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"For us, this was home." - Harriette Evans

Some African Americans worked hard and carefully saved money to buy vacation homes so their children and grandchildren could enjoy comfortable vacations. Black entrepreneurs established businesses in response to growing demand. Their stories show the creativity and determination required to overcome the barriers that resulted from racism.

Hazel and Clayton Sinclair met in Kittery when they came as domestic help with white employers who were vacationing there. Hazel, a cook and maid, and Clayton, a chauffeur, decided to marry and stay in Maine. When they bought Rock Rest, it was a run-down house without electricity or running water. Clayton worked for two years to fix up the building. After they opened for business, Hazel worked seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day, cooking, cleaning, and tending to the guests’ needs.  Clayton worked full time at the Portsmouth shipyard, and when he got home to Rock Rest, he tended the garden and was the all purpose “fix-it man.” Running Rock Rest was not easy, but it provided the Sinclairs with an independence they would not have had as domestic help.

Places like Oak Bluffs, Rock Rest, and the Cummings’ Guest House became truly special to the people who visited them. Free from the pressures of their life back home, visitors could relax and enjoy the company of friends and family.