Whenever there’s news of a private island for sale, we’re quick to assume it’s somewhere in the middle of the glimmering Caribbean Sea and that some billionaire will snatch it up. After all, Bill Gates has his beloved Grand Bogue Caye, and Richard Branson spends a good deal of time jetting back and forth between his Moskito and Necker Islands. However, the newest private island for sale is neither where nor what you’d expect: The 1.5-acre Duck Ledges Island, listed for $339,000, is wedged between Acadia National Park and the Canadian border, off the coast of Maine. It may not be as much as Gates and Branson paid for their islands—both paid around $13 million more than a decade ago—but the owner, real estate agent Billy Milliken, won’t sell to just anyone with the means. In fact, he’s looking for someone specific to buy his Duck Ledges Island.
Plenty of property owners become emotionally attached to their land the longer they own it, but in Milliken’s case, he’s as sentimentally invested as someone can get. In fact, his purchase, in 2007, was never supposed to happen. Like many private islands, the only way to access Duck Ledges is by boat, so when Milliken was offering a tour of the place to a prospective buyer, he was fully prepared to sell it that day. However, something about the new potential owner didn’t sit right with Milliken: The man brought with him enough firearms to start a small army, and he intended on using them to slaughter the island’s wildlife for fun. Milliken didn’t deem the man worthy of the island’s natural beauty, and, along with the owner, refused to sell it to him.
So Milliken bought Duck Ledges Island himself and has spent the last 15 years falling even deeper for it. He fixed it up, too, building a 540-square-foot cottage that’s as quaint and charming as the island itself. Over the years, he had brought his family and friends for alfresco dinners and campfires, sharing the majesty of the unassuming island with anyone willing to become the victim of a few mosquitoes.
However, Milliken recently purchased a bigger island nearby—11 acres in total—and knew he couldn’t give Duck Ledges the attention it deserved, so he put it back on the market and is enthusiastically willing to sell to anyone who can appreciate it the way he has. That’s not all, though. Those looking to buy the island have to spend one night in the cottage so they can experience what they’d be getting into as the proud new owners of Duck Ledges. And that’s why the island is still on the market: No one can get there between October and May. The conditions are that unforgiving.
The rewards, he explains, are worth it. There’s something magical and introspective about feeling so small on an even smaller island in the middle of the ocean. It puts things in perspective in a way few other places can. Not to mention, for anyone with an affinity for awe-inspiring natural landscapes, there are few places more mystifying than Duck Ledges Island at night, when the sky casts an endless black blanket overhead, and the only sounds belong to the waves and the colony of seals.
Now that it’s almost warm enough to spend a day on the island without the possibility of freezing, Milliken is gearing up to find a match for the unexpected place that has brought him such happiness.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest