As the temperatures get cooler, the sun is setting sooner and the leaves start their transformation from lush green to colorful red, orange and yellow, I reflect on yet another passing summer in Maine. I know I have said it before but when it comes to summer, there is no other place I would rather be than in Maine.
The weather this year was sunny, sunny, sunny. In parts of Maine, we had almost too much sun and not enough rain. Many gardens and flowers didn’t fare very well. Yet, for those enjoying all the wonders that Maine has to offer – from the mountains to the lakes to the ocean, the weather was glorious!
I had an excellent summer…..the only thing missing was my husband who is working on a project in Saudi Arabia. He was able to come and spend his break time for a couple of weeks but the rest of the time, I was “flying solo.”
Memorial Day is the “unofficial” start to the summer season in Maine. This year, I helped dad place flowers on the family graves around the Augusta area. My stepmother and some aunts and uncles are buried in the Veteran’s Cemetery. The Veteran’s Cemetery is especially pretty with all of the flags placed to honor those who made sacrifices so that we can live free in this great country of ours.
Higgins Beach and Great Pond
As always, I enjoyed starting my day by walking through the woods at Great Pond, one of the many paths on the Cape Elizabeth Greenbelt Trails system or visiting Higgins Beach to get my “doggie fix” for the day. Higgins Beach is one place that allows dogs to run “off-leash” (sunrise until 9:00 AM) from May 15 to September 15. I love to ride my bike to the beach and meet up with friends and their dogs…..talk about a great way to start the day!!
Many of the cottages in the Higgins Beach area are quintessential Maine!! Very typical of what one finds along the coastal villages….weather-worn shingles and bright flowers.
Moore Manor Lavender Farm
The day after the 4th of July, I met my sister, Kathy, at Moore Manor Lavender Farm in Newport, Maine. Now, I have always wanted to see the lavender fields of Provence, France and still have it on my “bucket list.” However, I read about this lavender farm in a town that was only 45 minutes from my dad’s in Augusta. It was an easier trip to make than to France! The fields were full but it only kindled my desire more to see the fields of France. If you are planning a trip to Maine around the first of July next year, I encourage you to put the Moore Manor on your “to do” list! http://mooremanorlavender.com
Aroostook County, Maine
In mid-July, my dad and I made our annual “father-daughter” trip to Aroostook County so dad could visit his hometown of Oakfield and friends from his younger days. Aroostook County is one of Maine’s many “best kept secrets.” It is such a pretty and rural area. I love to visit when the potato fields are in bloom. This year, we were just a tad to early to enjoy the fields of flowers.
We took a new and different route home. It was about 3 extra hours of driving but Dad wanted to go down Rt 9 also known as “airline drive.” I always wondered why it was referred to as “airline drive.” Initially, I thought it might be that it was a straight road – like a runway – from Bangor to Calais but it is hardly straight. When Dad used to travel it, there were many curves. Over the years, improvements have been made and today, it isn’t the winding road that my dad remembers but there are still some twist and turns. Rt 9 was nicknamed “airline drive” because it is a shorter route from Bangor to Calais than the other option of Rt 1.
To get to Rt 9, we had to pick up Rt 1 and head south. It was the first time that I have ever been on that part of Rt 1. I enjoyed it because I had been reading Paul Doiron’s (pronounced Dwarren) series of books about the Maine Game Warden service. Mr Doiron’s main character, Warden Mike Bowditch, was stationed in this region for a couple of his books. It was fun to actually see the places that were referenced.
As we passed through the town of Topsfield, my dad started telling me stories of when he was about 7 or 8 and his whole family spent the summer logging in the nearby woods. He said that they had all their supplies loaded in a couple of trucks and cars and drove from Oakfield to Topsfield. They parked the vehicles off the road and loaded a tote wagon, that was drawn by a team of draft horses and made their way into his grandfather Morrison’s logging camp.
Dad was one of six children…..three boys and three girls. One of Dad’s sisters, Margaret, had rheumatic fever and had to be transported by a wheel chair. That must have been challenging over the five-mile dirt road! Everyone had a job. My other two aunts – Rose and Arlene – who were in the mid-teens, sawed down trees using a two-man crosscut saw. Dad and his brother, Kelcy, who was younger by a year; took the limbs off of the trees. Dad’s mom helped in the cook’s tent and Grampie Morrison guided the horses as they pulled wagon full of logs. It truly was a “family affair!” Can you imagine having a 7 and 8 year old doing such manual labor today????
It is hearing stories of my dad growing up that makes me really cherish the quality time spent with him during these father-daughter trips.
