely have a hundred questions like us. Colie has planned for everything. You'll find cabinets, switches, instructions all carefully and tastefully labeled. The property is meticulous. You could feed a small army out of the kitchen and outdoor lobster shack. When you get to Spruce Island you'll feel the love and attention that a family has invested over a lifetime.

From kayaking instruction, support setting up tents, expert advice in getting the best deal on our seafood feasts, and even door service on Sealegs, our stay was perfect. As for the wedding, our ceremony was simple, breath-taking, and something that 29 people will remember for a lifetime. Buckle Beach is a perfect backdrop and the main house doubled as a kitchen, dance floor, and cozy place to carry on until the late hours of the morning.

We spent four short days. We should have stayed all week. That's our only regret. The concept of trapping such a large group on an island was daunting and fabulous. We pulled it off with a pirate themed murder mystery, group kayaking, late night games, lobster boils, scavenger hunts, and a ton of hilltop lounging.

All said, we miss Spruce Island on a daily basis!

  • Review Submitted: 02/10/2017
  • Date of Stay: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Kayaker's Dream Home Base

  • 5 of 5

We were a large kayak group that used Spruce Island as a base to paddle around the Stonington Archipelago. The set up here is very practical with one Main gathering house and a separate house where most of the bedrooms are (each with a separate bathroom). It's great because so many rental put in Queen beds which if you have a group of single people isn't so practical. There are a lot of other practical amenities such as a large scale composting system, outdoor burners, big projection system and a tickle trunk full of costumes! I would consider the island a bit of an eco-retreat as it is essentially off grid. This means you have to respect your use of power, water and where you dispose of your waste. This may not be for everyone but it was right up our alley.


Colie's communication and ability to shuttle large groups over to the island; the amount of space on the island to explore and to enjoy; composting system; bedroom configuration; wolf gas stove; off-grid for the eco types.


Oven is a bit small and only 1 fridge plus small bar fridge (if you're staying for a full week and have 18 people - make sure you plan accordingly); wi-fi is capped which gets used up quickly especially if people have settings on their devices automatically uploading pictures (there is definitely something to be said about not using it completely); there were also some fees that popped up at the end that you should sort out before hand so it isn't a surprise.

The island should cater to all kinds of groups but if you belong to a sea kayak club - you should try to come out here outside of summer and paddle.

  • Review Submitted: 21/09/2017
  • Date of Stay: September 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for the thoughtful review. The oven is a 24” GE wall oven (model JGRP20SENSS) measuring (on the inside) 17“ wide x 15“ high x 18.5“ deep, and has two adjustable racks. It is small and will limit how much you can produce if you want to do a lot of baking and roasting. But I've had only a couple of comments about the oven over the 7 years we have rented the island. This year a wedding party with 30 guests was able to bake a four-layered wedding cake. The refrigerator is an Amana with French Doors (model AFD2535FES). It has a 17.3 cubic foot refrigerator and a 7.5 cubic foot freezer draw below. The under-counter refrigerator is Marvel (model 61ARMBSFL) with 6.1 cubic feet and dimensions of 24.25”x34”x 24”. Most larger groups of 16 or more people do make one or two trips to town for groceries during a week. Most rent one of the outboard motor boats we offer for that purpose, and others hire us to take them to town. Hughes Net upgraded the internet speed this year to 25-50MB download which means you can burn through a lot of data. They give me 50GB a month on the plan, so I allow one quarter of that (12.5GB) per week for free. If we go over 50GB a month, they charge me $3 per GB. So if a group exceeds the 12.5GB, I pass the $3/GB charge through to them. I need to pass that through because data usage can get out of control and very costly if people do not manage their usage. In addition to internet charges, I pass through credit card fees, including international credit card fees, that I am charged if a guest uses a credit card to pay for the rental. Guests can avoid these fees if they pay by E-Check. Unfortunately for these guests who were from Canada, the Home Away E-Check method of payment does not work for international travelers. So they were forced to use a credit card and could not avoid the credit card fees. I have complained to Home Away about this. But Home Away may not have much control over it as it is an international banking issue. Fees charged at the end of the rental are covered in the rental agreement and I encourage guests to read that document carefully before deciding to rent the island. Other than internet charges and credit card fees, I charge for the golf cart use at the end of the rental.
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Rustic Family Retreat

  • 5 of 5

For those looking for peaceful privacy, Spruce Island is paradise. Large groups can be housed in comfort and privacy. The island is ringed by granite ledges that make every walk an adventure and the trails through the interior woods are cool and mysterious (in a good way). The main house and bunk house are simple but well equipped and maintained. Plenty of toys are on offer and transportation to and from the island is not an issue as long as you plan ahead. Two different beaches are accessible to take advantage of varying weather conditions and there is even a second island thrown in for the price of the first.

