Maine

Island Stories

Of the more than 3,000 islands off the coast of Maine, only 14 have year round inhabitants. One is Islesboro with a population of less than 600 people. It has a K-12 school and, unlike most islands, it is accessible by ferry leaving from Lincolnville Beach which  makes it possible for islanders to work and attend school on the mainland.

At the ferry landing there is a lighthouse which, like so many others, is no longer active.

If one doesn’t mind climbing narrow, rickety steps to the top,  there is a nice view of Penobscot Bay and the mainland.

There was a time when Indians summered on Islesboro, fishing and trapping.  Early white settlers earned their living farming and fishing.  Some of the history of these early inhabitants is in the Islesboro Sailors Memorial Museum and the Islesboro Historical Society and Museum.

At one time, Islesboro was home to the largest commercial shipping fleet in Penobscot Bay.  Life on the island changed, however, in the late 1800’s when wealthy folks from away discovered it and built stately homes, many of which are being used today by fifth and sixth generations of families.  As wealthy folks began spending time on Islesboro, the islanders adapted to their needs by becoming  carpenters and gardeners thus livelihood became more dependent on summer people.   Would you be surprised to learn that it took some time for the islanders to develop a cordial relationship with their new neighbors?

Islesboro, with its beautiful vistas, is like stepping back in time.

It is peaceful and a wonderful setting for relaxing or exploring.  A number of celebrities have found it a place to spend time without being bothered. For many years the pace was slow and transportation was by horse drawn carriage. It wasn’t until 1932 after summer people were gone that islanders voted to allow cars on the island.  That was a radical change, but it made life easier for those who were there year round.

Islesboro is just one of Maine’s islands with a rich history, and it’s fascinating to learn about past and present life on many of them.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Tablescapes

From Field to Table

IMG_1676Though I walk for exercise, my eyes are always open for what is blooming in fields adjacent to the path.  There’s Queen Ann’s lace, goldenrod, interesting grasses, cattails, lupine pods and things I can’t even name.  Often I come home with a handful that combined become part of lovely arrangements for the table.

IMG_1677My favorite way to arrange flowers is to put them in a variety of vessels.  It is simple and the containers can be placed randomly to create an easy centerpiece.

IMG_1678The cloth that is background for the flowers is folded on the diagonal leaving part of the table bare. When it’s time to eat, a couple of placemats fill and protect the bare space as well as reflect the quiet background of the cloth.

IMG_1681Playing off the cranberry color of the small vases and the flowers in the textile, these dishes are perfect.  They are  long discontinued from the 40’s and 50’s and were a purchase from an antique show some years ago.

IMG_1687Their appeal is not only the color but the unusual shape.

IMG_1682Adding the thumbprint glasses continues the color scheme and finishes the table.

IMG_1683Tonight the family will gather around what we call the big house meaning it’s a step up from the breakfast room.  Having teenage girls get involved in the table preparation is a great way for them to recognize that setting an attractive table can be very uncomplicated.  Sometimes a pretty table is also a gentle reminder to use good table manners!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

Maine

When Company Comes

Boy, it’s hard to keep up with blog writing and reading during the summer months when I am in Maine. If you’ve been along with me for a while, you know we do lots of boating, and there’s more that keeps me crazily busy. We have lots of company which means extra meals and some pretty quick turnarounds when it comes to preparing for the next round of guests. I’m not complaining though because we are very lucky to have this special place to share.

So, what do we do when company comes? The first night is simple. We have a lobster dinner which is such an easy one to prepare. The hubby steams or grills the lobster leaving me the simple task of roasting potatoes and corn

blueberry cobblerand making a blueberry cobbler from those yummy wild Maine blueberries. You can be sure no morsel is left.

Perry CreekThe boat makes entertaining simple. We may go to a beautiful cove

lobster rolland have lobster rolls aboard.

IMG_1481One of the nice things about having a power boat is that you can plan an outing and know how long it takes to get to a destination. There are several places that can be reached conveniently for a lunch on the deck.  Luke’s is one of our favorites.

IMG_1484With fresh seafood abundant, most folks go for a delicious haddock sandwich, fish and chips or a clam roll. Oh, and some choose lobster again since there’s no such thing as too much when you are visiting!

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Christina Olson painted by Andrew Wyeth

On those occasions when the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are two quite wonderful art museums in nearby Rockland. CMCA has rotating exhibits of contemporary art and the Farnsworth Art Museum has an outstanding permanent collection. In both, all the art is created by artists who have a connection to Maine and that includes such famous names as Winslow Homer, George Bellows, Alex Katz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, Andrew Wyeth and many more.

This time of year a favorite place to visit is the Endless Summer dahlia farm where there are 250 varieties of breathtakingly beautiful dahlias.

PA179261 (1).jpgTaking a walk on the dirt road is always a pleasure and a great place to take photos.

Children's ChapelAlong the way a stop at the Children’s Chapel is a delight to the senses. No matter the season, it is a tranquil oasis with  stunning views of Penobscot Bay.

So, do you get a feel for that which keeps me away from the computer for days on end? I so delight in the gift that is the coast of Maine and am always happy to share it with you though there may be gaps between posts.  Speaking of, I better get the beds made before the next friends arrive.

