Following My Heart Led to a Coast and Country Life

May 18 2022

Following My Heart Led to a Coast and Country Life

Following My Heart Led to a Coast and Country Life

Sometimes when I’m in Stonington, I look around at the glorious setting and wonder, how did I get here? The short answer is love. I fell in love with my guy, and then I fell in love with Stonington. I didn’t want to and frankly couldn’t leave my family, friends, and home in beautiful Lancaster, Pennsylvania where I spent the last 30 years building my business. But I wanted to spend as much time in Stonington as possible.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Stonington, Connecticut

In order to stay for longer periods of time, I needed a place to work. I found a small room for rent behind Grand & Water Antiques with lots of natural light, a nice work counter, and a short distance to my condo. It’s so quaint and adorable that I decided to bring a few cases to display my collections and open my door to shoppers while I worked. I’ve put some of my own little touches on it like porthole windows and decorated it with buoys and it has evolved into a lovely studio. I’ve built a wonderful local clientele, and the boaters and sailors I meet when exhibiting at shows point their compasses to beautiful Stonington Harbor in the summer and stop in for a visit.

Maggie Lee Designs, Stonington, Connecticut

Signage - Water Street

Living by the sea certainly has its advantages. Each morning starts with a cup of coffee on our porch facing the water. The salt air, fog horn, and early light glistening on the harbor are meditative. We take our dog Finn for a romp through the Borough, exploring the docks and beach, meeting his furry friends, and checking his daily pee-mail along the way. The Borough is very dog-friendly! Then it’s off to my shop for the day. We look forward to small boat racing on Wednesday nights, and on Sunday mornings, we sail before I head to the studio. My goal each day is to make it back to my porch to catch the glorious sunset. 

Finn on the docks

Stonington Borough from the water

The Borough is completely unspoiled by big-box retail. All of the shops are owner-operated, and the village is full of like-minded entrepreneurs, artists, and makers. I’ve joined a number of associations, and I especially love being a member of the Stonington Borough Merchants Association (SBMA) which offers a sense of community — something I have always desired.

Stonington Harbor and Lighthouse

Living a coast-and-country lifestyle is not always as perfect as it sounds, but I’ve fallen into an annual schedule that allows me to spend most of the summer in Stonington, popping back to Lancaster one week each month. The rest of the year, my home base is my beloved Lancaster — visiting Stonington one week per month. For the most up-to-date info on when and where I’ll be, check my calendar. 

There are a few events happening in Stonington you may not want to miss — Gardens by the Sea (a walking tour of some of Stonington’s historic properties with a marketplace and Plein air painters), The 30th Annual Wooden Boat Show at the Mystic Seaport, and The 4th Annual Art Walk. 

Gardens by the Sea 30th Annual Wooden Boat Show 4th Annual Art Walk

Be sure to visit me if you find yourself in the quaint New England seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut, or the rolling green hills of Pennsylvania Amish country.

Tagged: Journal


  • Pati Frey: June 07, 2022

    This sounds so perfect I’m so happy you found a wonderful place and thrilled that you’ll still have a fingerprint in Lancaster

  • Heidi Schützler: May 19, 2022

    Maggie, you are a very talented artist and yet a very kind person. You have helped us with many special surprises. You most certainly deserve some happiness of your own!
    Thank you.

  • Eunice : May 19, 2022

    Congratulations, Maggie. It sounds beautiful. We hope that you’ll still be in our favorite corner of the Annapolis Boat Show!

  • Jeanne McIlwain: May 19, 2022

    Could not be more delighted for you.
    Have a wonderful summer.

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