Julia Soper holds the hand of her 3-year-old grandson, Aiden, as husband Brian Soper looks on at the pavilion for the Sopers’ new business, Cranberry Mountain Events. (Connie Sage Conner photo)
A new venue for weddings, reunions and other celebrations opened July 25 off Cundy’s Harbor Road.
Cranberry Mountain Events’ seasonal pavilion and an adjoining building is expected to be used primarily for weddings, according to owners Brian and Julia Soper.
The venue, at the end of Ellen Way behind Cranberry Horn Cemetery, “is supposed to look like a barn,” said Julia Soper. The “barn atmosphere” they’ve created is popular with many couples for their weddings and receptions.
“We’re providing the facility,” added her husband, Brian Soper. “We’re not going into the catering business.” When they finish work on the facility, “we’re pretty much retired,” he added.
Another Harpswell wedding and reception site is Live Well Farm, on Harpswell Neck, at the intersection of Ash Point Road and Route 123. It is owned by Cassandra Stearns, who also is a wedding planner, and her husband, Ignacio Garceron. Local restaurants, churches, beaches, private homes and inns also have served as locations for couples to tie the knot.
The Sopers had been designing and building Cranberry Mountain Events for nearly five years while owning and operating Gurnet Trading Co. in Brunswick, just across Gurnet Strait from Great Island. They sold the Gurnet Road business to Brae and Scott Harley in February. The Harleys reopened the seafood business, with the same name, in March.
Cranberry Mountain Events’ rustic pavilion is 16 feet high, open on three sides, with posts and trusses built from hemlock cut from the couple’s 30 acre-property by Brian Soper. He constructed and erected five large trusses supported by 10 massive wooden posts sunk in bait barrels for the 2,000-square-foot lighted pavilion.
A truck was unloading 8 yards of mulch for two colorful perennial flower beds along each side of the pavilion in June as Julia looked on, the couple’s 3-year-old grandson, Aiden Soper, in tow. The pavilion or an adjacent grassy area can be used for wedding ceremonies. Transparent, tent-like curtains can be lowered if it rains.
In past years, the 1,500-square-foot attached house had been Middlebay Lobster, a restaurant. It has an expansive main floor and high ceiling for receptions. The Sopers updated the kitchen and bathrooms and added a caterer’s entrance and an outdoor pizza oven.
On one side of the building is a bar and outdoor smoking area. On the other side are stairs that lead to what had been two apartments, now converted into a bridal suite with mirrors and lighting for hair styling and makeup. The space also includes a groom’s dressing room and bathroom, plus a nook for a coffee machine and microwave.
The Sopers did nearly all the planning and construction themselves. Julia Soper “comes up with a vision and does it,” said her husband. Their son’s father-in-law, Eugene O’Neill, built a large stone patio at the pavilion’s open entrance. Some 150 guests can be seated for dinner under the pavilion or about 125 guests indoors.
Three mobile homes had been on the 6 acres developed for the structures, which now also have parking areas, a pond, a garage for their two tractors, and a building for their son’s unrelated business.
For more information about Cranberry Mountain Events, email email@example.com.
Connie Sage Conner is a retired editor of The Virginian-Pilot. She lives in Harpswell and serves on the Harpswell News Board of Directors.