I so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Tablescapes

The Why of Table Setting

Friends who know I enjoy table setting have asked me why.  There are several answers, but the one that comes to mind first is that it is opportunity to be creative.  It took me a long time to recognize that, and once I did it opened the door to a new way of seeing.  The story of how I began to view setting the table as creative is another story which would take some time to tell.

flowers/tablescapeSo, how does one make table setting a creative process?  For me, it begins with there always being something on the table from which to draw inspiration.  Does that say something about my not liking bare surfaces? Here, it was nothing more than flowers arranged simply on a runner.

Now, I have to confess to being a dishaholic.  The beauty  is that it creates a variety of options when it comes to selecting.  With the colors of the flowers and the runner as influences, I picked these dishes for our evening meal, but the selection could just as easily have been a solid color that works well with a variety of accents.  By the way, places like TJ Maxx, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Goodwill are great resources for items that are both inexpensive and add flair to your table.

You will notice that the table is prepared for two, the hubby and me.  Whether it’s the two or us or company coming, the table will add to the experience of eating. That is a gift I give to others as well as myself.  

What is really important about setting tables or anything else for that matter is allowing yourself to acknowledge that you are creative!  From there, how you begin to see and think becomes second nature.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Tablescape Thursday

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Boating, Maine

A Beautiful, Beautiful Bay

There are many reasons I enjoy time in Maine.  Primarily, it’s the natural beauty of the coast, especially as seen from the water which is my happy place.

Penobscot Bay is our cruising ground, and it is one of the most perfect boating places on either coast. I like nothing better than setting out in the early morning when the sea is calm and the sky a brilliant blue.

winter/lobster boatsExcept for an occasional lobster boat that left its mooring long before us, it is not surprising for there to be no other boats around early in the day.

Out in the bay, there are islands, hundreds of them created thousands of years ago by volcanic action.

islandMost are uninhabited, covered with spruce. Looking at them, I am reminded of the Tlingit stories having to do with regrowth that were heard recently in Alaska. How is it that nature can recreate without help from man?

Here and there a building is spotted, giving indication of life there now or in an earlier time.

Pumpkin Island lighthouse

Many of the islands have lighthouses, some still active but most not.  I always try to imagine the life of the lighthouse keeper whose job it was to keep boaters safe.

Some islands are connected to the mainland by a bridge.  This recently constructed one goes to Deer Isle where the much visited Acadia National Park is located.

Heading north from Rockport Harbor, islands are not all we see. High above Camden are the rolling hills which is why Camden is described as Where the Mountains Meet the Sea. What a wonderful combination!

Pipe DreamsAs we go along, I study the charts which identify the islands and make notes about islands that may hold possibility for picnics and new discoveries.

Moon over Penobscot 2 - Version 2Yes, Penobscot Bay is a beautiful, beautiful bay, Spruce covered headlands jut boldly from its shores, jewel like islands float on its surface and the gentle, glacier rounded contours of the Camden Hills look down on its broad reaches. 

Louise Dickinson Rich, Coast of Maine.

I so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Inner Peace, musings

A Special Place

IMG_1557Roughly 11 miles from home down a curvy road leading to the woods where the only sounds are bird songs is a special place.

IMG_8977Arriving at this little cottage slows my heart and calms my spirit.

IMG_1555I love walking beneath the arbor where the sweet smell of roses perfumes the air.

IMG_1556All around is a profusion of colorful blooms that last until leaves fall and there is a hint of frost.

IMG_1558They are tended by the same loving hands that know all the secrets of my body.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Carrying outside images in my head, I enter the cottage, take the stairs to the second level and nestle on the massage table beneath a light cover. I close my eyes and a peacefulness washes over me as I await the touch of those hands.

As they begin their work relieving the tightness and tension of muscle and joints, my mind stills.

I breathe. I sometimes cry softly when I remember my brother or a friend or wonder how to resolve a troubling brokenness that from time to time occurs in the family.  The hands stroke my hair with understanding.

Two hours fly by and when they are over I am renewed and so appreciative of those tender loving hands that exist in this very special place.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine

Think Maine, Think Lobster

IMG_9061Mention Maine and it seems the first thing people think about is lobster.  It is true that lobster is plentiful in Maine and at a lesser cost than in many places so people do indulge when visiting.

lobster shackWhere do you find these tasty crustaceans?  Along the coast, they are available at any number of roadside shacks selling lobster in all its forms.

Red's EatsPerhaps the most well know is Red’s Eats in Wiscassett.  

Red's EatsI’m not sure how it got so famous, but rain or shine you can be sure there is a line of folks waiting to order.

IMG_7293 (1)Red’s may draw the crowds, but I like best the shacks that are on the water.

lobster boatsThere you can eat outside and watch the comings and goings of the lobster boats.

IMG_7309You can be sure there is competition among these lobster shacks with each one claiming to serve the best.  Now, I can tell the difference between lobster rolls, but with steamed lobsters it’s  hard to distinguish among them.

  lobster rollWhen it comes to lobsters, there are two places I enjoy them most.  One is on the boat anchored off an island enjoying a picnic with a good lobster roll, one that is mixed with a little mayonnaise and nothing more.

The other is at home where we serve up some pretty good lobster be it steamed or as an ingredient in a tasty dish. 

lobster mac 'n cheese
Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese

No matter how it’s prepared, I never get tired of it and hope those lobsters continue to abound off the Maine coast.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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