Since arriving nearly 15 years ago, MaryEllen Auger has left her mark on Doaks Lane. It was not too long after moving in when she spotted an unused storeroom in the office across the street that piqued her interest. Her initial idea was a simple one.
“I went to the office and they said it was a storeroom and it hadn’t been used in years,” Auger said. “It was just filled with a lot of junk and I thought I would like to store my boat in there, and if I wanna store my boat in there maybe other people would too.”
Once she acquired the beachside space, Auger planned on renting it out for simple boat storage, but she soon realized this “hidden gem” deserved loftier goals. Her passion for coastal rowing led her to become a marketing spokesperson for a family-owned company out of Maine — but she did much more than just advertise products.
“I taught kids to row, teenagers to row, adults to row, and that’s what it was for the first few years,” Auger explained.
It wasn’t long before her passion and work ethic caught the attention of Hobie, and she soon became a prominent dealer of the company’s water-sport products in the North Shore area.
“At that point I had a robust rental and kids program operation that was doing 15,000 hours of rentals and programs out on the water,” said Auger.
Business was booming at Little Harbor Boathouse until COVID-19 struck. After the severe period of the pandemic passed, Auger was left at a crossroads on whether to pick up where she left off or pivot in a new direction.
“The decision was no, I’m not going to,” she admitted. “I had a great ten-year run.”
The boathouse now deals primarily in private long-term storage, in which renters can access their boats as they please as long as the conditions are safe enough. However, the newest and most unique evolution of Auger’s boathouse is its transformation into a space for many different functions.
“What space do you have that opens out to a park and a beach?” Auger asked.
Since this conversion, the boathouse has been the host to everything from corporate business events to teenage birthday parties. Jessie Tavares described the experience of using Little Harbor to host her child’s 13th birthday.
“The space was huge, we were able to play games, put food out, and have a chocolate fountain,” Tavares said. “The kids were able to walk to Fort Sewall and Gerry Island, so it was great.”
The latest concept Auger has emphasized at her establishment is that of peace. She hosted a spiritual retreat in which 13 people came for three days, and she teaches meditation classes. On the far wall is a picture of the water, and scattered across are calming words visitors can reflect on.
Despite everything Auger has put into Little Harbor Boathouse and what it has given back, she still sees potential for more uses of her second home.
“You could have a banquet in here… You could dance in here… You could get a large projection and have it mounted down here for streaming, presenting… There’s so many options,” she said.
Little Harbor Boathouse is located at 40 Doaks Lane and MaryEllen Auger can be reached at 781-990-3552.