Summertime in Midcoast Maine

If you’ve never visited midcoast Maine during the summer months, now is the time to do it. After a late spring, the trees are fully leafed out, flowers are blooming, and the days are glorious. Plan a trip to some of the charming towns and villages here — pretty Wiscasset with its antique shops, Damariscotta, where Main Street is lined with shops in handsome vintage buildings, and if time allows, travel on to the Pemaquid Peninsula and the less-visited villages of New Harbor where you can catch the ferry to Monhegan Island, or  Bristol and tiny  South Bristol, a quintessential lobstering community that lies off the beaten track.  Throughout this area, you’ll find lobster shacks, pocket beaches, and small restaurants that are open only during the fleeting summer season.

Now that life has settled down here after a hectic winter and spring, I’ll be trying to post more regularly about life on the small Maine island I call home,

A Maine lobsterman readies his traps for the summer season. Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond

and interesting things to see and do throughout the state. Thanks to those of you who have followed me over from my previous blog, and welcome to anyone new who stops by.  Wherever you spend your summer, enjoy every moment!


Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Several people have asked for more information about Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, proving that summer really is around the corner and we’re all making plans at last! The lighthouse is located in New Harbor, Maine,

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse at Sunrise Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse at Sunrise
Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond
on the Pemaquid Peninsula, and unlike many lighthouses, it’s very easily accessible by car. A lovely park surrounds the lighthouse tower and the former keeper’s quarters. Entrance fee for the park is $2 per person. I haven’t been to the Fishermen’s Museum in the keeper’s house this spring, but in past years, entrance to the museum and to the tower itself has been free, with donations happily accepted by the volunteer group that keeps everything shipshape.
Built in 1827, the lighthouse was first illuminated with whale oil during the heyday of the New England whaling industry, and later by kerosene. It was automated in 1934, ending a need for a lighthouse keeper and his family to be on the premises at all times. If you visit, check out the brick building for the fog bell. When dense fog rolled in, as it often does here, early keepers rang the bell by hand. Later a steam system was set up to ring the bell, and later still, a system of weights. When you see the rugged cliffs on which the lighthouse stands, you’ll understand why mariners appreciated both the light and the bell on the foggy evenings for which Maine is so well known.
Enjoy your visit, and perhaps you’ll even see the resident ghost, a red-haired woman who is said to haunt the keeper’s house from time to time!
Thanks for stopping by, and best wishes to everyone for a happy and thoughtful Memorial Day weekend.

What’s Not to Love About July?

Hot and muggy it may be at times, but to me nothing beats the month of July. If May is a month of promise, and June is a tease of what’s to come, then July is the time when everthing comes to fruition.  Gardens are at their best (at least for those who, unlike me, keep up with the weeds), boating season here in Maine is at its peak, ospreys and bald eagles soar overhead, and virtually everyone has a smile on his or her face. It’s hard to be grumpy when the sun is shining and you’re living in a state whose motto  is “The Way Life Should Be.”

One of the great sights here in Maine is the Pemaquid Lighthouse on the Pemaquid Peninsula. Of course we have a lot of lovely lighthouses, but this one was chosen for the state quarter—and with good reason. A little park surrounds it where you can eat a picnic, go for a walk, or visit the adjacent art gallery. Climb to the top of the tower for a great view and be sure to visit the museum in the former keeper’s house.

Hot weather. Lighthouses. The first wild Maine blueberries (more on these later). Ocean water warm enough to swim in! Is it any wonder that I dream of July all winter long? And did I mention hot weather??