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.

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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.

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Flowers, Maine

A Look Around

For the next few months, the hubby and I have left Houston behind for Rockport, Maine. The two places are oh so different with a major difference being the plant life.

rhododendrons/flowersArriving in Maine, the first thing I do is walk around the yard where so many varieties of  blooming plants color the landscape. This year we missed the azaleas but were in time for the rhodendrons to be in full splendor.

lilacs/flowersAlongside them, the sweet smell of lilacs fills the air.

IMG_1365I was pleased to see the viburnum blooming more profusely than in recent years, but they also remind me how important it is to keep them trimmed or they can crowd out everything else.

peonyPeonies are staked thanks to advanced help and are filled with tight little buds that won’t pop for another week or two.  Just the thought of those beauties makes my heart race.

flowers/bachelor buttonTo my surprise, bachelor buttons had sprung up among the ferns.

flowersBeautiful alliums are hanging in there, but it will be only a matter of days before they are done and ready to dry for fall arrangements.

IMG_1355It is too late in the day to do more than look around, but that’s time enough to plan what needs to happen next.  And, with all this beauty, it’s impossible to resist cutting a few blooms to take inside where they add color and joy.  It doesn’t take much to make me feel right at home.

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Maine, Travel

Moving On

It’s always a little sad for a Foodie Adventure to end as it is a wonderful week with great people and the best ever hosts, Michael and Mary Jo, who work so hard to make it a perfect experience. End it must though, and everyone moves on.

Since we were in Europe, the hubby and I decided to maximize our trip by taking a Danube cruise, long on our bucket list. The timing worked out pretty well, but we had a few days before the ship’s departure. Finding it to be a short trip from Rome to Croatia, we went to Dubrovnik.

With its lovely coastal views, it is a lovely place.

It’s hard to believe that just over 20 years ago much of Dubrovnik was in ruins thanks to intensive bombing by the Serbs.

Today most of the city has been restored and is a major tourist destination.

With its charming Old Town, filled with interesting sights and shops, it is easy to see why.

Nowhere have I ever seen so many eateries as there are in such a compact space.

Because of its proximity to the sea, seafood is on every menu.

In some ways Dubrovnik reminds me of Maine because so much of its economy depends on the tourist trade which is about a five month season. That means people work very hard during that time in order to earn enough money to survive the winter.

From Dubrovnik we ventured on to Budapest, a vibrant city filled with beautiful architecture.

While there is much to do there, what we like best about Budapest is spending time with one of our former exchange students and her family. What made this meeting very special was meeting Lulu, the newest family member named in my honor. Talk about turning to mush, this little one completely stole my heart!

Part of spending time with Lulu’s parents means we get to experience their life which includes weekends on Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe where so much of the activity centers around the water.

After an all too short visit, it was time for us to say good by and board our ship to begin a Danube River cruise that would take us from Budapest to Prague. Wow, this is a lot of stimulation in a short period, but each part of the adventure holds something new.

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Maine, Winter

Foiled!

dirt road winterEach year during the holidays we return to Maine for a taste of winter.  A few days is generally enough to tell us we are happy not to have to endure more.   There is something good to be said about winter in Houston.

The schooners that sail Penobscot Bay all summer were bound in shrink wrap to protect them from winter weather.

IMG_0080Some brave soul had braved the cold long enough to shimmy up the mast to top it with a tree.

IMG_0092The schooner was not the only thing to sport a tree.  So did the fuel dock at Rockport Marine where we fill Pipe Dreams with diesel to keep her running on our summer boating adventures.

IMG_0097It was so cold that the harbor was partially frozen, a sight not often seen.

IMG_0103The ice locked in place the few lobster boats that remained in the water.

Rockport Harbor - sea smoke 188 MASTERWith the temperatures well below freezing,  sea smoke floated across the water, a sight full of mystery and beauty.

IMG_0090Snow made the landscape a winter wonderland.

IMG_0083With their wooly coats, sheep seemed able to  bear the cold but they stayed close to the barn since the snow in the pasture was too deep for them to frolic

IMG_0110Yes, these are visions of winter, but this holiday was foiled by an Arctic blast with temperatures so cold outside as to be almost unbearable for more than a few minutes.  To make matters worse, the heat in our house was not working properly meaning that we stayed bundled up and spent most of our time in front of the fireplace.  We stood it for two days before the hubby decided he’d had enough of 40 degree temps in the house.  Though weather foiled our stay, it was long enough to capture some of the season’s magic and gave us yet another memory of the time we spend in Maine.

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Maine

Last Flight

Exploring the Moosehead Lake region, we spied a sign pointing down a dirt road to a B 52 Memorial. We couldn’t imagine what that would be, but there was only one way to find out and that was to take the road.
It was a bumpy, dusty ride made tolerable by magnificent fall color .
In the distance were mountains, one of which we commented resembled an elephant. We later learned that it was called Elephant Mountain and was part of what we were about to experience.

Seven miles or so down the road, we arrived at the site to be welcomed by a sign giving indication we were going to experience something we’d not expected.

Before we’d walked too far, we saw what was the first of many airplane parts.

Needless to say that was sobering.

Debris was scattered throughout a heavily wooded area which made us wonder how and when such an obviously devastating accident had occurred.

As we continued further into the area, we became more solemn as even larger remains littered the forest.

At last, we came to the place where some questions were answered. We were surprised that anyone could have survived such a tragic crash and wondered how the survivors were rescued in such an isolated area.

When we returned to the inn later in the day, the first thing we did was research the event. It occurred January 1963 on a routine exercise that you can learn more about here. What was astonishing is that the two survivors withstood -30 degree temperatures in a snowy terrain for hours before being rescued. With today’s sophisticated location equipment they would have been found much sooner.

Needless to say, we were very moved by what we saw and appreciative of the effort to honor the men whose lives were lost.

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Maine

Sunday Wanderings

Me: Hey, we’re running out of time for a last adventure before we go back to Houston.

Hubby: So what do you have in mind?

Me: Hmmm, how about a couple of days at Moosehead Lake?

Hubby: OK, if you can find us a place to stay.

That proved to be a challenge, but luckily Blair Hill Inn had one room available.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur room was beautifully appointed

with spectacular views of the lake and mountains.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, what’s special about the Moosehead Lake region? It is all about the outdoors-fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hunting, hiking-in a pristine environment.

Speaking of hiking, the Appalachian Trail runs through the region and ends at nearby Mount Katadin.

It’s not likely I’ll ever do the entire 2100 mile trek, but I have a bit of it under my belt!

For campers, the area has several state parks with ample campsites.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome folks had seasonal touches which made “roughing” it seem rather homey.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALike most of Maine, the population is sparse, and Kotadjo states it best!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s said that moose outnumber humans 3:1, but we saw nary a one. Only a lone deer crossed our path.

When we got to Kotajdo, it was about lunch time and there wasn’t much on the road ahead of us. That meant stopping here where an enterprising soul provided staples for hunters and fishermen and served a few sandwiches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA. We were the only people there whose dress gave us away as visitors. When our Texas license plate was noted, there was some surprise we weren’t driving a pickup!

The Moosehead Lake region is unspoiled, and every effort is made to keep it that way. Whenever there is a proposal to increase development be it residential or wind farms, it meets strong resistance.

While that may not seem like progress, it is one of the reasons Maine is one of this country’s gifts when it comes to natural beauty.

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Dishing It and Digging It