Old Hallowell Days
The third Saturday of July is the date for Old Hallowell Days, my hometown’s annual festival. It started in 1968 and has only gotten better with each year. It is the best time to return home to reconnect with friends from earlier years and this year was no exception. It is always fun to watch the parade, see the baking contest, watch the dance performances from the local dance studio, Vicki’s School of Dance. Other activities include the book sale at the library, craft fair, an art exhibit of local artist at the Harlow Art Gallery and live music at various venues around Hallowell. The day is topped off with a large firework display! It is a fun day of great food and activities. https://oldhallowellday.org
Baird Family Reunion
The 3rd Sunday in July is the day for the annual Baird Family Reunion. It is for my mom’s side of the family. My maternal grandmother was Elsie Baird Vining Kinney. Kenneth Baird and his sweet wife, Joan, graciously opened their home for the reunion. They have a lovely home on Sebec Lake.
It had been ages since I was able to attend one of these reunions. It was like meeting a whole new family. The afternoon was spent getting to visit with everyone, enjoying tasty food and swimming in the lake. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a dip in cool, lake water. I just hope it won’t be so long in attending another reunion than it has been in the past.
Willimantic and Borestone Mountain
My girlfriend, Marilyn lives in Willimantic which is at the opposite end of Sebec Lake from where I was for the family reunion. A couple of weekends after the reunion, I was able to visit with Marilyn.
It was a beautiful day and Marilyn, a former Maine game warden, had a choice of activities for me to decide on. We could go kayaking on Sebec Lake, hike to a local waterfall or hike Borestone Mountain. We decided to hike Borestone Mountain and possibly go kayaking, if time allowed.
Borestone is an Audubon Sanctuary on 1,600 acres that was once a fox ranch in the early 1900s owned by Robert T. Moore. On the property are 3 ponds. In 1909, Mr. Moore hired Wilfred Mansur, a well-known architect from Bangor to design Adirondack-style lodges on Sunset Pond. The lodges, accessible only by boat, have been renovated and can be rented by groups to spend a night or two in the serene setting.
By the time we finished hiking up and down Borestone, it was too late to go for a paddle as I was heading to Moosehead Lake to visit with my mom. Another time….I really enjoyed the day hiking – which I haven’t done in such a long time and spending quality time with my dear friend.
A side note to Willimantic: Marilyn shared with me about her friends, David and Madeline Thayer who saved the one room historical school house and are using it as a library for the town. It is an inspiring story and one that shows what people can do if they commit to an idea. I plan to write more about the Thayers and their efforts to create the library on my author page as I donated my books to the children’s collection.
I had the pleasure to visit my mom this summer at Moosehead Lake twice once at the end of July and the second time, the second weekend of September. Inspired by the Borestone Mountain hike, I decided to hike Squaw Mountain. My mom and stepfather built their cabin in 1968. That winter, the family enjoyed skiing at Squaw Mountain and did so for many years after. I have such fond memories of zipping down the various trails. Sadly, the ski area closed in 2010. Recently, Friends of Squaw Mountain – a group of local people have made a great effort to reopen the ski resort. Once again, thanks to the effort of the Friends of Squaw Mountain, people are once again enjoying skiing on Squaw Mountain.
It took me about 2 hours to hike up the 3,196 ft mountain. I walked mostly on the ski trails. This is the view of Moosehead Lake that I was rewarded with for my labors!
Later that day, our friend, Roger, came over and took my mom; sister, Kathy and me on a boat ride around Mt Kineo. Mt Kineo is not far from the mouth of Moose River. We used to go to the pebble beach and water ski there. Over the years, I have climbed Mt Kineo a couple of times.
Also, on this particular trip I was entertained by not one, but three (!!!) Pileated Woodpeckers! I was able to get this picture of one but not all three together. It was an amazing “welcome” to Moosehead!
International Seaplane Fly-In at Greenville, Maine
For all of the years that I have been going to the Moosehead area, I had never been to the annual International Seaplane Fly-In. It was started in 1973 when local bush pilots thought it would be fun to invite like-minded pilots to Greenville, Maine for a weekend of fun activities and flying.
I decided that this is the year I would finally attend the festivities. Pilots from around the country come to participate in a variety of competitions. There is a large craft sale and many food vendors. The weather cooperated and it was a great day to sit by the water and watch the pilots compete. Some of the contest were who could take-off the quickest, land the closest to the target, maneuver an obstacle course….
