Behind the Cliffside Funicular at this Spectacular Home in West Bath
This one-of-a-kind home perched on a bluff in West Bath has a special amenity to ease the journey down to its private deepwater dock on Back Cove: a custom-built funicular that travels 120 vertical feet down to the water’s edge.
“The Harbor Ridge neighborhood in West Bath offers lofty views and private settings, and the water frontage access can be steep for many of the lots,” explains Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty agent Kristina Keaney, who is representing the sellers for this unique property. “The first time I rode a funicular was in Quebec City, and riding the one at 85 Harbor Ridge was a first for me in Maine.”
There is a scenic path carved into the stone cliffside that people can hike down to get to the dock. “When we were on the younger side, going down the trail was pretty easy,” the seller explains, “but coming back up, when you’ve got your cooler and boat equipment, you would definitely feel the burn in your quads. And when we had kids, it started to be even more challenging.”
They didn’t want to interfere with the existing path, which is nicely carved into the landscape, so the sellers knew they needed a creative solution. “One day I decided to just start googling things like ‘chair lift’ and ‘personalized tram system,’ and I discovered they are pretty popular in the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes regions,” the seller explains.
That’s when they found Marine Innovations, a company based out of Minnesota that advertises hillside “inclined elevators” to safely access hard-to-reach water:
We will tackle any project you can throw at us, transporting your family, guests, or customers safely from point A to point B. Our trams are built to withstand continual use in the most extreme temperatures, from sub-zero Alaskan winters to tropical Costa Rican summers.
Referred to as hillside elevators, hillside trams, lake trams, hill trams or funiculars, our state-of-the-art inclined elevator systems open up all sorts of new and exciting possibilities for your hillside waterfront property. We have yet to meet a hill we cannot conquer!
Our inclined elevators are engineered with our proprietary pin pile design, creating a small footprint which makes minimal impact on your hillside.
“They flew in and camped out for two weeks at a hotel in Bath, working 14-hour days, to install it,” says the seller. “They hauled in all the steel they needed on trucks, and we picked a dark green color to match our house.”
Marine Innovations says its system will last a lifetime. “There’s almost no upkeep,” the seller says, “and they come out and do a check on it every other year. It’s actually less invasive to the landscape than building stairs.”
“We have a big deck that serves as a sunbathing deck and the point for boarding the tram, but we didn’t have a deck down at the bottom by the dock, so we added that after the fact. From the bottom, you can call it down, which gives you flexibility. There are controls at the top, bottom, and in the car itself. It’s very easy to operate.”
The journey takes about two and a half minutes each way, and the carrying capacity is 860 pounds. “We’ve had six adults ride on it, but you are a bit crammed with six.” On the waterside of the tram, there’s a folding bench in case anyone wants to sit.
“The funicular provides a peaceful, quiet ride down to the dock and always gives me a few minutes to enjoy the stunning scenery this property offers,” agent Kristina Keaney explains. “It is a wonderful way to load up items for a day trip on the boat, from a cooler to bags, and of course, the family dog. It allows the water frontage to be more accessible and a safe way to transport all ages to your boat.” You can watch the drone video of Keaney riding the funicular on YouTube.
“It’s been a total game-changer, I’m definitely going to miss it,” says the seller. “One of the things we love about that house is being high on that bluff and the only drawback was the hike, and the tram just solved that issue.”
85 Harbor Ridge Road, West Bath, Maine
85 Harbor Ridge Road in West Bath is a one-of-a-kind oceanfront oasis at the convergence of Casco Bay and Midcoast Maine. Perched 120′ above its pristine anchorage, the house faces due west for spectacular sunsets reflecting off the emerald waters against a backdrop of state-preserved spruce forests. You can even see Mount Washington and the Presidential Range on clear nights. A state-of-the-art funicular lowers you and your guests down to your private deep water dock to access 250′ feet of rocky coastline and the supremely protected Back Cove. Two private deepwater moorings are situated just off the dock and are visible from nearly every room in the house. The house offers a total of 5 bedrooms (2 primary suite options), 3.5 baths, and a 2-car garage with a separate guest suite and kitchenette attached to the main house. The property feels like you are along the Downeast coast yet it is 15 minutes from Brunswick Executive Airport and 45 minutes from Portland Jetport and downtown Portland. Offered at $2,695,000