MANCHESTER — Elizabeth and Jim Bossy traveled from Tennessee to the Kennebec Cabin Company in Manchester recently to get a closer look behind the scenes of their favorite TV show, “Maine Cabin Masters.”

The headquarters of the Magnolia Network cabin-restoration show sits just off U.S. Route 202, in an old, well-maintained building with wooden floors and small windows. Inside are coffee mugs, key chains, pillows, a rack made of a canoe cut in half and other goods bearing the name of the program that have fans from all over the country visiting the small Kennebec County town of just over 2,500 people.

“We come to Maine often, but this is our first time here in Manchester,” Jim Bossy said. “We came for the Cabin Masters. We love, love the show — (we have) been watching it for years.”

The program, which first aired in 2017, follows local contractor Chase Morrill; his sister Ashley Morrill, a designer; her husband Ryan Eldridge, dubbed “the voice of reason”; and their longtime friends Matt “Dixie” Dix and Jared “Jedi” Baker as they renovate camps across the state.

Chase Morrill, one of the stars of the “Maine Cabin Masters” reality television program, pounds a nail in 2019 into the floor of the farmhouse his family bought in Manchester that is now the Kennebec Cabin Company. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

As the team gears up for the launch of the show’s ninth season on Oct. 23, its fandom is holding strong. With a peak audience of 437,000 viewers, “Maine Cabin Masters” is one of the Magnolia Network’s most popular shows, according to the online database USTVDB.

And now, the show’s popularity has allowed Ashley Morrill to branch out and launch her own home décor line.


On the TV show, Ashley Morrill makes custom pillows and other products that speak to the interests of the featured cabin owners. She said she started her own company, called Rustic County, to bring her knack for designing homewares to a wider audience.

Ashley Morrill with some of her new Rustic County throw pillows recently at the Kennebec Cabin Company in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“After years of designing with ‘Maine Cabin Masters,’ I wanted to create something that is 100% from me,” Ashley Morrill said in a recent interview with the Kennebec Journal. “I love the show and will always be part of it, but I also wanted to branch out and do my own thing.”

A selection of Rustic County pillows displayed recently at the Kennebec Cabin Company in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Rustic County’s first product launch includes several decorative pillows with Maine-themed and floral designs that will be featured in the new season of Maine Cabin Masters. The products are now available on the Rustic County website and will soon appear on the shelves of the Kennebec Cabin Company in Manchester.

Rustic County is women-run, with a team that includes Julie Bellantuoni, social media expert; Christian Musson, brand ambassador; and Stephanie Hayward, business manager.

Hayward, a friend of Ashley Morrill’s for more than two decades, said she never expected this to become her career.

“It has been very fun so far. Watching Ashley come up with ideas and designs and then use a rubber stamp to carve them out,” Hayward said. “Also, that it is women-run is huge. You hear about that a lot nowadays, and Ashley has worked in a male-driven environment with Cabin Masters, and she loves them. But to do her own thing with her vision is very powerful.”


Ashley Morrill, center, chats with tourists and fans of “Maine Cabin Masters” at the Kennebec Cabin Company in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

A graphic design student in college and a former owner of an antique store in Hallowell, Ashley Morrill admitted that the vision for Rustic County had been circulating in her mind for a few years.

“Originally, I bought fabric, and I remember thinking that I wanted to … put my designs on it,” she said. “I was just looking for the companies who shared my values, who were environmentally conscious.”

Along with vision, the fame helps, too.

The celebrity Ashley Morrill found through Cabin Masters is something she said she hopes to use to catapult her new business.

“I use the fame to my advantage. Our fans are very loyal, and they want a piece of Maine and what we create,” Ashley Morrill said.

Tourists have lunch on picnic tables at The Woodshed Tuesday at the Kennebec Cabin Company in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

In the nine years since she and her brother were approached by a television network to make cabins using recyclable materials, Ashley Morrill and the Cabin Masters team are not the only ones who have reaped the benefits of fame.


The town of Manchester has been buoyed by the fandom for the show and the people it attracts to the 1850s homestead the group purchased in 2019 and the restaurant and bar, The Woodshed, it opened there soon after.

On a recent weekday, visitors were perched upon the benches, listening to music emanating from the outdoor bar, eating and discussing their experience. Inside the restaurant, the wooden walls were lined with pinned one dollar bills, all bearing the names of fans or a note from them.

“I have seen all the seasons at least three times,” said Melinda Mikkelson, who visited with her husband, Gary, from Iowa. “We built our own cabin in Iowa, so it’s interesting to see how they do it on the show and that too on a budget. Also the fact that they try and keep the environment in mind is great.”

Suzy Lee, of Caledonia, Illinois, shops underneath flags Tuesday at the Kennebec Cabin Company in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Suzy Lee had also traveled from the Midwest to see the Kennebec Cabin Company.

“My husband expected the store to be bigger, but I like it like this — (it’s) small and it feels like home,” said Lee, who is from Caledonia, Illinois. “He never liked these home renovation shows, until he saw this one, and now we are the biggest fans.”

Ashley Morrill said she is glad to be able to give Manchester a boost.


“Manchester is a small town, but (it has) good restaurants and locations to relax,” she said.” So, it’s nice to see the tourists who are fans of the show, come from around the country, and visit the local places and help the businesses.”

Alan Claude, the owner of the Alan Claude Gallery in Manchester, has witnessed it firsthand.

“Cabin Masters has definitely been a blessing,” said Claude. “It has affected the town in a great way. It’s a positive show, and the fans are likewise. We like those people, and when they visit, they like the store, like the art in the studio, they have a good time.”

Hayward agreed.

“Manchester was always a small, residential town. Now, you drive in on a Saturday and you see plates on the cars from all around, from Florida, from North Dakota,” said Hayward. “It’s a large and loyal fanbase, and it is nice to talk to them when you meet them. Central Maine is a hidden gem. People don’t realize that until they visit.”

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