Wild Goose for Boys, (The Castle), Harmony, Maine
Returning from Moosehead, I took the back roads that took me to the town of Harmony. It is a small town of about 1,000 people where I spent many a summer on the shores of Great Moose Lake at the Wild Goose Camp for Boys. For many years, it was a private boys camp for young men from the New York City area. They would fly to Bangor where they would hop on a bus to be transported to their summer “home” for the next six weeks.
The camp was owned and operated by William and Lorna Trauth. My grandparents, Elsie and Lindy Kinney were the cooks for 30 years. I have some wonderful memories of my time spent at the camp visiting with my grandparents. My sophomore year in high school, I worked at the camp as a babysitter for a counselor’s family and helped in the kitchen.
The camp has been closed for many years now but the property is maintained by the Trauth’s son who spends his summers there. It has been many years since I have been back and decided to stop in. Talk about taking a walk down “memory lane!” It was very bittersweet remembering the fun that I had there and also, all the people who have passed.
I have to say, this is one of my “top ten” favorite places in Maine! It is a shame that it is private property and more people are not able to enjoy it. Then, again, that is one of the reasons it is so special, I think!
Mt Blue State Park and The Rockpile, Weld, ME
September is my “birthday month” and for those of you who know me well, you know that I celebrate the whole month of September. My husband, David, never has to worry about forgetting my birthday because I start reminding him in July that my birthday is happening soon. I LOVE birthdays! I embrace them….
I tell people that I was a birthday gift for my dad….my birthday is September 25th and dad’s is September 28th. To celebrate, we took a ride to the mountains of western Maine to have a picnic at “The Rockpile” in the town of Weld. I had seen “The Rockpile” featured on a segment of the local news and really wanted to see it.
I didn’t realize that Mt Blue State Park was located in Weld. That was definitely a bonus. We have had a very warm autumn season this year and September 25th, was no exception. I believe it was in the 70s, sunny and very warm. The ride over was very pretty. Some of the leaves had changed and as we got closer, the mountains came into view.
Mt Blue State Park is in a beautiful setting. Of course, you have the mountains that offer many trails for hiking and biking. Webb Lake offers swimming and there is a campground as well. It is Maine’s largest state park covering 8,000 acres.
I was able to drive to the top of Central Point so we could enjoy the view. At 88 years old, my dad’s days of hiking have passed. In his younger years, he was quite the walker and when he retired, he would walk at least 5 miles a day regardless of the weather.
From 1979 to 1999 the family of Ardene Proctor built the nine levels of rock walls and the cabin at the top of the rock pile. The cabin is accessible by driving to it so my dad was able to go inside, which is where we had our picnic.
Speaking of birthdays……
On September 23, our dear family friend, Barbara, celebrated her 100th! What a special day of celebration that was. I am so grateful that I was home and able to attend the party! It was an afternoon of laughter and sharing good food with all of her family and close friends.
October in New Hampshire
Another fantastic Nathaniel Hawthorne College reunion was held on Saturday, October 7, 2017. The last one was 3 years ago and with each one, they just get better and better and bigger and bigger. I believe the attendance count was 160 people. I am so grateful that I went. I saw old friend that I had not seen for over 40 years.
A group of us stayed at the Crotched Mountain Resort in nearby Francestown. What a lovely place! Each of the rooms had suites with full kitchens and living rooms. My college friends and I spent the evening reminiscing over the “glory days!”
The next morning, I went for a jog before leaving. Although the weather was a little dreary, the scenery was quintessential backroads of New Hampshire.
Odds and Ends….
I always seem to end each one of my post with an “Odds and Ends” segment. It is a good place to share photos that don’t seem to “fit in” anywhere else. So, here goes….
In June, our minister at the Cape Elizabeth Methodist Church retired. She devoted 45 years of her life to the ministry and 13 of those years was spent in Cape Elizabeth. She is greatly missed but I hope she is enjoying retirement.
I shared some of my summer mornings around Cape Elizabeth trails and the nearby beaches. These pictures come from some of the morning walks I have taken in Augusta, Maine on the rail trail.
Around Our Home and Cape Elizabeth
The autumn season…..
Pumpkin Fest at LL Beans in Freeport, Maine….I cannot wait for the Christmas lights!! 🙂
Unfortunately, I cannot have a dog due to all the traveling that David and I do. However, as you can see, my life is full with dogs who frequently visit me. I am so blessed to have wonderful friends who are willing to share their dogs with me!
Do you understand now, why I love staying in Maine in the summer and fall seasons? As far as I am concerned, there is no better place in the world to be!
Until my next post, I wish you blessings!