New Stony Brook Campground owner, Mike Blais has lots of renovations underway, including converting this bus on the property into rental living space. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

HANOVER — Mike Blais invested $2,500 to shut the lights off at Stony Brook Campground.

Timers on 18 lights turn the property dark every night from 9 p.m. to midnight insuring a good view of the night sky.

“Not many people get to see how beautiful that night sky is, ” said Blais who bought the Hanover property 10 months ago and plans to incorporate the night sky experience into some of the living spaces he’s renovating at the campground. According to Astronomy Today, 80% of Americans can’t see The Milky Way because of light pollution.

Blais was inspired by trips to Jackman with his parents where, “the night sky is magnificent,”  he said. When he was hiking the Appalachian trail, he said, “you’re on top of a mountain and you’re looking up. It’s so bright, it’s almost daylight bright.”


On a driving tour around the 55 acres, Blais points out the different camping areas and ticks off the changes he is making, too.


Longer term guests who are area seasonal workers stay in RVs on a plateau where each site has a personal water hydrant.

When we pass the pool Blais says, “if you put a quarter on the bottom of this pool you can read the date off of it,” acknowledging the work of his pool maintenance man, Peter Burr.

Secluded tent sites are at the back of the property. A sand pit, mini- golf course, shuffleboard, and shower house are centrally located. He plans to take down the chicken coop and have an old cabin removed. He points out that the recreational center, “needs a little love.”

Undaunted by the enormity of the work to be done, Blais, a former landscape business owner, accountant and carpenter says, “I have been training my whole life to be a campground owner.”

His grandfather started Lewiston’s Blais Flower and Garden Center in 1953. Blais took over the business from his father in 1995. In 2010 he and a partner opened a nearby fitness studio.

In 2018 he sold both the flower shop and the fitness studio, hiked the Appalachian Trail, then worked as a carpenter renovating and flipping three Lewiston properties.


Last year he was bored, he said, so he bought the campground.

Mike Blais, left, with customer Rick Nelson, of Hanover and cashier Mecha Gormley, right, of Bethel in the Stony Brook Campground store in Hanover. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen


“This is my personal scratchy table,” says customer Rick Nelson, of Hanover, who comes to Stony Brook every day to buy and scratch one or two tickets and to eat, “a very tasty bacon croissant sandwich.”

Blais built Nelson’s mini scratch table shelf after seeing him scratching away each morning on the cashiers’ countertop.

Blais jokes that Nelson is his favorite customer. Nelson counters, “until the next one comes in,”

Besides servicing the campground residents, The Town of Hanover’s only convenience store is an important outpost since the next closest convenience stores are seven miles in one direction and 16 miles in the other direction.


Blais renovated the interior store space, painting and moving shelving to the exterior walls and giving the space a brighter more open feel. A former freezer is now a wine nook. The right side of the attached building, was once a restaurant. It will be residential space or possibly Blais’ living quarters.

On a topical map, Blais points out the mountains circling Stony Brook: Will Mountain, Wilbur Mountain, Sunday River’s eight peaks, Plumbago and more. Blais plans to hang the map and pinpoint the area’s many activities.

“The area is booming. There’s a billion dollar mountain [Sunday River] down the road … [at least] it’s how I pitched it to my loan officer,” says Blais with a smile.

Going forward

This first year has been all about maintenance said Blais. “I wanted to get a year under my belt.”

He said once he has a chance to renovate the recreation center and pavilion he’ll offer those to locals to rent for events. This summer he will offer day passes for townspeople who want to use the pool.

A sign on the right side of the structure at the front of the property reads, “the 1860 Ezra Chapman House,”

Blais plans to return the post and beam house to its original look, by restoring the six over six double hung windows and replicating the trim using a photo he found as a guide.  “A building is part of a community … if you treat a building with respect it will respect you back,” he said.

 April 22 through April 29 the store will celebrate “The Remodel Debut of Chapman Variety,” offering patrons various specials and giveaways.

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