Sebasco Harbor Resort, a holiday destination located in Phippsburg (Maine), may be adding a 24-site campground by summer.
According to a report, the proposed site would be located on approximately 7 acres on Pine Drive on the northern side of Wat-Tah Lake.
Owner Robert Smith said he wants to create a unique glamping experience at the resort that includes retro campers and trailers like Airstreams.
Smith wants a more rustic experience while still providing access to luxurious facilities at the resort, including a pool, spa, 12-hole golf course, fitness center, and dining.
Smith added that local and state-required campground amenities like a bathhouse are expected to be offered.
Smith said he’s not certain how many campsites will be reserved for trailers, compared to tents.
“We’re trying to look at this as a new amenity for the guests we’ve had for years,” Smith said. “This would allow them to have a Maine camping experience without having to haul their own tents or rent their own RV. We’re trying to make this a wooded, natural experience.”
Smith explained to the planning board his idea was sparked by a handful of summer employees who traveled to Phippsburg in RVs and vans. They, however, were forced to stay elsewhere as the resort did not have the space or hookups needed.
Planning Board Chair Marie Varian said that the idea is fine, but trying to fit it into that piece of property will be the kicker.
Smith will present to the planning board a more concrete plan in the coming month.
Phippsburg Police Chief John Skroski said Sebasco guests generate little traffic during the summer, and the addition of a few more visitors will not make a difference.
“The only exception is around the Fourth of July because they set off fireworks, so we have a couple of officers directing traffic on that day,” said Skroski. “Sebasco Harbor Resorts has always been a good partner in the community. Most of our traffic issues during the summer come from Popham Road and Popham Beach.”
The resort features 65 rooms within the main hotel and 23 cottages and suites. In total capacity, it can accommodate nearly 300 guests. However, Smith declared that the COVID-19 pandemic and staff shortages have slowed capacity.
“The last few years have been very challenging, but we’re coming into our 93rd season, so I think we’ve done well,” Smith added.
A few nearby campsites report that the demand for camping increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as a more secure alternative to indoor accommodation.
Katie Westrum, administrator of Hermit Island Campground in Phippsburg, said that reservations increased from 1,064 in 2020 to 1,216 last year. Westrum said she already has 1,205 reservations for this summer.
“Some of our regulars have returned, and we had a lot of new campers from around the state trying camping for the first time,” said Westrum. “The past few years have been steady business and better than normal for us.”
At Sagadahoc Bay Campground in Georgetown, owner Patricia Kosalka said her business has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic despite her enforcing mandatory vaccination and masks on all of her guests.
“I’m following the CDC guidance,” said Kosalka. “They say masks, vaccines, and boosters are necessary, and I completely agree. I haven’t lost any business.”
Kosalka confirmed that her six cottages and 75 campsites are nearly fully-booked for the current summer.
“I feel so bad for my friends who have restaurants, but the pandemic has been good for all the campgrounds,” said Kosalka. “All the campgrounds probably made more money in the last few years than they made before. I’m grateful that we have the kind of business that allows us to keep going during the pandemic.”