The Calm Before the Storm

Here we are, getting ready for the third major storm to move into Maine this month. Of course it’s great for skiing and other outdoor sports, but at this point I can’t help looking ahead to spring. The gardening catalogs have arrived, filled with photos of daffodils and tulips, and hard as it is to believe, looking at the mounds of snow already on the ground, somewhere under there are all the perennials I  planted last year. But until the warm weather comes again, it helps to get out in the brisk winter weather , go skiing, make a snowman with the kids, go ice skating, and otherwise enjoy all that winter in Maine has to offer.

It’s quiet here on my island. The summer people are still tucked away in their warm winter quarters, with many of them not returning until June. Meanwhile,  life goes on with house parties, church suppers, roaring fires in the fireplace, and a chance to slow down just a little bit.  But not for long….by next month, the first ads will appear from stores and restaurants looking for summer help and the pace of life will slowly pick up as we move into spring and summer. Meanwhile, there’s that snowstorm making its way here: Time to haul in some wood, stock the freezer, find the flashlights in case the power goes out, and make sure the generator is gassed up and ready to go.  Then we’ll all settle in and see what Mother Nature has in store for us this time.

February on a Small Maine Island

Snow falls on a tranquil island in Maine.
Snow falls on a tranquil island in Maine.

Winter is well underway here in Maine, with crisp, cold days followed by even colder nights. Definitely a time to tackle big projects inside, but also a good time to enjoy winter sports and scenery. I’ve been especially enjoying the sight of snow and ice sparkling on the trees. It makes shoveling a whole lot easier when there’s something pleasant to look at along the way!

I spent a recent weekend in Portland, a great foodie city–no wonder lovers of great food come from all over to eat there. Needless to say, I made the rounds–necessary research of course, since I write a lot about food–but it was also my birthday and therefore a good excuse to indulge. Hugo’s continues to impress–fabulous atmosphere, good wine list, fabulous wait staff, and excellent food as always. They are about to close down for remodeling–perhaps have already–and I’m sure it will be even better when they reopen in the spring. It’s always fun to eat at a place where everyone takes such pride in what they do.

It appears that writing about food and travel has been in my blood for a long time. I’m told that as a small child I constantly wandered off on “adventures” and had to be chased down by my worried parents and older sister. And by the time I was old enough to talk, I was demanding Grey Poupon mustard instead of the “yellow stuff.”  I guess it’s natural that I’ve always gravitated to places with great cuisine–Portland, Boston, Paris, Lyon, and Vienna are a few of my all-time favorites, but I’m equally  happy to buy a lobster fresh off the boat from one of the local lobstermen and eat it on the dock with melted butter running down my arm (but I’ll wait for summer for that!).