Up the Mountain

Camden Snow BowlFolks are often surprised to learn that right on Maine’s midcoast is a Snow Bowl where from December thru spring there is skiing on Ragged Mountain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe runs aren’t real long, but neither are the lines so a diehard skier can get his fill in a day.

DSC01721There’s no snow this time of year, but on October Sundays one can take the chairlifts up the mountain.

DSC01724Except for the fact that it got colder and colder as we went up the mountain and our hands turned to ice, it was a glorious experience.  Ordinarily, leaves have gone by but thanks to a warm, dry summer they are at their best late into October.

DSC01746I could only marvel at the beauty as we went higher and higher.

DSC01739At the top of the mountain, one can see forever.

DSC01731 (1)What is astonishing is the view of Penobscot Bay and the many islands that dot it.  How many places can you think of where it is possible to ski while looking out onto the water?



Ragged Mountain is not just for skiing.  Throughout the year, people can enjoy hiking and biking trails.

DSC01703It’s not just humans that enjoy being on the mountain!  Here, there is ample opportunity for everyone to find something to enjoy.

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At the ferry landing there is a lighthouse which, like so many others, is no longer active.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

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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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Fog: A Sure Thing

When you live on the coast of Maine, fog is a sure thing.  It may last for only a few hours or for a day.  Rarely does it linger longer, but it can which means staying inside and getting caught up on neglected chores or reading or working a jigsaw puzzle.

Here on Rockport Harbor, it is interesting to watch the fog’s journey.  Today it is creeping in from Penobscot Bay on little cat feet.

Left behind is a sky so blue that it makes the contrast between clear and mist even more dramatic.As the fog makes its way into the harbor, it begins to wrap the trees along the shore in a transparent veil.

It slinks above the boats rocking gently on their moorings

and makes its way to the head of the harbor where it outlines the vessels tied at the pier.

Gradually, the fog thickens hiding all hints of blue sky and shrouding everything in its path.

As I stand and watch the fog blanket the harbor,  all but that which is a few feet away becomes invisible. Whether it is here to stay or to disappear  soon only time will tell.  For now, it is intriguing to follow fog’s journey which makes me again marvel at nature’s mysterious ways.

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Dishing It & Digging It


Atop Beech Hill


 Beech Hill is a one of my favorite spots.  It is what I see in the distance when we are returning to Rockport Harbor on the boat, and it is a wonderful place for an easy hike.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the top is Beech Nut, a historical sod cottage built in 1917 as a picnic spot for a summer estate.

img_3391Originally, it was reached by carriage, but these days one hikes a 3/4 mile trail.   Both sides of the trail are surrounded by the Beech Hill Preserve where the Coastal Mountain Land Trust grows those wonderful little Maine blueberries.  If you time the hike when the blueberries are ripe, you just might be able to gather a handful or two along the edge of the trail. 


Fall is a particularly beautiful time of year to hike the trail to the top.  The blueberry fields are ablaze with crimson.


In one direction Penobscot Bay is in full view,


in another a lake glistens in the sun.


Turn away from the water and the Camden Hills provide a different dimension to the landscape.


I take time to enjoy every little thing that is front of me and to give thanks for the beauty and tranquility of this place.

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Let Summer Begin!

Pipe DreamsUntil Pipe Dreams is back at the dock and we’ve had our first boat outing, summer hasn’t begun.  Thanks to blustery seas, it’s taken a few days to get that first trip underway.

Rockport Pano 6X18Leaving Rockport Harbor behind I begin to see all the familiar sights that are so dear.  

Indian Island Indian Island with its lighthouse still stands guard at the mouth of the harbor, and in the distance a schooner loaded with visitors is powered by a gentle breeze.

islandFarther out are the islands  that separate us from the Atlantic Ocean and make this part of the Maine coast the absolute best for boating.

North Haven/llobster buoysLobster buoys dot the water,

lobster boatsand the lobster guys are out doing their thing which reminds me I haven’t yet had a lobster!

cloudsHigh above are clouds floating in a clear blue sky, and I wonder how life could be any more perfect than at this moment.   I close my eyes in gratitude for the privilege of being in this beautiful place.

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From Beginning to End

The hubby was determined to shoot Sunday’s eclipse from beginning to end, and he did, staying in place from 9 PM until after midnight.  The night before he scouted the closeby area for a perfect unobstructed spot to set up his camera, so when the time arrived he was ready.  Over the next 3 hours he took more than 200 photos. I’ll spare you all of them but the following which beautifully show the progression of the eclipse.


A couple of hours before, the moon hung low over Penobscot Bay illuminating the water and surrounding area with its glow.  It was so bright that it made the sky seem empty of all else.

eclipseFinally, at roughly 9:11 P.M. the eclipse began and the first shadow appeared to introduce a progression that would last for about an hour.

eclipseAs we watched, our friend who is an astrophysicist explained what was happening.

eclipseHis commentary made the event even more special and was quite educational.eclipseHe talked not only of the eclipse but of the constellations

eclipseand the stars that began twinkling in the sky as the moon darkened.  Earlier it had been nearly impossible to see all but a few with the naked eye.

eclipseIn the final stages of the eclipse when the moon was a dull ball, the Milky Way claimed its space in a velvet sky.

eclipseThough I expected the moon to go totally dark, it didn’t.  Rather it appeared as if it were hiding behind an orange curtain through which no light could pass.

eclipseSoon after it was totally eclipsed, the reverse began and sometime after midnight the moon again appeared as a bright orb high in the sky.

eclipseFor those of you who missed it, you have another chance in 18 years when the moon again is closest to the earth and perfectly aligned with it and the sun!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Change


Buck’s Harbor: A Favorite Destination

MaizyOn a lazy, hazy day Maizy is ready for a little cruise, so off we go to Buck’s Harbor, a peaceful and protected cove perfect for an overnight stay.

