Coveside B&B in George-town feels like a secret tucked down a lane, overlooking Sheepscot Bay. Gardens edge the shingled house and cottage that Tom and Carolyn Church have brought back to life; our deck overlooks a verdant lawn sloping to Gotts Cove. In the morning we linger over strawberry shortcake and a mix of scrambled eggs with goat cheese, red fingerling potatoes, bacon, arugula, and nasturtiums. “Less schmoozing, more schlepping, those are my instructions,” Tom says, before setting down the coffeepot and joining the lively talk between tables. “The thing about Maine,” he says, “you begin to let go.”
Naturally, he has a few suggestions: Five Islands Lobster Co. and Reid State Park, Maine’s first state-owned saltwater beach. “Each of the fingers [peninsulas] has its own personality,” Carolyn observes. “Topographically they may be similar, but Georgetown is the wildest. You couldn’t get here until the early days of the 20th century—it wasn’t served by the bridge.” (Nice, too, that we can see across the water to Southport Island, where Rachel Carson built her summer cottage in 1953 and found inspiration for her environmental classic Silent Spring, and where her ashes are scattered. “Here at last returned to the sea,” reads the bronze marker.)
Griffith Head at Reid State Park. Photo by Sara Graves.
Reid State Park is the perfect place to walk off breakfast. Distractingly beautiful, its Half Mile Beach is mounded with smooth stones, like slumbering elephants; beach roses crowd the sand; golden tidepools are edged with algae; and Mile Beach curves like a smile. The convergence of colors—sand, sea, stone, and sky—is a palette of perfect paint chips for creating your own oceanfront room. If time seems to slow down on the peninsulas, you could say that it stops on the beaches.
Mile Geach at Reid State Park. Photo by Sara Graves
That’s not the only thing that stops. “I can’t feel my legs!” a delighted teen, up to her waist in the sea, announces to her brother. Ethan, a lifeguard who trains at Mile Beach every morning, sometimes in a wetsuit, confirms that today’s late-June water temp is a frosty 50 degrees. (Popham, he says, is warmer.) So is Mile Beach really a mile? It doesn’t look it. “Mile-ish,” he smiles, “but almost two miles with all three beaches combined.”
Post-beach, we succumb to the tiny Post Office Gallery, brimming with the work of four local artists, from wood-fired pottery to landscapes (cards, too). I’m admiring Lea Peterson’s color-splashed portrait of a lobsterman at Five Islands Lobster Co., a lively wharf/eatery where families crowd picnic tables, butter dripping from fingers and chins, celebrating the day’s catch. “He’s over there right now, working on his pots, cleaning them up,” she says of the lobsterman. Small peninsula: Paint or be painted.
Loading bait at Five Islands. Photo by Sara Graves.
Frankly, it would probably be a peninsular crime to slink past Georgetown Pottery, an institution since 1972. The porch groans with pots and bowls, and in the studio, you can watch the artisans at work. Owner Jeff Peters doesn’t look like a ceramics mogul—he’s busy lifting a heavy tray of mugs—but this is the mother lode of pottery. Room after room displays sinks, lamps, clocks, anything that can be rendered in clay. The patterns are pure Maine—blueberries, lighthouses, birches filled with light. It’s the best kind of success story: Guy starts off in a one-room log cabin (sound familiar?) and makes good.