About Carter Smith
I'm a photographer and filmmaker who loves renovating historic homes. I'm from Bailey Island originally, but now spend my time between New York City and Maine. I love creating spaces that help people experience the magic of this incredibly special place. THE GILLS GROUP cottages are not just rental properties to me, they are homes I created to spend time with people I love.
Carter Smith purchased this Cottage in 2001
Why Carter Smith chose Bailey Island
Spending time at The Gills is like stepping back in time - when life was simpler and moved at a much slower pace. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean and waking to that magnificent sunrise is like medicine for the soul. Sounds corny but it's absolutely true.
What makes this Cottage unique
THE GILLS GROUP property manager Dave Johnson is an island local who is also a lobsterman. We can arrange delivery of fresh lobsters directly to your doorstep during your stay. The Gills can also be rented along with one of my other cottages from THE GILLS GROUP - Jaquish Lane (VRBO # 733483) which is directly next door and sleeps 12 or The Red House (VRBO # 1063510) which is across the street with a private pebble beach and 100 foot wharf. The Red House sleeps 4.
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
Our new family tradition!!
I fell in love with the description of this property and location when I booked it but boy arriving and seeing it in person was even better!! We have been on many family vacations throughout the years and some overseas and you can't even compare. The Gills took our breath away. So relaxing... peaceful and time just being a family. The house itself was just perfect and and full of love... the decor and age of the home is just priceless...You can tell how much work has been put into this classic home. ... It's like going back in time! The view isn't bad either!!! Sitting on that swing or sitting on the rocks down by the water reading a book was just what we needed. The kids enjoyed riding their bikes around the corner to Lands End store or down the street to another beach exploring the island. My husband and I have already booked again next year and hope to many years to come!
Perfect relaxing place
Lobster and reading
From the moment we arrived at this historic home with the ocean view, we were in love. My sister claimed the chaise lounge by the huge window overlooking the water and my mom and I ran out to the rocks which overlook the water. We spent quite some time the following days sitting and climbing the rocks and enjoying the crisp, New England ocean air. We enjoyed sitting on the porch with our tea and walking through the town. The house is at a convenient location, but incredibly secluded at the same time.
The beds were comfortable and of good quality. There were plenty of blankets and pillows to choose from. The shower and bathroom worked great. The house has kept it's historic charm, but all the necessary amenities (kitchen appliances, heat, bathroom - shower and toilets) were in top working order. The bedrooms are all unique. One room overlooks the water. It is bright and airy. The other room (master) is dimmer and has a couch and sitting chair. It's filled with a cabinet of books that we enjoyed looking at. All three of us would have loved to have the furniture in these rooms at our own homes. ;) They were so charming and beautiful! The third room is smaller and dimmer as well. It was equally charming and the beds feel new and are firm and comfortable. Lamps all over the house are plenty, which give sufficient light to enjoy our stay. There are thermostats in every area of the home. The house is very clean.
The home had some amazing quirks and personality. The chairs and couches in the living room were so unique. The huge wooden front door and green screen door were kept according to the time of the building...very authentic. The tapestries and furniture were also from that time period. There was so much to look at. If you enjoy a home that has been well preserved, with furnishings included - this is definitely for you. **One thing to remember with old homes is the dust - if you are allergic to dust (as I am) don't forget your allergy medicine! There are old books in every room as well as modern books. There are magazines that date back over the decades so we could enjoy seeing the change and consistency of the island and surrounding cities.
The charm in this home is the best I've ever seen. We met David, who was incredibly helpful and kind. My mom said she met Carter (the owner) one morning and he was so friendly. The neighbors were easy going.
Thank you David and Carter for preserving this gem and allowing so many of us to enjoy it!
We’ve been returning to the Gills for 7 summers, flying or driving cross country from California to return to our favorite place. And each summer we think of trying something new but cannot miss a week at the Gills. You cannot ask for a better stay; the location is tucked away and nestled in pine trees to have privacy from the neighborhood but with a big open yard and front porch to enjoy the sun and view of the ocean. The Gills is a beautifully maintained gem of an old Maine craftsmanship and every inch of it is so photogenic! It is impeccably decorated with antiques and the most enviable textiles on every bed, I love that it’s charm and history is in tact but extremely luxurious and comfortable. I’m an avid cook and I’ve never stayed at a better stocked rental kitchen, there is everything you could need or want here, no shortcuts or cheap rental supplies here - excellent coffee maker, sharp knives, a charcoal grill out back. Our favorite part is the big fire place and starting our day with a morning fire and having coffee on that big front deck. There’s a path through the front yard to the rocks and a few spots to jump off an swim when the tide is right. Aside from grabbing supplies - which there’s great wine shops and farmers markets nearby- you do not need to leave the property, it’s heaven! We’ve come with friends to the Gills, with family, or just the two of us — all of our greatest summertime memories are in this house. It has become out favorite family tradition.
There are no misrepresentations in the descriptions or pictures, but at the price paid per night (and apparently I can't divulge what that was) I expected a lot more. I have used short-term rentals several times, so I have a base level of expectations.
