“Soulful Sea Sounds”

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Yesterday we went to a less visited part of the National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula north of Bar Harbor. Schoodic Point itself juts out into the open Atlantic rather than into the more protected Sound or Bay. There are no warning signs and one can walk out onto the huge granite outcroppings which abut the ocean.

I grew up near the Pacific Ocean, and being near the water always soothes me. The sounds of the sea provide me solace. Yesterday while my intrepid husband walked on rocks, I lay down on one large one. With my eyes closed I could feel the sun and listen to the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks.  Once again the sounds had touched my core and reminded me that, as Dame Julian of Norwich wrote, “all shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

“Fine Fall Morning”

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One of the features of New England I most anticipate is the first brisk fall morning. Unusually warm this early September, we had still needed to cool off more often than to warm up. But we awoke today to a perfect fall temperature of 50F degrees(10C). When the nights first cool off like that I sleep my first deep sleep of the season as I did last night.

Chrysanthemums, the standard New England fall flower, appear everywhere, in pots and in plantings. They clearly indicate fall. Soon all the apples will fill farm stands, including many varieties not commercially viable. You could call them heirloom, but that seems a little pretentious since they have never stopped being grown here. Then all the squash and pumpkins show up. Again many of these never get to market with their odd shapes and long cook times, but they are delicious.

Happy fall to my Northern Hemisphere Friends and happy spring to those down under.

“Worth The Climb”

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Some of the best features of the area around Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine are outside the park. The park itself is a well preserved and undeveloped section of this part of Maine, but just outside the park’s borders are many other treasures.

Yesterday we went to Northeast Harbor, south and west of Bar Harbor. Once a working fishing town, it now sports a series of small shops mostly focused on local artists. There is still some fishing and lobstering done from here, but it has morphed from a vacation spot for the summer folks from Boston to a retreat for the very very wealthy.

Out visit yesterday took us to a garden established during the summer folks from Boston era, the late 1800’s and pre-WWII years. Thuya Gardens were designed by two men, one of whom built a 200 granite lined, granite steps path from the lodge to the garden. While it is possible to drive to the top, we chose to take the wonderful stairs which gave us an increasingly stunning view of the harbor.

The gardens were in full late summer bloom and we were able to write down the names of many perennials which would do well in our yard too. They also featured regal dahlias, certainly not perennials here, but lovely just the same. At the end of our visit we sat in the 1916 summer cottage of the builder and talked with a guide. Easy to locate but rare to hear about, Thuya Gardens are one of those better than the Park sites in Bar Harbor.

 

“Proportions “

One of the strange aspects of looking out at the harbor is the contrast between the cruise ship and the other boats. The fishing boats seem to the eye to be in proportion to the landscape while the Rotterdam skews my sense of things.

I am frequently teased about my love for proportion, and I accept the ribbing. New England houses seem in right relation to their place in the landscape. Old ones at least. Of course I am bothered by new McMansions.

While I know cruise ship passengers help the local economy, their scale seems off. Which is ironic, since when I was on one it seemed just fine!

“One Morning In Maine”

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We are on our annual week long vacation, this time a return to Bar Harbor, Maine. It took us seven hours to drive here, after  factoring leaving our dog at the boarders, doubling back to the highway, stopping several times to snack a little and going through construction. We are staying in our favorite ocean side hotel with the balcony shown above,

Bar Harbor has more crowds than even five years ago. Partly they come from the huge cruise ships who stop here and taxi their passengers in for the day. Partly also, I think, because my generation of post War babies is now retiring and traveling. Born in 1947, I was one of the first of these, but each year there are lots more of us.

Fortunately, our old theory proves true: we can outwalk any crowd very easily. While near the pier Bar Harbor is filled with interesting shops, walking for over five minutes put us in lovely neighborhoods and took us to a quiet restaurant with superb—-get ready for it—-haddock. My long followers may remember I like a seafood focus each vacation. I had planned on scallops, but had haddock last night as an “early bird” special.

Bar Harbor’s only downside is that the news vendor doesn’t open until 9am. Missing the New York Times crossword with my breakfast is a small sacrifice compared with the chance to hear lapping waves as I drink my coffee.

“Back To School?”

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For the majority of my life I followed a calendar tied to education. My year started the day after Labor Day(the first Monday in September) and ended in late May or early June. The first 22 years of my life followed this pattern, as did my graduate schooling and my profession as a college professor.Now that I am retired, the calendar year supposedly starts on January 1. New Year’s Day kicks it off and the cultural expectation is that it is a time to reassess and reevaluate one’s life. Resolutions supposedly begin on that day.

However, I have never adjusted my inner calendar to accommodate the external one. September always seems like the beginning of a new year. I go shoe shopping for a sturdy pair of oxfords for the fall. My interest in cooking dinner returns. While I don’t make formal resolutions, I think about areas of my life that could benefit from a little more attention. This year, for instance, I could use a little more room between my pants and my stomach! Lycra can only do so much.

So happy New Year to any of my readers who also feel revitalized by September. It’s bound to be a great year.