Perhaps the first reaction I had to the Dockside Guest Quarters is that it has a very interesting location. You have to drive on a very narrow road along the water and past a few wharfs in order to get out to the property. There is a decent amount of parking at the facility, but only a small section of it was paved. Since there was a ceremony in session, however, we parked over by the reception facility on the premises.
We were fortunate that a person in the reception building was willing to help us out and give us information as we toured the restaurant area and tried to avoid the ceremony taking place. The reception building is nice and there would be more than enough seating for the members of our wedding party. It does play into the trap of being a bit traditional in set-up, however; the bride and groom have a table in a recessed part of the reception room, and the other tables and chairs surround it. Katelyn and I are trying to avoid the "head table" trap and all of the cliché activities involved with it (such as guests clinking glasses to get the bride and groom to kiss, etc...) so we would want to explore alternative reception set-ups to be more organic.
In terms of cost, the Dockside Guest Quarters is a bit pricey because of a minimum food charge per person along with the cost of renting the space for the wedding ceremony and reception. The price isn't astronomical, but it does trend to the higher realms of what we're considering possible for this wedding (we're trying to stay in the $7,500 to $10,000 range). It does seem, however, that we might be able to work with the venue for some flexibility in terms of allowing us to do alternatives to a wedding cake and concentrate more on hors d'oeuvres than plated meals.
The actual venue of the Dockside Guest Quarters is quite nice, and it allows for pretty views on the water. The ceremony that was taking place had the water as a backdrop, and it would make for nice wedding photography to have this venue. There were also trees in various stages of coloration, which is another plus in terms of thinking of our October wedding and wanting to have the autumn colors at play. The only downfall is that a cold, rainy day in October for our wedding would leave us without a really nice place to have the ceremony. The actual guest house on the property would not have space large enough for our party and having the ceremony in the reception facility would be similarly difficult and not particularly memorable.
All in all, I was fairly impressed by this venue as our first visit of the day. It has a pretty location, it's not entirely out of our price range, and the staff who helped us even while another wedding was taking place were very kind. However, the familiar issue of where an indoor ceremony could be held in the event of inclement weather rears its ugly head once again, as there is no real suitable choice for an indoor ceremony on the grounds. This venue is on our list of possible choices, but we're not entirely sold on it.
More information and photographs of Dockside Guest Quarters can be found at the venue's website, http://www.docksidegq.com/. Dockside Guest Quarters is located about fifty minutes from Portland, an hour and twenty minutes from Lewiston, and two hours and fifty minutes from Bangor.