By now, you’ve noticed the addition off Raymond Beach on Route 302: that floating snack-shack at the end of a long boardwalk known as the Black Ghost Cafe. Perhaps you’ve motored up on your boat for a burger, fries or ice cream.

Word is the french fries at the Black Ghost are excellent. “One lady said she’s tried every french fry and lobster roll around and that my fries were by far the best,” Jeff Pomeroy, cafe proprietor said. “I had another customer who recently had Pier fries at Old Orchard Beach who commented that ours were better.”

This was the first season for the experiment entered into by the town of Raymond and Pomeroy to manage long-standing issues at Raymond Beach. By all accounts, it has been a success; Pomeroy intends on returning next year and beyond.

“Most of my business this year has been boat traffic,” Pomeroy said. “A lot of people from Frye Island have stopped over; I’ve had one family that’s come by almost every day for ice cream. I have quite a few regulars.”

The beach appears to be benefiting as well. Raymond’s town manager, Don Willard, said the town’s relationship with Pomeroy has been a good one and that the beach has been maintained in excellent condition all summer.

Pomeroy was the only applicant when the town was seeking a contractor to run the beach. A five-year lease agreement has been signed.

A typical day for Pomeroy consists of patrolling the beach for trash and doing light landscaping.

“It’s been great,” Pomeroy said. “Other than the occasional bird that will empty out a trash can in search of a scrap of food at the bottom, and for the picking up of cigarette butts, it’s pretty easy.”

Pomeroy said beach patrons have largely been helpful. “I’ve seen people walking the beach who will stop to pick up something and throw it in the trash,” he said. “People are taking pride in what’s going on down here.”

Pomeroy is a beach steward in more ways than one: patrolling for litter, as well as keeping an eye on potential trouble. Public drinking, which is forbidden, has not been too much of an issue, but Pomeroy has interacted with some individuals who have imbibed.

“Some have come by drinking something in red cups that eventually turned into beer cans all over the ground” he said. “But I’m keeping an eye out. If there are any complaints, I take care of it and the people are gone.”

Another thing Pomeroy has discovered he must police is kids feeding the ducks. About a dozen feathered friends have taken up residence at the beach. There have been no issues this year, but because of “duck itch” and other concerns, those involved naturally want to keep this number to a minimum.

Pomeroy’s lease allows for a range of activities. He said he’ll likely expand operations a bit next year by adding kayak rentals and/or paddle boats. And he’s allowed to charge beachgoers admission but has decided against this simply because he says parking is inadequate.

Another possibility Pomeroy is looking into is opening up the cafe for the annual ice fishing derby in February. The snowmobile speed runs, located just off the cafe’s current location, recorded some impressive numbers last year. Pomeroy said this has attracted the attention of professional competitors. It’s likely Polaris, Ski-Doo and other large names will have a significant presence here next winter.

Pomeroy said he would like to see more locals discover the cafe. As such, the Black Ghost plans on being open at least through the end of September. Hours, from noon to 5 p.m., will likely change to weekends only, with the possibility of Fridays.

Call the cafe at 239-1658; phone-in orders are welcome.

 

Don Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Raymond. He can be reached at [email protected]