In the beginning...
Brothers Scott and Elliott Davidson, as infants, were rocked to sleep cruising the Connecticut River from Portland to Niantic in their father & grandfathers (Robert and Nobles) 32’ carvel planked Chris Craft Constellation. The family’s recreation was quite contagious to the boys growing up and they were soon sailing and waterskiing. As teenagers, the family sold the Chris Craft for a 40’ 1929 Nova Scotian Ketch. The boys were involved in the maintenance and learned navigation the old fashioned way. At 17 Scott was Dock master at the Niantic Bay Yacht Club and successfully navigated the ketch (including thick fog conditions) numerous times to Block Island and Nantucket as sole captain and navigator. Elliott (1 year younger) followed suit shortly and was soon involved in yacht handling, hauling and maintenance at Saybrook Marine Service. Not realizing it at the time but careers were being developed.
While studying engineering at the University of New Hampshire and Steward at the Portsmouth Yacht Club, Scott realized he just wanted to own his own Marina and switched to a business administration major. Upon graduation we all worked in ground level marina operations.
In 1977 Dad (Robert) left the firearm manufacturing business and founded Damar Ltd (Davidson Marine). It began as a yacht brokerage service at Saybrook Marine Service. Elliott was at Saybrook Marine and also worked in the lobstering business. Scott managed a Hunter sailboat dealership on City Island, NY. Two years later Scott and Dad joined and moved to the Bertram dealership to create a Sailboat Dealership, they secured dealerships for Bayfield, Sea Sprite, Mariner and Columbia sailboats. Before they knew it, so many boats were sold that Elliott came on board to help commission and deliver them.
Meanwhile they all looked for their own marina. In 1981 they purchased Midway Marina, consisting of a small shop and store, 4 acres, a small travel lift, 75 boats for winter storage, 65 slips and lots of potential.
The Regan years were great. Dealerships for Wellcraft, Uniflite and Californian yachts were secured. Up to two million power & sailboat sales per year were achieved throughout the ‘80s.
Key employees were hired who still work at Midway today. Dad (Robert) retired in 1988. The broken down waterfront snack bar was re established and is a tremendously popular destination “The Blue Oar”.
In the late ‘90s Scott and Elliott established Salmon River Boatworks, which customized and finishes new Down East Lobster boat hulls. Indoor storage buildings were added. The travel lift and crane were upgraded. Docking was expanded to accommodate 100 boats. Additional land was purchased to create space for over 200 winter storage customers. So far the marina consists of 17 acres of land and about a Quarter mile of water front.
Celebrating our 35th Year Anniversary! Stop by and enjoy our beautiful Connecticut River with us. Our piece of the river, aka Solstice Harbor is scenic and peaceful as can be. It is well worth the 15 mile trip up the Connecticut River with its diverse landscapes, hills, cliffs, quarries, fields, historic towns, mansions and landmarks. Historic Essex is halfway here. Then you will see Hamburg Cove, Joshua’s Rock, Seldon’s Creek, Hadlyme Ferry Landing and Gillette’s Castle, maybe stop and drift or anchor for a refreshing fresh water swim. The next landmarks are the East Haddam swing bridge, (the oldest longest operating swing bridge in the country), and its neighbor the historic Goodspeed Opera House. Maybe take in a show in the evening. Pass through the bridge by the mansions of East Haddam and the Salmon River and cove. As you round the next bend you have arrived at Solstice Harbor where during the summer the sunsets are directly up a 2 mile fetch of the beautiful hillside landscaped river. At last relax & enjoy! Offering family friendly atmosphere including a seasonal waterfront restaurant “The Blue Oar”.