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An Ode to a Tiny Shingle-Style Cottage

By Henry N. Cobb

Photograph by Missy Janes

Notice to Mariners: When you next enter the Fox Islands Thorofare from West Penobscot Bay and head into Seal Cove on the way to your favorite anchorage in Perry Creek, take care to slack your sheets or throttle your power so that you can safely hug the bold shore as you pass by Hopkins Point on the Vinalhaven side.

You will be rewarded with a close-up view of what is surely one of the most delightfully beguiling examples of 19th century “rusticator” architecture still extant on the coast of Maine. The paper-thin roof of this tiny cottage, extending beyond its walls to shelter a generous perimeter porch, is perched jauntily above a wood-latticed base that clings lichen-like to the ledge below. A raffishly tilted post propping up one corner of the folded roof imparts further panache to this lively performance at the meeting of land and sea—celebrating an encounter that since time immemorial has been as inexhaustibly stirring to human imagination as it has been challenging to human ingenuity.