May on a Small Maine Island and Beyond

Welcome to those of you have just found this blog, and welcome back to those who followed me on my previous blog, which has been incorporated into this one. I’m still figuring a few  things out, so bear with me while I relearn how to post photos on here.  Thanks for your patience and for stopping by! As you’ll see, we talk about life on a small island off the coast of Maine, things to do and see in Maine and elsewhere,  and musings about life in general. I hope you’ll feel free to join in.

Spring has finally sprung after we had almost given up hope. Maine winters are notoriously challenging, but the winter of 2017-18 was especially memorable here on the island. It’s all behind us now as we look forward to another beautiful Maine summer.

July and August are busy months here in Maine, so if you want to avoid the crowds, why not plan a trip soon, perhaps to Mt. Desert Island,  Acadia National Park, and bustling Bar Harbor. The park is gorgeous at this time of year and much less busy than it will be just a few short weeks from now.  And in Bar Harbor  you’ll want to take in some of my favorite places, such as the Abbe Museum where you can learn about the culture and history of the Wabanaki, “The People of the First Light.” You’ll also find quiet spots within the building where you can rest and even meditate for a bit. The museum store sells a variety of Native American crafts.

Almost directly across the street from the museum is lovely St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church, an example of English Gothic Style built in 1877. Twelve of its many stained glass windows are by Tiffany. Don’t miss them seeing them!

Walkers will want to check out the Shore Path, an easy, level path that meanders past some of Bar Harbor’s famous summer “cottages” on one side and the open ocean on the other.  Be sure to bring your camera! The route starts directly in front of the Bar Harbor Inn.

This is just a quick sampling of all there is to do in  Mt. Desert and Bar Harbor, and just one of many areas I’ll be heading to at some point over the summer.

Meanwhile I’ll be watching as the little island where I live comes alive after a long winter with the return of our summer residents.

Happy Spring!

Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine

I’ve just returned from a long sail along the Maine coast and thought I’d share a few suggestions for those of you planning your own visit here. Acadia National Park, established in 1916, is on the bucket list for most Maine visitors, and with good reason. Its more than 49,000 acres are home to a wide variety of animals, birds and butterflies, and at least 160 varieties of plants.
Hikers will enjoy 1,528-ft. Cadillac Mountain and the panoramic views from the top (go on a clear day if you can). You can also take guided walks or carriage rides through the park, bike on many of the trails, or go kayaking or birdwatching among many other activities.
The park is located on Mount Desert (pronounced “Dessert”) Island, which also boasts the busy tourist destination of Bar Harbor. Here you’ll find shops selling everything from funky t-shirts to high-end jewelry and just about anything in between. Watch for unusual gifts like chocolate-covered blueberries, blueberry wine, Native American-made items, or tourmaline jewelry made from the official gemstone of Maine. Future college students may want to check out College of the Atlantic, a small liberal arts college.

A glacial erratic seen along the Bar Harbor Shore Path. (c) Karen Hammond
A glacial erratic seen along the Bar Harbor Shore Path.
(c) Karen Hammond
And no-one should miss the handsome Abbe Museum with its extensive collection of Native American artifacts. Walkers will enjoy the Shore Path that winds between several Bar Harbor mansions and the ocean. The glacial erratic (large boulder left by a receding glacier) shown in the photograph here is just one of the many interesting sights along the rocky shoreline.
So much to do, so little time! This barely scratches the surface of all there is to see and do in the area. I return year after year, always finding something new, and will be back again in the fall when I find the park to be especially beautiful.
In my next post I’ll take you to the quaint little village of Castine. But for now I’m content to be back on my little island, coaxing much-delayed flowers into bloom at last, and looking forward to the official start of summer.

August on a Small Maine Island

Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine.  Photo (c) Karen Hammond
Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine. Photo (c) Karen Hammond
August and July are, to my mind, Maine’s most beautiful months. Everything is lush and green, the ocean is cerulean, white clouds skitter across the sky, and outside, little summer creatures buzz and chatter all day long. Butterflies and hummingbirds visit my window boxes every day and it’s impossible not to slow down and take in the show. Maybe that’s what I like most about summer in Maine…it’s all so gorgeous that it’s impossible not to slow down, take it all in, and unwind.
I just returned from a long sail along the coast of Maine from Portland to Bar Harbor with lots of stops at small villages in between, among them, Boothbay Harbor, Bucksport, Castine, Rockland, Rockport, and Belfast. Each place has its own charm, so it would be impossible to pick a favorite.
All too soon summer people here on the island will be packing up for the trip back to wherever they spend the rest of their lives and the island will turn back into a quiet village of 100 souls who will start preparing for the fall holidays and then for a long winter ahead. But there’s time to think of that later. Right now it’s time to finish up the day’s work in my office, do a little weeding in the garden, pack a picnic, and head for the beach for a late-day swim.
Enjoy the fleeting days of summer, and if you have a favorite Maine vacation spot, please let me know and we can share it with other readers.

Leaf Peeping in Maine

Fall colors near Rangeley, Maine

Foliage is at its peak in northern Maine right now, with colors turning ever more glorious along the coast and in the southern part of the state.  I’ve just returned from my last boat trip of the season, a lovely sail from Portland to Bar Harbor and back. The fall colors really popped against the dark evergreens along the shoreline. Add autumn’s slanted light and it’s no wonder that  Maine has long attracted artists, poets, and writers. Here on my Maine island, days are comfortably warm and nights are crisp and cool — it’s a great time to visit anywhere in the state and take in some fall festivals, fairs, and church suppers.