One Unusual Summer in Maine

I hope this finds everyone doing well and staying safe during this most unusual of summers. Our normally quiet island is quite full this summer with many summer people arriving early and planning to stay later in the fall than usual. Residents and visitors alike are having to make their own fun, as the usual events, from house parties to bean suppers to the annual fair have all been cancelled due to Covid-19.

In some ways the low-key summer has proved to be relaxing, with extra time to sit on the deck and read a book without feeling guilty, or to take an extra socially-distanced walk around the island without having to hurry home because someone is coming over or we have to be someplace else. But of course we are a lobstering and fishing village, and it hasn’t been an easy summer on many of our wonderful neighbors who work in the industry. We’ve been helping out as much as we can by buying lots of local lobsters and haddock.

Each evening at 6:00 pm volunteers ring the bell on the little Congregational Church — the only church on the island — as a show of support for all those on the front lines fighting the virus, and also to let everyone know that although we not see much of each other this summer, we’re all here, and all in this together.

Wherever you are, if you are dreaming of Maine, the ocean is still here, the fishing boats are drifting past my office window as I write this, many of the ferries and schooners are back and in business and welcoming passengers, and restaurants are open all over the state. And if you can’t make it this year, they’ll all be here in 2021, so there’s plenty of time to plan. Meanwhile, stay positive and stay safe, and check back now and then for more musings about life on a small island in Maine.

A Maine Sailing Legend: The Windjammer Mary Day

A lobster bake in a deserted Maine cove is a highlight of every trip aboard the Mary Day.

Imagine having no set itinerary and simply sailing where the tides take you. Imagine relaxing day in and day out in your favorite comfortable clothes without a pair of high heels or a necktie in sight. Imagine bountiful meals of Maine comfort food and toothsome breads, rolls, and desserts all prepared in a wood-fired stove and oven. Imagine…well, you get the picture.

I’m just back from several days aboard the schooner Mary Day, currently celebrating 50 years of taking passengers sailing along the scenic coast of Maine. While on board, passengers can help hoist the sails, lend a hand in the kitchen, or — the favorite pastime of most — do nothing at all and simply watch the scenery go by (referred to by the crew as “upper-level management”).

Capt. Barry King sails in and out of small coves, stopping occasionally to allow the crew to row passengers into tiny villages to stretch their legs.  Hardy souls swim off the boat while it’s at anchor, and in the evening there’s usually story-telling or a sing-along with Capt. King playing guitar and talented passengers trotting out their own musical instruments to join in.

Whether you choose a 3-night getaway or a week-long cruise, there’s always an authentic Maine lobster bake in a deserted cove — the highlight of every trip.  Fall cruises can be spectacular and there’s still plenty of time to sign up — or consider an unforgettable summer vacation for 2013. Check out the Mary Day website at