We returned from Europe a few days ago, hoping to find the beginnings of Spring. But we found the remnants of a late winter snowstorm: Spring comes to Maine — slowly. The snow is melting fast, however, and we have high hopes that we’ll soon see the first stirrings of the season to come. In the meantime, we’re making plans for the summer season; Carolyn is testing new recipes; and we’re looking forward to our 16th year as innkeepers.
The winter weather has been spectacular. After a substantial post-Christmas snowstorm, the temperatures have remained cold and the skies sunny — perfect for outdoor pursuits. Carolyn and I snowshoed from Route 127 to Robinhood Cove, through the Schoener Preserve, one of the many largely undiscovered preserves open to the public in Georgetown, to the western shore of the cove.
The Portland Museum of Art has been working several years on restoring Winslow Homer’s studio on Prout’s Neck, south of Portland. The work concluded early this autumn, and visitor’s can now tour the house and grounds through a escorted minibus tour that leaves several times a day in Spring and Fall from the museum. The museum is celebrating the opening of the studio with Weatherbeaten, a major exhibition of Homer’s works that we discussed in a previous blog post. The location of the studio is spectacular.
We survived Hurricane Sandy without even so much as a power outage. Lots of wind and rain, but more like a moderate Nor’easter than the punishing storm that hit further south. Sandy did make for some spectacular surf at Reid State Park, however. Here are some shots Tom took this afternoon.
The Damariscotta Pumpkinfest was held last week, complete with the improbable “Pumpkin Regatta” where contestants race their boats of hollowed-out pumpkins across the Damariscotta River. Unsurprisingly, many don’t make it to the finish line!
We missed the festivities, but made it a week later for some of those fabulous Damariscotta oysters at the comfy King Eider’s Pub and to check out the entries in last week’s pumpkin decorating competition. Some of these beasts approach 500 pounds, so their decoration requires both artistic skill and a strong back! Here are some of our favorites (click on thumbnail to enlarge):
The Portland Museum of Art has mounted a comprehensive new exhibit of the later works of Winslow Homer, timed to coincide with the opening of Homer’s restored studio on Prout’s Neck, south of Portland. The 38 major oils, watercolors, and etchings, many of which are dramatic views of the sea from Prout’s Neck, are on loan from museums across the country. The exhibit runs until December 30. The studio can be visited by guided tour and access is by bus from the museum; reservations must be made in advance. We have scheduled a visit to the studio later in the month and will report on it in a subsequent post.
Two more examples of paintings in the exhibit (click on thumbnail to enlarge):
Of course, the annual Independence Day parade in Georgetown is the highpoint of summer (see photos of the 2010 parade here.) But there are other events on the social calendar. Last weekend was the annual Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department Auction. The auction provides a opportunity to pick up things you didn’t know you needed or wanted (and which you can donate to the auction next year…) But there is always an amazing array of “good stuff,” including paintings by local artists, antique furniture, boats of various sizes and means of locomotion, etc. Here are a couple of shots that give a flavor of the event:
Another Midcoast summer event is the annual “Salad Days,” a fundraiser for the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, in Newcastle — just across the bridge from Wiscasset. Watershed is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving ceramic artists a place to hone their art, work in association with other potters and — for one talented individual each year — a year of full financial and artistic support at the center. In exchange, this artist creates several hundred individual salad plates which form the basis of the Salad Days event. For a $30 donation, attendees receive a plate of their choice, upon which they can then heap salads prepared by local restaurants, caterers, and the center staff. There is music (a talented bluegrass band played this year), an invitational show and sale of ceramics by artists associated with the center, and tours of the facility. A couple of pictures, taken by iphone and a bit fuzzy:
And you get to use the plate right away!
After a chilly February spent on the Cote d’Azur, we returned to summer weather here in Maine. All this week we have had sunshine and temperatures more common in July than in March. Yesterday broke most Maine records — Portland reached 80 degrees. We had to go kayaking, a first since often we don’t get our boats in the water until late June or July. We drove to the Boothbay peninsula and put our boats in near the Maine Botanical Gardens, near Sawyer’s Island. Smooth water, warm temperatures, and a picnic on a little beach we found on Sawyer’s Island.