Saturday, April 06, 2013

Bustins Island Connections

"It's a small world" is a trite saying but sometimes it's the only saying that fits. In a round about way, here's a story that starts with a 6 year old girl going to a summer camp on Bustins Island almost 100 years ago and ends with her granddaughter eating breakfast here this morning. Although, the story itself doesn't end here and will continue on for many more generations of Bustins Island summer people.

Donald MacMillan, who grew up in this house after being sent here to live with his sister when the family finances went into decline, founded and ran a boy's summer camp called Wychmere on Bustins Island in early 1900's. This drew boys and sometimes their families to come to the island for the summer. 

One such visitor was a 6 year old girl from Massachusetts. In 1917 she attended camp on the island for the first time. This began a generations' long love affair with the island. Soon after her return from summer camp, the cousins were excited to hear all of the adventures to be had in Maine and the following years saw many of her cousins headed north with her. 

Then the great news expanded through the neighborhood and the kids across the street went to camp as well. The families reunited each year on the island in a story well-known to Mainers who run the ferries and the general stores and the summer theaters of Maine. The story of 'people from away' who are drawn to Maine in a yearly migration that only ends when they move here permanently or cease to be altogether!

Flash forward to the present generation and the ubiquitous Facebook. I friended the 'Lilly B's' Facebook page last year. The Lilly B is the ferry that transports everyone to and from Bustins Island from May through October. (You can head out to the island for a picnic and hike the 1.5 mile trail around the island.)

Our guest today is the granddaughter of the 6 year old who started the family tradition of coming to Bustins Island for the summer. She saw my comment on the Lilly B and realized she'd stayed here before and decided to stay again. 

We have the history of the house, including info about Donald MacMillan in the guest book. She read that and then told us about her grandmother (now 101 years old!). Continuing the tradition, she still comes to the island in the summer and her kids are now the 4th generation to summer here.

And, as with every good Maine tale, there's a love story here as well. A grandson of the original 'kids across the street' married a local girl whose dad taps our trees in maple sugaring season.

All because Donald MacMillan ran a summer camp for boys over a century ago.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

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