The Hangover has learned that an exclusive, upscale resort called Hidden Pond is coming to the neighborhood. Back in 2006, Atlantic Holdings Company (AHC), the developer, called this Kennebunkport project, The Cottages at Fishing Pole Lane. You can read my views on their original concept–a seasonal community of ultra deluxe prefabs–here. Things have changed.
Complications arose when AHC found that Fishing Pole Lane would actually have to be run as a mobile home park and could not operate under the condominium-type arrangement they had envisioned. (Prefabricated houses had been chosen because in Maine they are considered “mobile homes” and that distinction allowed Atlantic Holdings a much larger development than would have been possible due to one acre zoning and significant wetlands.) Fishing Pole Lane began to vanish publicly when AHC came before the Kennebunkport Planning Board on October 3, 2007, and launched a presentation for the Cottages at Hidden Pond, an ultra deluxe motel. The project was once again approved and the houses have been streaming by on majestic tractor trailers all winter.
AHC did what was allowed by law, either wisely or underhandedly, depending on perspective. The Hangover knew the development possibilities when we established headquarters here. To oppose the project now would be hypocritical. The Hangover is no cry baby.
However, we can happily object to the cheesy marketing of the project, starting with its name. Hidden Pond is entirely appropriate because there is no pond. At least not yet. Water does occur on the property naturally. Technically, there are several areas of wetland; some would call them swamps. However, a look at the site map does reveal a pond, as well as a pool. Presumably, these will both be man made. But Disney does quite well with manufactured experience, doesn’t it?
Even more troubling than the name is the website promoting Hidden Pond. A Flash animation begins with sunlight pouring through green-leaved oaks and continues with idyllic scenes of wooded bliss. This would almost be bearable if not for the accompaniment of an excruciating new age musical come-on. From there one is deposited onto the homepage, where the dominant image is two pair of intertwined feet. Granted, they appear to be loofah-ed and pedicured, and belong to a fuzzy, if well attired yuppie couple on a hammock. The angle of sunlight reveals a pre-Labor Day scene, indicating the gentleman’s choice of all white attire to be wonderfully correct. These are the kind of people we would welcome to the area, provided they put their shoes on before entering our stores and restaurants.
Many amenities accompany the $595 and $695 a night Hidden Pond cottages. An artist-in-residence will be available to lead guests in water colors. (Perhaps The Hangover children might have an opportunity for summer employment. Anyone for Cynical Blogging 101?) There’s also to be a flower farm and beach safaris and morning yoga and delivered breakfasts and nature trails and forest clambakes (Something wrong with the area beaches?). That’s quite a list. But then one risks drowning in syrup when discovering the names of the cottages: Fawns Crossing, First Light, Hummingbird, Firefly, Silent Pine, and Sweet Fern. If expansion comes to Hidden Pond surely a true Maine woods experience would dictate cottage names such as: Poison Ivy, Skunks Rutting, Mosquito Haven, and Deer Tick Delight. Each cottage has a fireplace and a deck. Whether they will have their own individual Mosquito Magnets is not reported.
The descriptions categorizing Hidden Pond are overrun by ellipses…as if lazy writing will lead discriminating web surfers to lazy days. The marketers can only hope their victims will be carried off by daydreams of relaxation and pampering…which will then guide them to their iPhones and Platinum cards. Do the wealthy actually fall for such overwrought pitches? The Hangover has his doubts. In the meantime, we await our new, transitory, well-heeled neighbors. Hopefully, they won’t mind the regular, not-so-gullible folks who live here.