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Tiny island of Maine is no fit for 'man or beast' in winter

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  • In July, a pristine 1.5-acre island in Maine, rich in wildlife, sold for $339,000.
  • The previous owner told Insider that he would only sell it to someone willing to spend a night alone.
  • Charlotte Gale, the new owner of Duck Ledges Island, told Insider that she was more than up to the task.

A rustic private island in Maine that could be worthy of a Stephen King novel was put on the market last summer and is now proudly owned by a New Jersey woman eager to share her “majesty” with the world.

When the listing was published in July, Insider spoke with Billy Milliken, who has owned Duck Ledges Island in Wohoa Bay since 2007, about his unique selling requirement for the 1.5-acre landmass located a 10-minute boat ride from Jonesport. , Maine.

At the time, Milliken said he would only consider offers from people willing to spend at least one night alone in the small island-built home, originally listed for $339,000. His reasoning was that, through testing, he would be able to find out who could properly care for Duck Ledges, home to an abundance of wildlife.

Ducks Ledges Island is a 10-minute boat ride from Jonesport, Maine.

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The island, inhospitable to “man or beast” between October and May due to dangerous storms, would need a special kind of owner, he said.

Milliken’s unique sales strategy, combined with the island’s pristine character, has earned the listing considerable attention. Stephen King, the prolific author of horror and supernatural fiction of “It” and “The Shining”, tweeted in response to an earlier Insider and Yahoo News report on this: “There’s a novel here, just waiting to be written.”

Amidst the attention the island received, Charlotte Gale of New Jersey ended up convincing Milliken that she was worthy of becoming the next trustee of Duck Ledges.

She told Insider that she was never intimidated by the prospect of spending a night alone in the island’s cottage, built 20 feet from the water’s edge.

Duck Ledges Island.

Dean Tyler’s photography

Gale, a licensed massage therapist, said she came across Duck Ledges in June one sleepless night while scouting out homes for sale in Maine. She’d dreamed of moving there since high school, after spending a few summers at a friend’s house in Kennebunk.

“For some reason, that little island spoke to me,” she said. “So I booked a mandatory night.”

Shortly afterwards, she said, she was picked up on a boat from the harbor docks by Milliken and one of his friends, who personally escorted her to Duck Ledges for the audition. It was on the boat ride that Milliken already suspected she was “the chosen one,” Gale said.

Other interested parties brought an array of luggage and suitcases with them, while Gale arrived with just a backpack in hand, she said.

“They said, ‘We just noticed that you brought a small waterproof backpack and the questions you asked, that you understood that the island really doesn’t need you to bring that much,'” she said.

Gale stood out for not feeling ‘alone’ on the island

When Milliken picked her up on her boat to go home the next day, Gale said he asked her if she felt a sense of loneliness on the island, to which she said, “If you really love yourself, you’re never really alone.”

Her response, she said, cemented Milliken’s decision to accept her offer at the asking price.

The interior of the Duck Ledges Island (L) cottage and its new owner, Charlotte Gale (R).

Photograph by Dean Tyler, courtesy of Charlotte Gale

Gale said he later told her he had received 300 offers well over $339,000, but decided to take hers because he believed she would treat the island right. “He told me that some of them were real estate developers,” added Gale. “He felt it would be like selling his heart if he did otherwise.”

At the closing of the estate, Gale said that Milliken was in tears at the prospect of saying goodbye to Duck Ledges. “I held their hands and said, ‘It’s like a wedding. You haven’t lost the island, you’re always welcome and you’ve gained a family friend,'” she said.

Duck Ledges will remain an untouched oasis, but Gale wants to share it with the world.

Gale spent four straight nights at Duck Ledges when she took ownership of the island in July, more than Milliken has in more than a decade, she said.

It’s not suited for long-term living, Milliken previously told Insider. Modern luxuries like heat, running water, and a bathroom that doesn’t come in the form of an outhouse simply weren’t available on the island.

The little house.

Dean Tyler’s photography

However, Gale said she made it work. She took three things with her on that visit: a camp stove, a folding bathtub, and a portable toilet.

That first night as the island’s new owner, Gale said she took a hot shower and watched the sun set over the horizon. “It was just a little piece of heaven,” she said.

And despite the island’s loneliness, Gale said he never felt a sense of loneliness there. She hosted a dinner with friends and befriended the locals, who include a pod of dolphins and seals that are often perched on the rocky outcrop when she arrives by boat.

Some locals called Gale fearless for spending so much time there alone, she said.

“I purposely went out in the fall during a storm to see what it was like,” Gale said. The small wooden structure remained solid, she said, despite the strong wind audible throughout the cabin.

“A lot of people say, ‘Wow. You’re really brave. You’re on that island by yourself,'” she added. “And I was like, ‘No.’ I always felt very safe there.”

Duck Ledges Island.

Dean Tyler’s photography

For now, Gale, who currently cares for her elderly parents at home, says the island will remain a summer retreat.

She has a few small changes in store, like keeping the portable toilet and replacing the outhouse with a garden shed, and dreams of growing flowers all over the island.

What’s more, she’s eager to share a slice of her island paradise with others and welcomes guest inquiries via her website. In the future, Gale, who said she previously worked as a nutritionist and cook, plans to offer writing and cooking workshops, or even massage therapy sessions.

Like his predecessor, Gale intends to keep the island as intact as possible.

“It wasn’t much touched by the man,” Gale said of Duck Ledges. “And I want to leave it at that.”

Representatives for Stephen King did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.