Monday, July 14, 2008
My friend, Ann, invited a couple of us girls up to stay with her at a cabin she rented in Maine. Even though I'd just been to New Hampshire, I LOVE New England and couldn't pass up another trip up there.
The cabin is adorable, quite simple, and just the way we like it. It's right on the water, near the Damariscotta River, ("river of many fishes") a tidal estuary of the Atlantic. We planned to hang out, read, knit, kayak, visit cute shops and simply veg out. That's what's nice about a vacation, there's no chores to do around the place, (hey, they're not MY weeds!), just a bit of cleaning up and very little cooking.
We had dinner on the back porch that overlooked the water.
Of course we had lobster, 3 times! I feel pretty bad about eating these beautiful crustaceans and wish I didn't love their tasty meat so much. But I'm greedy and just couldn't say no. (apparently others can't say no as lobstering brings in $1.8 billion annually). We were totally wimpy though and had to have a lobster house cook them for us.
Ann had carrot cake for us to celebrate my birthday, sparklers and all!
The entrance to the cottage has a screen door that just epitomizes a summer vacation. Doesn't the sound of a screen door slamming conjure up memories of long summer days, with kids going in and out and in and out?
There's a small knoll at the back that sits above the water, perfect for watching the sunset.
These are the floating docks that reach out on the water. The tides are quite high here so the docks are hinged and can move up and down with the tides.
During low tide, this rock outcropping is visible. This is just about 30 yards from the house.
We kayaked a few times, just pulling the kayaks down to the water, skooting in and enjoying a nice paddle to an island owned by the local conservancy group.
Then it was on to shopping! This is an amazing shop in a converted barn. It is just a modest New England style barn from the outside and we had passed it many times before finally stopping. But once we walked into the space, we all went "Wow!" We didn't expect this. We found out that one of the owners used to be a designer for Pottery Barn and that made perfect sense. The shop did look like a free style version of Pottery Barn, literally a pottery barn or a barn filled with pottery, and other good stuff. Ann is here doing what she does best, talking with Warren, who used to be a furniture builder before buying this place. Ann has a way of getting the life history of any shop owner, grocery clerk, barista stranger that she meets.
She even talked Warren into giving us some of his rhubarb which he proceeded to chop the massive leaves off and presented us with 6 stalks of the soon to be delicious vegetable. Ann made a gooey, sugary compote (not compost!) for our vanilla ice cream. Yummmm! Summer: slamming screen doors and super sweet/tart rhubarb.
Wiscassett claims to be the "cutest village in Maine". I haven't seen all the villages in Maine, but this one sure is cute. This was my favorite shop there. I loved the name, "Smitten", which I was. I liked the typefont, the color scheme, the window box and I could've taken home any of the great goods they offered if I was rich and owned yet another house. Some people just have a way of arranging things that make you want it, a nice talent to have when you're a shop owner.
Smitten displayed articles with a nice juxtaposition of retro (cleverly called "mid-century modern") and Maine cottage style.
Stopped in this antique shop with an adjacent shed decorated in colorful buoys.
I like the kind of antique stores that don't have fussy furniture, overwrought and prissy, just simple things, "junque" that I might be able to find a place for.
I really like old rusty stuff, tins included.
Ann took the next few pics . Thought this was a good name for this lobster boat.
And who wouldn't want to ride on a pretty woman?
Traps come in all sorts of colors, even purple! We were talking to a local woman who had a friend who did a study on catching lobsters. The person put a camera in a trap, lowered it down and watched as lobsters came in, got the bait, and left. Thanks for lunch! This happened a lot, she told us, and it seemed that it was just lucky for the lobsterman to pull up his trap with lobsters in them. Don't know tho. I do like to envision the lobsters visiting these colorful little cafes on the ocean floor, having a bite, leaving a 15-20% tip, then off to scruff about in the depths below.
Red's Eats is a legendary lobster shack in Wiscassett. In summer the lines cause traffic jams. We waited over 1/2 hour to get an overpacked lobster roll (1 lb of lobster in each one!). It was worth the wait. Red's opened in Boothbay in 1938 and moved to Wiscassett in1954. The day after we were there, the owner passed away. There was a write up in the New York Times and even the Washington Post. Red's fame reaches far and wide.
Not your typical Adirondack chairs. I'd like one of each please.
Ann took this photo of the lighthouse in Pemaquid. Classic Maine scene.
I was surprised at how many lobster traps are on the water. It's such a way of life up there. The coast is so broken up, with fingers of land reaching out and water, water everywhere. It's easy to get wrapped up into the romantic view of the waterman. I didn't have to get up at 3:00 a.m. though and work all day pulling up traps., Not so romantic for them.
We took a ferry over to Monhegan Island for a day. It's known as an artist's haven but is also a major fishing area.
There are no paved roads on the island and it's only 1 square mile in area. The day we were there was very misty so we didn't have the vast views of the sea. I preferred the mist as it was like a cool blanket which felt great after the heat of down home. We passed this lovely garden as we begun our walk about the island. There are a number of trails circumnavigating the island, climbing over rocks, near the coast, into deep woods and through the small village.
Lupine Gallery is filled with local artists' work plus a few artists who come to the island to paint its beautiful landscapes.
Yep, fish DO have lips!
Mo is our local postmaster in Barnesville so whenever we travel together we have to get a pic of her in front of a PO.
Tie dye to die for.
We really liked the whimsical creatures someone had carved out of stumps.
This is the 'Fairy Forest' where passersby stop to fashion these quaint little hovels. They're all around on the forest floor and fun to find.
We stopped for lunch on the wild northern side of the island.
See ya Monhegan.
leaving Monhegan, we saw a rookery of seals. They were cavorting in the and would stop and just watch us watching them. The would throw themselves up on the rocks and roll, flap and twist to get themselves further up on this little island. The are so cumbersome on land but once in the water, they are a picture of grace. I love their playfulness.
Two days later we were on another ferry taking us to the larger island of Vinal Haven. Another misty
day but beautiful views nonetheless. Our friend, Maureen, used to visit this island regularly as her now ex-husband has family there. We chatted with a lot of the family (mom, dad, lots of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins) who have houses here.
This is the main house, purchased by the grandfather decades ago. It is right on the ocean, with a long lane of lupines and the most beautiful interior, like an old arts and crafts style lodge.
We rented these bikes and pedaled around. Bikes are so much fun to use for scooting around an island. And these cute numbers had 'bib butt' seats, really comfortable for cruisin'.
and Ann, conducting very important business on Lupine Lane.
Remember the children's story, "Miss Rumphius"? It's about a woman who wants to live next to the sea when she's an old lady but her grandfather tells her that's a great idea but she must also find a way to make the world a more beautiful place. She chooses to do this by spreading lupine seeds wherever she walks. Whenever I see a field of lupines, I think that Miss Rumphius must have been there.
Maybe this is where Miss Rumphius lives. We did see an older woman there painting on the front porch who resembled her.
And this was the garden near the back. The boat held gardening tools.
Cycling back to catch the ferry, we saw this scary boat.
And this scene is the quintessential view of a seaport town on an island in Maine. Ahhhhhh! Gotta love Maine!