  • Review Submitted: 23/08/2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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New York, NY

Amazing family adventure

  • 5 of 5

We truly felt that we had escaped the modern world on this beautiful island. The owner has managed all of the logistical details incredibly, making it easy to get the the island and even providing fantastic kayak training for the adults. Our first day we circumnavigated the island on foot....8 adults, 10 children of all ages, and one intrepid dog. We jumped into the ocean from the rocks on the "dock", and explored the fern forest and wooded trails. On other days we ventured over to Green Island in the motorboat and kayaks to jump into an incredible fresh water quarry, fished for mackerel, sailed and spent hours on the beach looking for seaglass and shells. The houses were perfectly laid out for multiple families, with an enormous table and large open kitchen. The adults were especially grateful for the coffee making set up! The bunk house was cozy and clean, with room for all. We enjoyed wood stove fires on cold mornings, used the fire pit almost every night to make s'mores and sit under the stars, and simply couldn't believe our luck. This is a magical spot for an incredible family adventure.

  • Review Submitted: 25/07/2017
  • Date of Stay: July 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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This is a wonderful site for a thorough immersion inthe glories of coastal Maine

  • 5 of 5

We had our whole family (4 kids plus their kids ranging from 9 to 24) and spent a ful week enjoying the Island and surrounding areas. We were somewhat limited by having several foggy days, which restricted the fun of leaving the island but had minimal impact on enjoying the75+ acres that were ours alone. The accomodations are remarkably well set up for a group of our size. We hired a cook for the stay and I would highly recommend that you try to do so also, because this freed up people to just enjoy themselves . Colie, the owner was very helpful in many ways and can provide the contact for the cook. Overall this was a week that we all will remember with great fondness.

  • Review Submitted: 27/06/2017
  • Date of Stay: June 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
40 Miles
Bangor International Airport
Nearest Ferry
100 Metres
Spruce Island - private, not scheduled
Nearest Golf
100 Metres
Driving range on the island
Nearest Restaurant
3.5 Miles
Harbor Cafe
Nearest Beach
100 Metres
Spruce Island
Car: not necessary

Spruce Island is a small, 80 acre private island in Merchants Row, half way between Bar Harbor to the east and Camden to the west. Isle au Haut, part of Acadia National Park, is about 5 miles to the south. Merchants Row is renowned for its scenic beauty and is a destination for boaters from around the world. There are dozens of small, uninhabited islands in the area that can be explored by kayak or other small boat and on foot. Robert McCloskey’s “Time of Wonder”, captures the essence of summering on a small Maine island in this area. Stonington is a pituresque fishing Village frequented by artists who capture its unique beauty on canvas and film. There is an old Opera House in town, built originally to entertain the many thousands of granite workers in the 1800's, which now conducts plays and musical performances throughout the year. There is a fresh water quarry on a near by uninhabited island that is a wonderful place to swim.

Other Activities: campfires on the beach; lobster bakes, Kayaking, Boating, Wildlife Viewing


Rates & Availability

Rental Rates for this holiday lodge in Stonington

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
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Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
Spring 2018
26 May 2018 - 15 Jun 2018
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add AU$66 per night, per additional guest
Summer 2018
16 Jun 2018 - 1 Sep 2018
Changeover Day: Saturday
7 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 6 guests; add AU$52 per night, per additional guest
Fall 2018
2 Sep 2018 - 31 Oct 2018
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add AU$66 per night, per additional guest
My Standard Rate
4 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add AU$66 per night, per additional guest

Additional information about rental rates

Refundable Damage Deposit AU$1,303.8
Pet Fee AU$195.57 + Tax
Property Damage Protection AU$129.08
Tax Rate 9.0%

Electric golf cart rental (optional) charged at $10/KWH electricity used. Taken out of damage deposit.
Small 10' inflatable outboard boat rental (optional) $400/week.
Large 18' inflatable outboard boat rental (optional) $750/week.
Groups larger than 18 are possible; ask for details.
Credit/debit card fees passed through to guest; taken out of refundable damage protection deposit.
12.5GB of free data allowance per week on internet. Additional usage charged at $3 per each 1 additional GB.
Dogs allowed with prior approval by owner.
"Additional guest" nightly fees are charged for all nights of the rental term even if an additional guest stays less then the full term.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • No refunds for cancellations made after payment is made
Contact Owner