I expected to have interior and exterior doors that open and close without excessive physical effort. I expected to have a handrail on the main outside steps that was not in danger of failing over because of rot, and not have numerous rot spots on the deck. I expected to use the front door in a normal fashion, and not to have to bolt it from the inside and padlock the backdoor. I expected to be able to open the downstairs windows, and I expected the front screen door to stay closed close without the aid of a twist-tie.
I did not expect massively flaking paint in all the upstairs rooms. I did not expect to be ankle deep in water at the end of a short shower, nor did I expect a moldy shower curtain. I didn’t expect the TV room to contain a single wooden chair. I didn’t expect 3 of the 6 dining room chairs to be coming apart. I also did not expect the dining table to slope 2 inches.
I did expect to be able to see in the kitchen – the lighting is horrendous, even during the day. All other rooms are under-lit as well. I expected a better selection of pots and pans, not ones with burned-on stuff on the bottom. I expected a couple of storage containers for left overs, or at least some aluminum foil or cling film.
This place is not for people who need a handrail to use stairs. The interior stairs are “quirky” with several portions having no hand rail. Also, the interior thresholds are of various heights and widths, which may cause minor or major trips.
It is peaceful and has a wonderful view. The kitchen has plenty of cutlery, plates, mugs, and glasses. Bottled water is supplied. A little gift basket of Maine products was left for us. But all in all, not worth the price per night.
Every guest that stays at one of The Gills Group cottages is important to me. I strive to consistently create a 5 star experience in both service and setting. When a guests expectations aren’t met, I’m always up for the challenge of meeting and exceeding those expectations in the future........................
I’m glad that you found the cottage peaceful with a wonderful view, and hope that you were able to enjoy your time on the island. I know my property manager Dave checked in with you several times during your stay and he was not made aware of any issues you had. I agree that a shower curtain showing signs of mildew is completely unacceptable - and apparently my cleaners missed this. If I’d known I would have had someone there to change it immediately. We rely on guests to wash pots and pans after they’ve used them, and unfortunately sometimes they do a less than perfect job. After reading your review I’ve built in extra time for the cleaners to inspect the cookware and re-wash it when necessary. We could have easily brought in more lamps or brighter bulbs if we’d known you needed them. Same goes for Tupperware and tinfoil. Whenever there is an issue, we will do everything possible to make sure it’s resolved. But we can only do that if we’re made aware of the issue......................
I’ve tried to present descriptions and photos that accurately describe the cottage with all of it’s “quirks”. Many of the things you point out have to do with the age of the house. Yes, the 100 year old front door is only equipped with a sliding lock on the inside. There are indeed slight changes in the level of the floors between some of the rooms. The interior doors may swell and be stubborn with the humidity in the air so close to the ocean. There is a single step up from the main living area to the staircase which does not have a handrail. The television is located in the largest bedroom - with both a leather Chesterfield couch and an upholstered armchair - so I’m a bit confused by your reference to a single wooden chair - but at the end of the day the cottage didn’t meet your expectations and for that I am truly sorry.............................
Guests who choose The Gills usually do so for both the privacy and the peaceful ocean views. They are primarily people who love historic homes, and appreciate all of the quirks and oddities that come with that. Thank you for visiting and taking the time to share your feedback.
THE GILLS GROUP
GORGEOUS PROPERTY WITH AMAZING OCEAN VIEWS
If you are looking for a quintessential Maine cottage with privacy and with the most incredible views, then look no further. After researching countless rentals in Maine on VRBO, I discovered this gem which checked all the essential boxes. From the moment we drove up to the house, I knew this rental was special and uniquely different from other rentals nearby, and for that matter, any other houses my family has rented around the country. Walking into the house was like harkening back to the days when life was slower and simpler. From the wrap around porch, cedar shake architecture to the carefully curated decor, I knew right away our vacation at The Gills will forever be cemented and remembered fondly as one of the best vacations we have experienced as a family.
Every day, my kids, best friend and I would explore the rocky coastline to see if we could find marine life in the nearby tidal pools and we also go to explore the the local shops, art galleries, visited my alma mater, Bowdoin College, shopped in nearby Freeport, kayaked around the coves, hiked Devil's Back Trail and sailed on a wooden schooner during sunset. We also ate our weight in "lobstah" rolls from nearby restaurants and hired Zach's Lobster House so we could dine in privacy from the comforts of our porch, which I highly recommend, or have Dave, the wonderful property manager, who also happens to be a lobsterman and will catch fresh lobsters for you right out of the ocean so you can cook them yourselves if you are so inclined.
Our time at the Gills and Bailey Island was so magical and special and what we ALL enjoyed the most was just being able to reconnect without the usual distractions of home or the white noise from electronics. We all did not want to leave at the end of our trip. I cannot recommend enough the Gills or any other Gills properties Carter Smith owns. He truly loves Bailey Island and I can see why he takes great pain in making sure his guests experience what he loves most about Bailey Island, which is a slower pace life surrounded by incredible beauty and ever-changing ocean views.