Pond Island
Pond Island

The getting there is one of the most beautiful passages on Penobscot Bay.    Cruising along , we pass islands with the most descriptive names: Pond, Butter, Eagle, Horsehead, Beach, Deer.  Each has its own character, and several are among my favorites to explore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs we near Buck’s Harbor, way in the distance is the bridge that separates the mainland from Deer Isle.  Perhaps this is Maine’s version of the Golden Gate.

Buck's HarborA little closer, sitting on a rocky island, is a single dwelling that once housed a lighthouse keeper.  Like most other lighthouses in Maine, it is no longer in operation.  Still, I love thinking of them as guardians of the sea.

Buck's HarborBuck's HarborBuck's HarborBuck's HarborEntering Buck’s Harbor, we find we are not the only ones who think this a great spot.  Thunderstorms are forecast for later tonight, but all will be safe as the harbor is protected on all sides by land.  If you look at the differences in the sky, you can see those storm clouds brewing.

Linda  058Like many places in Maine, Buck’s Harbor has an interesting history.  It is the setting for many of Robert McCloskey’s children’s books including Blueberries for Sal, Time of Wonder and One Morning in Maine.

Buck's HarborIt is home to the Buck’s Harbor Yacht Club, built around 1912 and the third oldest yacht club in Maine.  Interestingly, its  burgee was the first private flag to be carried through the Panama Canal.

Buck's HarborAside from the yacht club, there’s not a whole lot in the town closest to the harbor, but what there is is quintessential Maine. There’s a real throwback general store where the motto is “We want to be the best little market in Maine”.  I can’t tell you whether or not it’s made it, but I can tell you it has some really good homemade cookies!

Buck's HarborShould the boat need stocking, there are also some good eats there.

Buck's HarborThere is a sweet little Methodist church which is why spending Saturday night here is a must.   Dogs are allowed to attend Sunday morning service, so Maizy can go, too.  I don’t know what it is about that church, but it feels so very right.

Buck's HarborWe managed to get ashore before the rains came, but when they came it was a downpour with lots of thunder and lightning.  The storm lasted more than 2 hours which meant a very leisurely dinner at Buck’s, not a bad deal at all.

Buck's HarborI hope you’ve enjoyed this little visit to Buck’s Harbor.  It’s a simple place where one can be surrounded by the beauty of nature and the charm of a very unspoiled Maine town.    As the sky clears and stars pop out one by one, illuminating the sky with sparkling diamonds, it seems the perfect place to be. 

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The Last Boat Ride

It’s that time of year when one by one boats are pulled from the water and stored for the winter.  Pipe Dreams goes into hibernation this week so we must get in that last boat ride of the season. 

Indian IslandAs we leave Rockport Harbor, I take a long look at Indian Island wearing its coat of many colors.  This is an image that will be in my head through the winter, a reminder of what I will look forward to next year.

schoonerAs we cruise Penobscot Bay, we wave to folks on a schooner enjoying a sail under a perfect fall sky.  It won’t be long until these vessels are shrouded in plastic or headed south for warmer climes.

frieghterNow, here is a sight we don’t see too often in the bay, a big freighter heading who knows where.

CamdenIn the distance, we see the mainland that is Camden, Lincolnville and Northport

Maineand the islands that characterize the coast of Maine.

BelfastAs we tie up at the Belfast dock, we are welcomed by this familiar sign and notice that the patio is full today of people eating and basking in the warm sun.

BelfastBelfast, another of those cute little Maine towns with a charming main street, is one of our favorite destinations for lunch and browsing. 

BelfastIt is crowded today with visitors from a ship that takes passengers on leaf peeping cruises.

Chase's DailyNo way can we come to Belfast without having lunch at Chase’s Daily, always worth the wait.  The menu is vegetarian and most of the offerings are made with ingredients fresh from the Chase farm.

Chase's DailyChase's DailyChase's DailyChase's DailyThe rear of the restaurant,  appealing as the menu and  filled with seasonal produce and flowers, is also an exhibition space for art, so there is plenty on which to focus.

Eat More Cheese
Eat More Cheese
Coyote Moon
Coyote Moon
The Good Table
The Good Table

On the way back to the boat, I can’t resist a stop at a few of my favorite places where I am sure to find something I can’t live without!

Rockport HarborAfter a very satisfying visit to Belfast and a perfect day for this last cruise, we return to Rockport and the harbor that welcomes us home.

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Along the Dirt Road

Just past my house begins a dirt road.  From morning til dark people–singly, in groups, with dogs–trek the three miles that round Beauchamp Point,

leaving their footprints in the dirt.

This time of year a portion of the road is closed meaning no vehicles interrupt its peacefulness.  The only sounds are the rustling of wind in the
trees, water slapping against the rocks or gulls calling out to each other.

In a couple of places is a path leading to softly rounded rocks where in summer people picnic or sunbathe.  At any time of year, it is not uncommon to see someone there with a camera or a paintbrush and easel.

Today a sea urchin was locked in the ice, but it is likely to be washed away at high tide.

Here and there on the dirt road is a left behind item hanging from a branch or pole waiting to be reclaimed.

Rounding the first turn is the field where for years the donkeys, Martini and Rossi, watched the passersby.  Now, both are buried beneath the apple tree across the way, but in my mind I see them every time I pass this spot.

No walk is complete without a stop at the Children’s Chapel which I think of as my special place.  There I can sit quietly overlooking Penobscot Bay and feel as one with the world.

It may have been given as a sanctuary for youth, but it serves as a place of spiritual and mental refreshment for all who halt there.

The dirt road is a walk for all seasons. Do you have a special place to leave your footprints?

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